Varney to step down as chairman of HMRC

HMRC chairman Sir David Varney is to leave his role heading up the UK tax
authority, the department said today.

Sir David is leaving to take on a new permanent secretary role at the
Treasury, HMRC said.

Sir David has been in the role for only two years, and his departure may well
raise questions as to why he has stepped down so soon.

He joined in 2004 as a much-prized former private sector leader, having led
British Gas and mm02, his appointment a key part of government moves to get
private sector expertise into Whitehall.

Sir David oversaw the merger of the former Inland Revenue and Customs &
Excise into one body, but his time at HMRC has not been without difficulty.

The tax credits fiasco has marked his time at the department most clearly,
with IT problems and structural issues relating to overpayments attracting
fierce criticism and prompting some angry scenes at select committees Sir David
was called before.
Sir David also oversaw the government’s strategy on carousel fraud, which after
several misfiring strategies by HMRC is now thought to be spiralling.

The department has put new moves in place to stem the losses, estimated in
the billions, but it is not known as yet what effect they are having.

Sir David is to now take on a ‘transformational government strategy,’ HMRC
said, working in the Treasury. His new role would appear to build on his work
developing e-filing at HMRC, one of the key success stories, despite IT
glitches, of the department.

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