HM Revenue and Customs has been criticised for hailing it’s “most successful year” ever in a report detailing positive results and playing down embarrassments over the past 12 months.In the meantime, the head of HMRC, Lin Homer, was awarded a Damehood in the New Year’s honours list. However, she has since resigned. HMRC has been criticised for a series of failings and “abysmal” levels of customer service and has been accused by senior MPs of being “complacent”. But in it’s report for 2015, published online, HMRC said it had “had it’s most successful and sustained performance in it’s ten-year history”. The department said it had “achieved successive record-breaking revenues, last year alone bringing in more than £517billion”. It added that “all this was achieved at the same time as improving customer service”.
HMRC also hailed it’s success of tax avoidance clampdown on UK banks. It said the amount of money in tax avoidance schemes has fallen from £3.2bn in 2013 to £1bn. Nigel Mills, a Conservative member of the Public Accounts Committee, said: “There are serious questions about how HMRC is performing, it is failing to answer enough calls and collect enough money from large businesses and tax avoiders.
“You would think you would want that sorting out before you gave someone a gong. I don’t understand why we have to have every well-paid civil servant in every department getting a knighthood or damehood.
“Surely these honours should go to captains of industry who have created lots of jobs or people who have done transformational things for charities. It seems wrong to me.”
John Pugh, a Liberal Democrat member of the committee, told The Telegraph: “Frankly the honours system is in enough trouble without Civil Service mandarins using it for self-congratulatory back slapping.
“Lin Homer would certainly not have been nominated by the hordes of unanswered taxpayer callers to the diminishing number of accessible tax offices.
“Perhaps – if they could get through – some of the thousands of identified and unprosecuted tax evaders put in a good word.”