The outgoing boss of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has admitted to MPs that she is “not a tax expert.”
MPs were left incredulous by Dame Lin Homer’s admission during yesterday’s session of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.
During proceedings the chief executive faced a ferocious grilling over the tax authority’s recent deal with Google – an agreement which has been widely criticised by both politicians and members of the public.
During questioning the senior civil servant – who recently announced she was leaving the organisation after four years – was asked how many tax experts worked at HMRC, an enquiry she directed to a colleague sitting next to her.
“I don’t think I would regard myself as a deep expert [on tax],” said Dame Lin.
“I am the least tax expert and I don’t sit on any of the hearings.”
It was another difficult day for HMRC, who may have hoped to use the session to address public anger about the £130million “sweetheart deal” they had thrashed out with Google.
Meg Hillier, who chairs the committee, said that too many questions had been left unanswered.
“I came away from the committee feeling frustrated,” admitted the Labour MP.
“Talking about tax can be endlessly frustrating, and today we didn’t get to hear enough of the truth.
“Taxpayers are right to be angry because the situation isn’t clear enough. Instead of the clear facts, we saw Google stressing its commitment to transparency over and over, without actually revealing what we needed to hear.”