Members of the Commons Public Accounts Committee took the unusual step of making Anthony Inglese CB, General Counsel and Solicitor HMRC, swear an oath at yesterday's PAC hearing into HMRC Accounts and Tax Disputes.
He repeatedly declined to answer questions, citing taxpayer confidentiality.
I am amused to read this about him in The Lawyer:
"The veteran lawyer does admit to getting a thrill from reading about his work in the national press.
'It’s exactly why I wanted to join government'.."
I guess he will be delighted to read this then!
Sir Gus O’Donnell (GOD) KCB, Cabinet Secretary, and Dave "Jack" Hartnett, Permanent Secretary for Tax, HM Revenue and Customs also appeared.
Inglese and Jack admitted admitted that mistakes had been made in the deals with Vodafone and Goldman Sachs (the giant vampire squid).
The committee chairman, Margaret Hodge, asked why HMRC appeared to have a special relationship with such big businesses that allowed them to do deals in a way that would not be possible for smaller businesses or individual taxpayers.
Jack managed to undermine what he said at a previous hearing (when he claimed that he had been advised by an HMRC official that there was a "legal impediment" to charging interest) by stating that an official from HMRC (not him) had lost his bonus as a result of the deals.
"The error was taken into account on someone's annual appraisal."
Why didn't Jack also lose his bonus, given that he signed off on the deal?
Watch the farce here The Farce.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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