- Start of new spending settlement `sensible time to move on'
- Homer faced questions over Google, HSBC at helm of HMRC
Lin Homer, chief executive officer of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, is to step down in April after a bruising four years during which she faced questions over the tax practices of companies from Google Inc. to HSBC Holdings Plc.
“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,” Homer said in a statement Monday. “HMRC has secured ministerial support and funding for our ambitious transformation program 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.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne praised the “real contribution” made by Homer, who joined HMRC in January 2012.
During her time at the helm of HMRC, Homer was tasked with recovering revenue lost to tax evasion and avoidance, part of Osborne’s strategy for cutting the biggest budget deficit in British peacetime.
She faced questions over why companies such as Google pay such little tax in the U.K. In a 2013 appearance before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, Chairwoman Margaret Hodge said the tax authority was failing in its duty and should take a tougher stance with Google. “We don’t trust your judgment,” Hodge told Homer. “You have lousy judgment and the people making those judgments aren’t fit for purpose.”
Homer faced the same committee in February last year to answer allegations that HMRC failed to take adequate action against British clients of HSBC who hid money in Swiss accounts. Homer said that much of the leaked data received in 2010 had been “incomplete” and “dirty,” insisting HMRC had responded with speed and effectiveness to the information available to it.
In Monday’s statement, HMRC said the process for finding a successor to Homer is under way.