Somerset House faces HMRC chop

HMRC has published a review of its central London property sites and will be
consulting over the coming months on whether to quit Somerset House.

The taxman has operated out of Somerset House since 1849, when the Stamp and
Taxes Offices merged with the Excise Department to form the Inland Revenue. The
establishment of the Revenue came seven years after the permanent introduction
of income tax and the consequent creation of the basics of the modern tax

For more than 150 years, the building was the headquarters of the Inland
Revenue, now based in Westminster with Customs & Excise as a merged
department. When the two departments joined in 2005, HMRC officials, most
notably the Solicitor’s Office, remained in occupancy.

The review proposes locating HMRC staff in six offices across the capital,
including 100 Parliament Street, Euston Tower, Bush House, 22 Kingsway, Custom
House and its Annexe and the Eurostar Terminal.

The fate of Somerset House, however, still hangs in the balance. Officials
said a decision would be taken on its future, and that of Charles House and
Dorset House, by this summer.

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