Dame Linda Homer has announced today that she is vacating her position at HMRC in April, after more than four years as chief executive and permanent secretary.
Homer joined HMRC in January 2012 and presided over some of the most tumultuous times in the tax authority's history, with budget cuts wreaking havoc upon its efficiency.
In a highly complimentary statement, HMRC press office said that despite the challenging environment, Homer led the tax authority to “successive, record-breaking increases in total revenues and compliance revenues” and “the reduction of the tax gap and tax credits error and fraud, both to record lows.”
Perhaps most controversially, the statement congratulated Homer on leading “a recovery in customer service from a low-point of 48% calls answered in 2011, to almost 90% calls answered in December 2015, with a queuing time of six minutes”.
“After ten years as a Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary in the Civil Service, the start of the next Spending Review period seemed to be a sensible time to move on,” said Homer in a statement. “HMRC has secured Ministerial support and funding for our ambitious transformation programme and it has the leadership team in place to deliver it. My successor will be able to put their full weight behind seeing the transformation through to 2020.”
Commenting on Homer’s departure, the Chancellor said Homer has made a real contribution to public service modernisation and transformation. “She has put the foundations in place that will see HMRC become one of the most digitally-advanced tax authorities in the world,” said Osborne. “It is to Lin’s great credit that the National Audit Office last year judged HMRC to be one of the strongest Departments in Government – a legacy of which she can be rightly proud.”
A controversial figure among AccountingWEB members, it seems likely that Homer will be less fondly remembered by accountants than by her peers. Commenting on her being made a dame in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list, AccountingWEB member annual panic wrote, “This woman should be fired, not honoured.”
There had already been some conjecture over Homer's future when several commentators noted that her appointment to the Order of Bath described her as “Lately chief executive, HM Revenue and Customs”. At the time, a HMRC spokesperson denied the suggestion she was leaving and told AccountingWEB that Homer remains in her position as HMRC chief exec.
HMRC said the process is now underway to select a new chief executive.