The UK’s top tax official leads the list of accounting and tax luminaries in the New Year honours list, receiving a knighthood for his civil service work.
Jon Thompson is now a knight. HMRC’s avuncular chief exec received this honour for “public service”. Thompson took charge of HMRC in 2016 and like many of his predecessors his tenure has been turbulent.
The tax department’s quality of service has been derided on AccountingWEB as it buckled under cuts and staff shortages. Last year’s annual report indicated that HMRC failed to answer 4m calls, prompting one AccountingWEB columnist to ask: “Is HMRC fit for purpose?”
Another controversy rumbling in the background of Thompson’s reign is the loan charge. Although it was introduced before he became chief exec, Thompson’s HMRC has remained unmoved about how the controversial tax charge will affect ordinary taxpayers.
The harshness of the loan charge has been contrasted with what some see as a lighter touch reserved for foreign digital businesses, specifically Amazon and Facebook. Amazon UK paid just £4.5m in corporation tax last year – even though it generated British sales of £9bn, while Facebook paid £15.8m in tax, despite recording record UK revenues of £1.3bn.
The newly minted Sir Jon now faces the formidable task of shepherding HMRC through the oft delayed MTD and, of course, Brexit.
Joining Thompson on the honours list is a who’s who of accounting and financial luminaries. Bolstering HMRC’s representation on the list is Gillian Aitken, HMRC and HM Treasury’s former general counsel. Aitken left the role last year to become registrar at Oxford University. She receives a CBE.
Another prominent HMRC name is that of Patrick Mears, chair of the General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) Advisory Panel. He receives an OBE for “services to preventing abusive tax avoidance”.
Here are the rest of the profession’s honorees
- Jayne-Anne Gadhia FCA, former chief executive of Virgin. She becomes a dame commander of the Order of the British Empire for her work in the financial services industry.
- Rodney Norman FCA, former FD of National Savings and Investments and treasury accountant at the Treasury. Receives a CBE for his services to taxpayers.
- Anne Obey FCA, director of financial reporting, Nationwide Building Society. Receives CBE for services to financial reporting and sustainable energy.
- Moira Tracey. The exchequer forecast manager at HM Treasury. Receives MBE for public and voluntary service and services to the Exchequer.
- John Bennett FCA. MBE for services to the City of London and education
- James Cooper FCA. Receives OBE for voluntary political service in the Midlands
- Jo Hunter ACA. Receives OBE for her work as honorary treasurer and co-founder of a women’s charity.
- Karen Anne Cobb. A regional operational leader at HMRC. Receives OBE for services to taxpayers.
- Pauline Chelford. HMRC’s deputy director large business. Receives OBE for services to Improving UK customs capability.
- Bhagvati Parmar. HMRC’s migration planning coordinator. Receives OBE for charitable services.
- Gad Kuju. Customs and indirect tax officer at HMRC. Receives OBE for services to diversity and to multiculturalism and to Africa Oyé (an annual African music event).
- Heidi Marie Kirkby. HMRC’s wellbeing coordinator. Receives OBE for services to mental health.
- Ian Marshall FCA. OBE for services to business, charity and health.
- Roger Pashley FCA. Receives Order of the British Empire (BEM) for services to the community.
- Christoper Trye FCA. Receives Order of the British Empire (BEM) for services to the church and to charity.
We haven’t heard from all the professional bodies yet, so let us know if we’ve missed any accountants from our list.