Who’s in line to replace Lin Homer as head of HMRC?

WITH Dame Lin Homer set to exit the HMRC stage in April, Accountancy Age delves into the question that’s on every accountant’s mind: who’s going to replace her?
We’ve been asking accountants, finance professionals and our very own crystal ball who they think could take the top job, but nobody has spoken of anyone with absolute certainty.

Together with bookmakers William Hill, we’re also providing you with the latest odds on our candidates to show you just how likely they could end up getting the job (and if you want to try and win some money).

Edward Troup – 2/1

Our front-runner currently serves as HMRC’s tax assurance commissioner and second permanent secretary so on paper looks like he has the credentials.

His job involves reporting directly to Lin Homer and is responsible for shaping tax policy and strategy. Before HMRC, Troup was a partner at international law firm Simmons and Simmons, so will have the legal know-how at his disposal if he’s ever called into a PAC hearing if he gets the top job.

Jim Harra – 5/2

Harra has worked his way up the ranks at HMRC, beginning his career in the Inland Revenue as an inspector of taxes in 1984. In 2009, Harra was appointed director of corporation tax and VAT and has previously suggested that it’s unrealistic to expect multinational firms to pay as much as other businesses, something which sparked outrage in the wake of Google’s £130m “sweetheart payment” to the taxman.

He has a wide knowledge of tax issues, including tax avoidance and knows a lot about the inner workings of HMRC. Was inspector of taxes at the Inland Revenue (now known as HMRC since 2005) in 1984.

Andy Cole – 3/1

Director of specialist investigations at HMRC. He has overall responsibility for leading the response to HMRC’s largest and most complex fraud and avoidance risks through civil means.

Margaret Hodge – 7/1

Former chair of the Public Accounts Committee and one of the chief critics of HMRC’s failure to tackle tax avoidance.

Stephen Herring – 7/1

Head of taxation at the Institute of Directors’ policy unit. Herring has specialised in taxation for over 30 years and, before joining the IoD in September 2013, was a partner in three global accounting firms (Grant Thornton, EY and BDO). He was appointed by the Exchequer secretary as one of the eight independent members of HM Treasury’s Tax Professionals Forum.

Ian Powell – 12/1

Chairman and senior partner at Big Four accounting firm PwC, he is stepping down as PwC chairman later this year.

John Whiting – 12/1

Tax director of the Office of Tax simplification. Until 2013 he was the tax policy director of the CIoT; previously, he was a tax partner at PwC.

Steve Lewis – 500/1

Coffee shop owner from Crickhowell and star of The Town That Took on the Taxman, has his own campaign to become CEO of HMRC. When he spoke to Accountancy Age, he gave himself 1000/1 odds.

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