Why weren’t HMRC at the Public Accounts Committee tax conference?

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I was at the Public Accounts Committee tax conference yesterday and if I get time will note a number of reactions today.

What was immediately noticeable to me on the day was the absence of HM Revenue & Customs and HM Treasury from the event. I was assured that they had been invited but declined to turn up, at all.

The arrogance of that position is staggering and no excuses about election run ups and the like can be offered: other departments such as BIS attended the academic event I was at on Tuesday but neither HMRC or the Treasury turned up there either.

If HMRC management want to prove themselves unaccountable, contemptuous, aloof and out of touch then they are very clearly going the right way about doing so.

If they want to show contempt for parliament they are succeeding in doing that as well.

And if they want to pretend that the tax debate has nothing to do with them, even though it obviously has, then they're demonstrating real capacity at sticking their heads in the sand right now.

All of which supports my suggestion that HMRC needs reform from the top down, and soon.