HMRC accounts a mine of information

Another year, another audit qualification. HMRC accounts were qualified by Sir John Bourn for the fourth year in a row this week.

The news comes as no surprise really, given the department is now an arm of UK social security. The DWP’s own problems with getting its accounts signed off is testament to the enduring problem that such activities are beset by fraud.

What’s disappointing perhaps is that such concerns entirely overshadow the department’s main work, to collect tax.

There’s some interesting stuff in the annual report, not least senior officials’ pay packets.

Did you know that Sir David Varney was paid £175,000 in salary? And that his contract, rather than the rumoured three year term some mention, actually appears to be open-ended. Have a look at pages 21-22.

Dave Hartnett also extracts a pretty modest wage from HMRC, only £145,000, no change on last year it should be noted. They must be feeling the pinch.

Steve Lamey, the chief IT officer at the deparment, gets paid the most at £245,000. Probably sensible to pay a good whack given the problems the department has had, and the vast amount of IT it needs.

Speaking of which, the department confirms publicly the nature of its deal with EDS on page 16.

It gives a nominal amount for its audit work from the NAO – £1.9m.

And finally, there’s also a good joke. On page 79 Sir David points out drily that ‘no non-audit work was carried out by the auditors for HMRC.’

That would be ‘Sir John Bourn Consulting inc’ then. Or maybe he could have offered them tax advice?

Related reading