HMRC have appointed Volker Beckers to one of its Non Executive Director roles.
The appointment of Beckers has raised a few eyebrows because he was CEO of RWE npower, a company that hit the headlines last week after it emerged that it had paid no tax in the years 2009-2011.
An out of date CV of Beckers can be found on GOV.UK , aside from not mentioning his new role within HMRC it also neglects to mention the fact that he stepped down as Npower's CEO in January 2013 (although he does remain in an advisory capacity).
Ian Lavery MP, a member of the Commons Energy and Climate Change select committee, is quoted by the Guardian:
"(Chancellor) George Osborne has serious questions to answer about why he has appointed the boss of an energy firm which paid no corporation tax in the last three years, despite making £766m in profits, to the board of HMRC. HMRC has a bad enough record at stopping tax avoidance as it is."EDF*OFF, a group set up to campaign against the dominance of the big six suppliers, is also unimpressed and claims that the appointment is deeply embarrassing for the HMRC at a time when it is trying to rebuild public trust following the departure of former head, Dave Hartnett, after signing much-criticised sweetheart tax deals with Goldman Sachs and then joining HSBC.
Npower says that the low tax payments result from the fact that the German-owned company has been investing billions of pounds in new gas and other power stations.
Meanwhile HMRC told the Guardian:
"Non-executive directors bring valuable external and commercial experience to HMRC. However, they are not responsible for the day-to-day management of HMRC, nor are they responsible for tax policy or for handling confidential individual or corporate taxpayer issues."I have absolutely no problem with companies/individuals arranging their affairs in order to reduce their tax bill. However, this government and HMRC have repeatedly voiced their opposition to tax avoidance; hence the appointment of Beckers seems a tad "out of kilter" with current government policy towards avoidance.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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