HM Revenue & Customs’ most senior lawyer is leaving to become registrar at the University of Oxford.
Gill Aitken joined HMRC in 2014 to lead the Solicitors Office and Legal Services, advising the agency and HM Treasury, and legislating for all aspects of tax law. She is due to leave at the end of this month.
Aitken, who formerly held roles at the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, and the Department for Health, is also HMRC’s social mobility champion.
HMRC chief executive and permanent secretary Jon Thompson said he was “hugely grateful” for Aitken’s contribution to the agency’s operations.
“She has led a very successful litigation team that has protected billions in revenue and has played a vital role in shaping complex tax legislation,” he said.
“She has helped to shape our departmental strategy and I’ll really miss her wise counsel.”
In a separate move, HMRC today revealed it believed it had saved the public from being scammed to the tune of £2.4m through a crackdown on fraudsters who seek to direct people to its services via premium-rate phone lines, rather than normal-price alternatives.
It said the blueprint for such cons involved scammers creating websites that look similar to HMRC’s official site, then signposting the public to “call numbers with extortionate costs” to be connected with normal services that could be accessed for free or at “national rate” charges.
HMRC said it had successfully challenged the ownership of 105 scam websites since last year and “taken them out of the hands of cheats”. It added that being connected to genuine HMRC services via premium-rate lines was costing scam victims up to £36 a time, and that analysis had shown that were the sites in use the public would have lost £2.4m through the scams.