HMRC CEO criticised in wake of knighthood

Jon Thompson, the Chief Executive of HMRC has come under scrutiny after his knighthood was announced in the New Year’s Honours List. Prior to taking over at HMRC in 2016, Thompson served as the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence for three years, he has amassed a total of 30 years public service.

Thompson was the ring leader for HMRC’s IR35 reformation in the public sector in 2017, taking a similar role for the impending expansion of Off-Payroll rules to the private sector.

Upon receiving the honour, Thompson commended the “wealth of talented” civil service workers possess and the pride he feels in having dedicated the majority of his career working alongside them.

The honour was perhaps most disputed by contractors, with one anonymous worker calling IR35 a “shambles.” The same worker brought Thompson’s leadership skills in to question by comparing their job with Thompson’s, stating that they would have been fired had they led a project in the same way.

Experts in the tax industry also disagreed with Thompson receiving the honour, having been quoted as saying the award is “over the top” following reports of HMRC treating taxpayers unfairly and being aggressive.

Although Thompson was honoured for the longevity of his public service, the general consensus among contractors appears to be that the failure of retrospective tax alone should have prevented him from receiving such a prestigious title.