Lin Homer is quitting her job as the boss of Britain’s taxman.
She didn’t give a reason for her imminent departure in a statement on HMRC’s website, other than saying it was a “sensible time to move on.” The government also confirmed that she is not “actively seeking” her next role.
She only just received a damehood through the New Year’s Honours list last month as well.
So in other words, she has quit with no job to go to, just a few weeks after being given one of the highest awards from the state in Britain.
“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. 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.
“It has been a privilege to have been with HMRC during a period when the improved performance of the Department has been increasingly recognised and we have the full backing of Ministers for our future plans.
“HMRC is a critical organisation which does vital things — to collect the revenues to pay for public services, support families with targeted financial support and facilitate trade for UK businesses. I have found commitment to public service and dedication to customers among our people wherever I have been, coupled with a deep level of specialist expertise and operational excellence.”
She may not have said why she is quitting but it does come amid massive criticism over the state of the HMRC during her four year tenure as the CEO of the taxman.
In November, politicians on the Public Accounts Committee published a report that said unequivocally that “HMRC [is] still failing taxpayers.“
The PAC’s chairperson Meg Hillier MP said in a statement at the time:
“HMRC must do more to ensure all due tax is paid. The public purse is missing out and taxpayers expect and deserve better.
“We are deeply disappointed at the low number of prosecutions by HMRC for tax evasion. We believe it is important for HMRC to send a clear message to those who seek to evade tax that the penalties will be severe and public. It’s also important that the majority who play by the rules, paying their tax on time and in full, see that those who don’t will face the consequences.
“Tax avoidance also remains a serious concern. Too many avoidance schemes run rings around the taxman, operating legally but gaining advantages never intended by Parliament. If tax law is to be improved then HMRC must as a priority provide Parliament with comprehensive details of avoidance.
“HMRC must also rapidly improve its customer service, previously described by the PAC as abysmal and now even worse — to the extent it could be considered a genuine threat to tax collection.
“It beggars belief that, having made disappointing progress on tax evasion and avoidance, the taxman also seems incapable of running a satisfactory service for people trying to pay their fair share.”
On top of that, a report by The Sun newspaper at the beginning of the year revealed that more than 10,000 HMRC workers want to quit working for the taxman.
The Sun’s annual “People Survey” also showed 49% of 42,458 workers who did the survey said HMRC was managed badly and 24% said they wanted to leave now or “within the year.”
However, in the HMRC statement today, UK Chancellor George Osborne said:
“Lin 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. 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.”
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