HMRC Faces Senior Tax Specialist Exodus

Thursday, May 17, 2012 Print Email

The exodus of senior tax specialists at HMRC is gathering pace at an alarming rate as 80% of the organisation’s top team are set to flee the departmental nest this summer.

Steve Lamey, director-general for benefits and credit, is taking up a new role in the private sector while three of the five commissioners are retiring.

Allied to this, HMRC is on the hunt for a new chairman of its 10-strong board to replace former private equity player, Mike Clasper.

Adding fuel to the succession planning pyre is the fact that HMRC’s chief executive, Lin Homer, has only been in post for less than six months, having transported herself from the DoT.

And director of customer and strategy Naomi Ferguson, is heading to other side of the world – to head up New Zealand’s tax authority in July.

The collective rush for the exit of the four commissioners would appear to herald the coming home to roost of the permanent secretary for tax, Dave Hartnett’s worst fears, namely that he was the only commissioner in HMRC with ‘deep tax knowledge.’

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) said: ‘It’s unfortunate that they are all leaving at the same time, but it’s also a good opportunity for some fresh thinking from people lower down the ranks’.

He said he had met with Homer and expressed confidence in her ability to deliver the organisation’s goals as well as beefing up a new team.

An HMRC spokesperson said: ‘The most important aspect of this recruitment process is getting the right people for the right roles. Applications will be welcome from both internal and external candidates in a fair and open competition. Replacements will need to have a range of experience for such senior roles; tax will be one of the key elements.’

Chief finance officer Simon Bowles is currently the sole commissioner set to remain in situ.

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