Homer resigns from HMRC

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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.

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One of the Great and the Good

They're a strange breed.

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I wonder what Government department she will fail at next?

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smoke and mirrors

its hidden in there why she got made DBE , £1b was collected from APNs

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Honours citation?

Hi Carnmores - where did you find the snippet about APNs? That hasn't shown up in any assessments I've seen about tax yield etc.

Those of us who were around at the turn of the year will be less surprised about this announcement, as we had several conversations with HMRC about the honours citation and the word "lately".

The department's clumsy efforts at news management on such a minor point has not added greatly to the trust and goodwill they enjoy with the AccountingWEB team.

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@JS

i read it some where last week probably the Times will try and find / remember 

 

also try here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hmrc-annual-report-and-accoun...

 

and here http://www.contractoruk.com/news/0012165hmrc_vindicated_over_accelerated...

 

that was for last year! 

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And George Osborne praising how much she has done just shows how they are all completely out of touch. And if HMRC is one of the strongest departments in the Government ( quote National Audit Office) than God help the rest.
Don't suppose her replacement will be any improvement.

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There are "22 professions in

There are "22 professions in HMRC of which tax is only one".  Here's a radical idea that just might work: maybe next time they might try having a tax professional at the top?

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Shades of the Banking Crisis

Remember when the crooks who ran the banks that went bust were interviewed by the MPs who were gobsmacked to find out that not one was a banking professional.

Same here. HMRC run by career bureaucrats and not tax professionals.

And how their Press Office gets away with such spin is toe curdling.

We know how all that ended in baking.

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Do you want a tax professional running HMRC?

wendybradley wrote:

There are "22 professions in HMRC of which tax is only one".  Here's a radical idea that just might work: maybe next time they might try having a tax professional at the top?

There is an obvious rationale for this but I wonder whether this is the overriding qualification? You may be able to quote chapter and verse on the tax system but that won't be much good if you can't run a department of 50,000 people. You may know everything there is to know about tax cases from the start of the 20th century but it doesn't necessarily follow that you know how to manage a "customer" service operation involving tens of millions of individuals. Of course, ideally CEO would have all that knowledge and experience but I don't think it can be right that tax professional, just because they are a tax professional, is best suited to running HMRC. We all know fellow accountants who are tax professionals but struggle to run a small accountancy business. It is why I am always confused by Richard Murphy's suggestion that the non-executive chairman of HMRC should or must be a tax professional.

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Perhaps a tax professional might be better than a bureaucrat

Tax professionals should know how the tax system works not just chapter and verse of the tons of tax legislation thrown at us by politicians.

The Press Department's spin and back sapping of HMRC concerns anybody who has any contact with the tax system.

Perhaps if Fred the Shred knew a little about his dealing rooms and crazy instruments dreamed up by his sales people the Royal Bank wouldn't have been destroyed.

In large organisations it is common to milk a department for 4/5 years to give you a leg up, promotion or honour.

Looks like this is what's happening here.

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False dichotomy.

Wild Billy wrote:
You may know everything there is to know about tax cases from the start of the 20th century but it doesn't necessarily follow that you know how to manage a "customer" service operation involving tens of millions of individuals. Of course, ideally CEO would have all that knowledge and experience but I don't think it can be right that tax professional, just because they are a tax professional, is best suited to running HMRC

Thanks Wild Billy; it is always good to HMRC's point of view on AWeb's pages. I think, however, you are presenting that well known logical fallacy, the false dichotomy, in this case the false choice between, on the one hand, someone who can manage 50,000 people but knows nothing about tax and, on the other hand, someone who knows about tax but cannot manage 50,000 people. How about someone who can do both?

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Perhaps

Even someone who can do either. 

Remember RTI, "there is no Plan B" I think summarised a response response to the Public Accounts Committee

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Not a false choice

chatman wrote:

Wild Billy wrote:
You may know everything there is to know about tax cases from the start of the 20th century but it doesn't necessarily follow that you know how to manage a "customer" service operation involving tens of millions of individuals. Of course, ideally CEO would have all that knowledge and experience but I don't think it can be right that tax professional, just because they are a tax professional, is best suited to running HMRC

Thanks Wild Billy; it is always good to HMRC's point of view on AWeb's pages. I think, however, you are presenting that well known logical fallacy, the false dichotomy, in this case the false choice between, on the one hand, someone who can manage 50,000 people but knows nothing about tax and, on the other hand, someone who knows about tax but cannot manage 50,000 people. How about someone who can do both?

Why is that HMRC's point of view? I acknowledged you would ideally want someone who could do both. I was only speculating, in response to an earlier post, that having a tax professional as the CEO may not be the panacea it is supposed to be if they cannot lead 50,000 people. I have no idea how much tax expertise is needed in  that role - some or a lot - because my assumption has been that others bring that, like Harra and Troup. Does the CEO get personally involved in any cases or technical tax issues or even much of the Budget?   I honestly don't know but if you do great. A little courtesy wouldn't go amiss though.

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Sorry

Wild Billy wrote:

Why is that HMRC's point of view?

Sorry - didn't mean to "out" you.

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It was a false choice

Wild Billy wrote:
Not a false choice

Yes it was. I explained why.

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I despair.....

wendybradley wrote:

There are "22 professions in HMRC of which tax is only one".  Here's a radical idea that just might work: maybe next time they might try having a tax professional at the top?

 

I received a letter last week from HMRC Large Business. What was the job title of the person who signed it?

"Tax Officer" - no

"Inspector" - no

It was "Tax Specialist"

Once upon a time everyone we dealt with could have been so described.

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@wendy

there is only one problem with your suggestion. It smacks of sensible and Government never ever does sensible

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New HMRC chief executive appointed.

Another Homer. Doh!

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@Tim

very droll :-)

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Pushed, or fell?

I really regret to say this, but Britain has become a tinderbox of corrupt behaviour, in the last few years and it's no longer the bees knees. More  like the dogs b******s.

And we think FIFA has problems!

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@JS & Carnmores re APNs

It is in the official HMRC press release in the bullet points at note 2 of the Notes to Editors!

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lin-homer-to-step-down-as-hmrc-ceo-in...

 

"• HMRC has got tougher on tax avoidance schemes and continues to see a steady decline in their number. We have secured tough new enforcement powers, closed loopholes and brought in more than £1 billion from accelerated payments in its first year."

 

 

 

 

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Whoopee doo

Exector wrote:

It is in the official HMRC press release in the bullet points at note 2 of the Notes to Editors!

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lin-homer-to-step-down-as-hmrc-ceo-in...

 

"• HMRC has got tougher on tax avoidance schemes and continues to see a steady decline in their number. We have secured tough new enforcement powers, closed loopholes and brought in more than £1 billion from accelerated payments in its first year."

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting stuff there.

Bringing forward future income and counting it as additional..."brought in more than £1 billion from accelerated payments in its first year". How many company accounts have had to be restated/CEOs imprisoned when that's discovered?

"Revenue increased from £474bn to £517bn in the period" Or approximately the rate of inflation...

Thanks for the link. I needed a laugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks!

Appreciate the reference, Exector. Ironic, isn't it, that I should miss the bit of information featured prominently in "Notes for editors".

In my defence I was on holiday at the time of the New Year Honours and have been following this one from afar. I was intrigued when Carnmores mentioned the figure, because it certainly did highlight the things that will have attracted ministerial attention - but to be honest, it wasn't something that leapt out at me from the HMRC annual accounts or NAO reviews.

While we're tidying up factual references and credits, we should also tip our hat to Ken Frost, who was the first source to flag out the "lately" reference in the NY honours list. It is surprising what you can find out if you pay close attention to official sources of information.

I will try to ensure we call continue to do that on AccountingWEB when the new CEO arrives at HMRC.

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my memory
Still in tact - Just !

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Tax professionals and head of HMRC

or Chief Executive if you prefer the pseudo-commercial nomenclature. (Goes with pseudo-commercial "customer" I suppose).

Back in the day, when it was the Inland Revenue, the Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue was I recall always a tax professional, but also was a career bureaucrat. The major disadvantage for political masters at that time was not that the senior civil servants would  "go native" but actually were natives so actually had an identity with and allegiance to the Service (what an anachronistic term and concept that seems now!). Ergo potential opposition (even if often only passive) to proposals from the government of the day which were perceived to be potentially detrimental to the Department. Better by far to have placements from outsiders that  owe their allegiance more to the appointers than to the organisation they preside over. That way you can achieve substantial reductions in manpower,  structures and processes without serious effective internal opposition. And that's equally how you get "Damehoods".

 

 

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Lin Homer

Funny, I remember when the Revenue was THE Civil Service Department to work for...........not 'one of the best'...............

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'customers'

Of course referring to taxpayers as 'customers' is completely wrong as a 'customer' usually has a choice of who to give their 'custom' to,  a choice that the majority of taxpayers (ie employees and SMEs unable to afford or stomach tax avoidance experts) do not have at all...

 

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Stomach Tax

Fenella wrote:

Of course referring to taxpayers as 'customers' is completely wrong as a 'customer' usually has a choice of who to give their 'custom' to,  a choice that the majority of taxpayers (ie employees and SMEs unable to afford or stomach tax avoidance experts) do not have at all...

 

Is that the Chancellor's next wheeze?

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Tax

I remember when tax was only collected to finance wars.

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The Great Dame

I wonder whether she had the misfortune to ask GO about payments from HHBC??

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And then in May ....

... we will find out that something even more serious has gone wrong.  She always takes a parachute just before the oxygen masks drop and the pilot starts screaming BRACE BRACE BRACE!!!  Should we start looking for the flight recorder?

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Salary

£200k a year isnt it...for that salary it has to only be 2 days a week part time really...

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Homer resigns from HMRC

DOH!

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Resignation of Homer

One look at Homer's whole carreer reveals that she has been a disaster wherever she has held a position of authority. HMRC employees must be seething at the award which is not deserved by any measure, but will be partying at her demise (and our expense) She's been a yes woman to politicians all her life, and is rewarded by a fat pension.

She will no doubt be in line for another job for which she has no qualifications whatsoever.

Her future work colleagues should be considering leaving their ships now.

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What next?

How Dame Lin could keep a straight face before the PAC when answering questions on HMRC's "customer service" beats me.  Several of my family have been treated most abysmally.  In one case they were trying to sort out their late wife's business related tax affairs. First letter - no reply, second letter with copy of first letter sent a year later - no reply.  Numerous phone calls over the next 2 years, with waiting times between 35 and 60 minutes, to either be told nothing could be done or that someone with more would ring back - never happened.  Got Needs Extra Support tax officer to visit, they took away the information but never replied as to whether amended tax returns were accepted, despite messages left on voicemail.  Eventually his cancer took hold so he rang same tax officer to chase progress and to say he would not be able to put in his own tax return by 31 October because he was in hospital. He died 1 November and I am told he still had no reply.  So much for being helped to pay the right tax at the right time when he was trying to be compliant.  What a callous organisation!

I only hope the new CEO of HMRC is better qualified and understands the importance of keeping "customers" on side.

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I don't believe it

Homer joined HMRC in January 2012

 

How the hell can anyone join an organisation like HMRC as recent as 2012, and go straight in as an executive, very political appointment.

 

Would anyone reading this allow the same thing to happen at their organisation, no matter how large or small. 

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But don't forget

the clouds of glory that she was trailing from her previous appointments

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