HMRC appoints two more commissioners

TWO MORE HM Revenue & Customs commissioners have been appointed, Cabinet secretary Gus O’Donnell told MPs yesterday.

O’Donnell announced that the director general for personal tax, Stephen Banyard, and chief financial officer Simon Bowles, who is a chartered accountant, have been appointed as commissioners.

Currently, there are four commissioners, although Dame Leslie Strathie, chief executive officer, is on long-term sick leave. As a non-ministerial department, the Queen appoints commissioners who have responsibility for handling taxpayers’ affairs so ministers have no involvement in cases.

The Public Accounts Committee had criticised HMRC because commissioners were both negotiating and signing off deals, which is contrary to its governance guidelines. It also emerged during recent hearings that permanent secretary for tax Dave Hartnett was the only commissioner with “deep tax knowledge”.

Banyard has been with the Revenue since 1977, recently taking a variety of high-profile roles, including programme director for the merger of Inland Revenue & Contributions Agency in 1998, operations director, in charge of 43,000 staff, HR director and international director.

Bowles is a trained accountant and was appointed CFO of HMRC in March 2009. He has previously worked for RAC, BOC Group and Arthur Andersen & Co.

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