Sir Jonathan Thompson is to step down as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) chief executive in the Autumn to take on a new role as CEO of the UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC), replacing Stephen Hadrill, who has been in the post since November 2009.
Thompson’s appointment to the FRC completes the double, following the government’s announcement that Simon Dingemans, former CFO of GlaxoSmithKline, is its preferred candidate to replace Sir Winfried Bischoff as chairman of the FRC. Bischoff has held the post since April 2014.
The new appointments come ahead of the FRC’s transformation into the new regulator, the Auditing, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA). The news of Thompson's switch from running the UK tax authority to his new role comes as HMRC’s Annual Report and Accounts shows HMRC in a strong position collecting record revenues due for public services.
Thompson will leave HMRC in the autumn after more than three years as chief executive and first permanent secretary. He joined HMRC in April 2016 and led the organisation through a period of change and significant performance improvements, including:
- successive, record-breaking increases in the collection of tax revenues due and compliance revenues
- a general downward trend in the tax gap – the gap between tax owed and tax paid
- an overall recovery in customer service levels
- the introduction of Making Tax Digital – online business tax accounts
- opening HMRC’s first regional centre with two more due this year
- preparing for the challenges and opportunities of Brexit
Thompson will, along with the other new members of the FRC leadership team, take the organisation through its change into the ARGA. This new enhanced regulator was announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark in response to the comprehensive Independent Review led by Sir John Kingman. The new regulator will have a new mandate and stronger powers set down in law.
Thompson said: “It’s been a tremendous privilege to lead HMRC for more than three years, so to leave now has not been an easy decision for me to make. However, to have the opportunity to lead the Financial Reporting Council, as it turns into the Audit, Governance and Reporting Authority, and to promote public trust in doing business in the UK, at a point when we’re about to forge new alliances across the world, is too exciting to turn down.”
The announcement came as HMRC publishes its Annual Report and Accounts showing a challenging but successful year across a range of areas. The highlights for the 2018 to 2019 report include:
- a record £627.9bn in total revenue, representing a 3.6% increase on last year.
- taking in £34.1bn that could have been lost by tackling avoidance, evasion and non-compliance, including more than £2.9bn from tackling offshore tax initiatives.
- 19 million people have signed up to personal tax accounts and 93.5% of self-assessment returns were completed online.
- Taking a major step forward in Making Tax Digital for Business, launching the new mandated service for digital record keeping and for filing VAT returns online. More than 93,000 businesses signed up for the pilot – and this has grown to over 500,000 since the full launch on 1 April 2019.