Brown guru brands HMRC merger ‘unsatisfactory’

The creation of HM Revenue & Customs has ‘destroyed any kind of
continuity’ and left no ‘over-arching qualified person in charge of tax policy’,
one of Gordon Brown’s closest tax confidantes has told Accountancy Age
in an exclusive interview.

Christopher Wales, managing director of the financing group at investment
bank Goldman Sachs, described the way the merged organisation treats taxation
issues as ‘fundamentally unsatisfactory’.

‘The area I’m most nervous about is how it [HMRC] handles the policy side. If
it had been left to me then I would rather have seen policy teams left as they
were. The situation it has moved to now is fundamentally unsatisfactory and it
doesn’t really have anybody who has a good overview of tax policy as a whole.

‘However well co-ordinated it might be, my feeling is that it should always
have been treated at a very senior level – a small number of people with
outstanding qualifications who would not have responsibility for one particular
bit of the system but the system as a whole. By dividing the teams so nearly all
the policymakers are in the Treasury, you destroy that kind of continuity.’

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