Jim Harra has been appointed second permanent secretary at HMRC, following Edward Troup’s upcoming retirement from the tax authority
Harra’s promotion to the newly-created role will see him effectively serve as chief executive Jon Thompson’s deputy, CCH Daily has learned. HMRC has undergone significant change at the top over the course of 2017, with head of customer compliance Jennie Granger and customer services group head Ruth Owen both stepping down in May 2017.
Penny Ciniewicz, chief executive of the Valuation Office Agency, was hired to take over from Granger, while HMRC operational excellence director Angela MacDonald took Owen’s former role.
As yet, it is not decided who will take up Harra’s old role as tax assurance commissioner, but he will take up his new post on 1 January 2018.
Several stakeholders in the profession expect Harra will eventually be given the reins at HMRC as it moves back to a predominantly civil service-led department.
Announcing the appointment, head of the Civil Service and Cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood said: ‘Jim has done an excellent job in his dual roles of tax assurance commissioner and director general for customer strategy and tax design in HMRC. He brings with him a wealth of relevant experience and I look forward to working with him as he takes up his new role.’
Jon Thompson added: ‘I am delighted for Jim. There are enormous and important challenges ahead for HMRC: our transformation programme, supporting the honest majority who play by the rules and clamping down on the dishonest minority, and rising to the challenges of exiting the EU. Jim knows the department well and I look forward to continuing to work with him on these and other issues.’
Harra began his career in the Inland Revenue as an Inspector of Taxes in 1984. In January 2009, he was appointed director of corporation tax and VAT, responsible for optimising the design and delivery of these business taxes. He became director of personal tax customer operations in March 2011, and director of personal tax operations in October 2011. He was appointed director general for business tax in April 2012.
Continuing his upward trajectory, he later was appointed tax assurance commissioner and director general customer strategy and tax design.
On his new role, Harra said: ‘I very much look forward to becoming HMRC’s new second permanent secretary. The work we are doing in the department, to create a tax system that makes it easier for taxpayers to get things right, and to prepare for the UK leaving the EU, is vitally important and touches every life in the country. I am proud to have been given the opportunity to help lead this important work.’
Report by Calum Fuller