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Lin Homer to leave HMRC

Lin Homer announced on January 11 2016 her resignation as chief executive and permanent secretary of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

She will stand down as CEO in April, after four years in the role.

“After 10 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.

Homer joined HMRC in January 2012 and has been a somewhat divisive character, drawing praise and criticism from politicians, the media and public during her tenure.

During her time as CEO, HMRC increased its total revenues and compliance revenues, reduced the tax gap and tax credit errors and fraud, improved customer service from a low-point of 48% calls answered in 2011 to almost 90% of calls answered at the end of 2015, implemented a new governance structure for assuring tax settlements and oversaw the transformation programme to digitise services for customers.

Such achievements led to her receiving a damehood in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List (for ‘services to public finance’), though the recognition has been questioned and criticised by some.

Under her tenure HMRC has been repeatedly criticised for its increasingly poor customer service. Homer herself has been hauled in front of the UK’s Public Accounts Committee to face criticism over the running of HMRC, in particular its perceived failure to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion by large companies.

“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,” said Homer.

George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, praised Homer for her ‘real contribution’ to public service modernisation and transformation.

During Homer’s time in office she was tasked with recovering revenue lost to tax evasion and avoidance, which was a part of Osborne’s strategy for cutting the budget deficit.

She faced a series of questions over why companies paid such low amounts of corporation tax in the UK and the tax authority, under her leadership, was accused by certain politicians and the mainstream media as failing to carry out its ‘basic duty’.

Homer faced the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee in February last year to answer the allegations, which she insisted were a part of ‘incomplete’ and ‘dirty’ leaked data.

Homer is not actively seeking her next role and intends to take a break.

“I will be fully sensitive to the responsibility and care that senior HMRC officials should take when considering the appropriateness of potential roles and organisations,” said Homer.

David Hartnett, former permanent secretary for tax and the man Homer replaced, took on consultant roles with Deloitte and HSBC after leaving the revenue authority, drawing criticism for going on to work for a company that he had allegedly negotiated a ‘sweetheart deal’ in favour of during his time at HMRC.

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