HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Poor Old Jack

Jesse Norman MP is calling for Dave "Jack" Hartnett (Permanent Secretary to The Treasury) to resign if the revelations about HMRC (specifically Hartnett) letting Goldman Sachs (the vampire squid of the finance world) off £10M of interest payments for a tax avoidance scheme that was found to be "illegal" are true.

Norman is particularly vexed with "Jack", because he cross examined Hartnett in a Treasury Committee hearing on the 12th September.

1.  Hartnett strongly implied that he was not involved in the Goldman Sachs case.

2.  Hartnett said, in terms, that he was not permitted, and had received legal advice to that effect, to discuss this or similar matters with me or other MPs.

All very nice, except that the reality (according to Private Eye and The Guardian) was a tad different:

1.  HMRC charged Goldman Sachs £10M less than was owing.  It failed to charge interest or penalties on Goldman, which had taken extreme measures to avoid paying the tax due in the first place and then fought to avoid payment for years.  Dave Hartnett personally shook hands on the deal. 

2.  HMRC had received specific advice from James Eadie QC that it could discuss cases with House of Commons committees.

In earlier testimony, Hartnett told Norman that HMRC never charged less than the tax owing--the Goldman Sachs shows this to be false.

Well then!
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  1. "Well then" indeed... Vodafone Dave!!! We await your answer with interest (but with nil penalties ha ha!!!).

  2. having seen the accts committee today and them starting by calling him a liar i think someone maybe watching him a bit closer now.

  3. My Prediction within 6 months: Jack to resign siting "the time is right to move on", to take up an executive role for Vodafone / Goldman Sachs. Stop hiding behind all this smoke and mirrors confidentiality bollocks Jack and man up, the press are having a field day dragging the department even further down the mire. Funny how Go'D and the must be impeding resignation of the Grande Damme are like rats fleeing a sinking ship, how many more will be jumping rather than being pushed.

  4. A third rate performance. That he twists like a five year old, totally unlike his own favourite “Cicero”, is actually quite astonishing and yet highly amusing.

  5. Hey up Excom and co, time to look over your shoulders, the scapegoat hunters are loading their weapons with hollow point.
    Of course many of you will elect to depart ahead of the impending cull.

  6. Dave Hairnet has fucked up so many times and managed to slime his way out of it, but I suspect that this time he may have to pay for it with his scalp.

    Not now obviously, as that isn't the way things are done in the Public Sector (it would set a precedent as anyone who watches Yes Minister would know).

    He'll agree to go in some smokey back room deal and they'll allow him to stay on until they've found a suitable replacement at which point he will 'retire' to take up the role of Chancellor of Birmingham University or some other such sinecure.

    Obviously, he'll need some additional support to cover such a prestigious role, for example non-executive directorships of Goldman Sachs, Vodafone, the board of the National Museum of Film and Television followed by (after a period of quiet perspective), the usual associated honours.

    People like Hairnet rarely get 'caught out and pulled up' like you or I might as they are part of the club.

    Even though he's proved to be incompetent at managing HMRC and a gullible idiot to boot.


  7. 20:09 your last word summed up the man perfectly :)

  8. I wanted to leave a comment about todays events on the PCS unions internal forum, which is based at their HQ in Southend...guess what? the server has crashed and been out of action all day. Coincidence or someone at the top had pulled the plug in fear of the backlash from decide !

  9. There is a stench about this whole thing that has been hanging in the air for years now.
    What appears to have happened is that the merged HMRC was virtually left to flounder with no accountability for value for money or whether it or its managers broke the law.
    Home, roost, come, to, chickens!

  10. I sincerely hope that not many HMRC staff have yet filled in their Peoples Surveys, I believe if anyone was still making up their minds as to putting down their true feelings as to how HMRC is run, the fact that personal secretary for tax has been publically called a liar and his explaination laughable and a play on words by his peers, has caused more reputational damage than anything that has gone before it (and thats saying something after all the shocking instances of incompitence thathave come to light on this blog. Surely now the nail in the coffin has been struck and the survey will be a catastrophy for EXCOM. I live and pray in hope this is so.

  11. Another HMRC cock up, £500K for this one....

  12. "Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee, claimed someone at HM Revenue & Customs had lied to parliament after leaked documents appeared to show that the refusal by Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax at HMRC, to disclose details of the deal was contradicted by advice from his own officials".

    If I was an AA or an AO in HMRC I would keep my head down as just like the disc loss they will be scalp hunting for some innocent among the ranks of the Plebs.

  13. @23.14
    remember when the Child Benefit disks went missing and they tried to pin the blame on an AO (and failed miserably !) because they were PCS members.

    Remember the higher up the food chain you are, the less accountable you become.

  14. 13 October 2011 02:03

    Yes, I know, thats the point I made at 23:14.

    I know exactly, I was in the shithole for a number of years and saw the way they behaved.

  15. There is no doubt that HMRC sees itself as above the Law. The behaviour of Senior Management over a number of years clearly illustrates this should anybody care to look closely enough at the department. The amazing thing is that the Commons Select (?) Committee seem surprised by it all. They are so naive it is quite comical to watch their amazed reaction to things that have been written about on this site and in Private Eye for years. The people to blame are successive Treasury Ministers who have palpably failed to get a grip. Most obvious is Hartnett's wining and dining with all and sundry. Once more the Select Committee feigned shock and anger but it has been public knowledge for years and no one bothered to stop it.
    The Board are "earning" about £200k each while the poor people at the sharp end earn next to nothing and get all the abuse.
    There needs to be an investigation write across the Department covering the last ten years or so.

  16. Reminds me of the proverb "When you sup with the devil use a long spoon". Quite appropriate i think.

  17. Lets hope the investigation is deemed neccesary by the politico's although I have my doubts.
    The IPCC should have a free rein on this debacle, the law breaking is rife.
    Yes they do consider themselves to be above the law, bet the shredders run on overtime soon!
    BTW, and in addition, isnt bringing HMRC into disrepute against the Civil Service code?
    I suspect there may be a lot more mileage to this story.
    Private Eye and Ken take a bow, well done.