It seems that the ongoing restructuring and redundancies in HMRC have created a ‘glut of gamekeeper-turned-poacher' tax experts who pose a threat to the professional value of accountants.
That is the conclusion of research carried out by Warwick Business School and the University of Birmingham. The non startling conclusion of the research was that individuals who leave HMRC for the private sector are ideally placed to exploit new management reforms to help companies avoid tax and undermine the tax profession.
No surprises there!
The research, which looked at how the HMRC had been reformed from 2003 to 2012, found that although many HMRC employees embraced wide reforms and took on ‘hybrid' managerial roles, a number of experienced staff members jumped ship and turned towards the private sector.
Professor Graeme Currie of Warwick Business School said former HMRC employees could cause major problems to the tax department due to their "inside" knowledge.
He is quoted by AccountancyAge:
"These gamekeepers-turned-poachers could compound the impact of a policy shift because they are best placed to capitalise on any changes to the agency's focus. As former insiders they are 'canny customers'.
We also suggest that, as in the case of accountants, professional values of independence and public service in the tax profession may over time be eroded by the increasing movement of tax professionals from HMRC into more commercially-orientated corporate clients, at the same time as frontline interactions across the regulator-regulatee divide shape service."
All very well, but it is somewhat late in the day to sound the alarm bells over the revolving door, as that door has been revolving for many years!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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