HMRC’s general counsel Anthony Inglese to retire in January

One of the government’s leading lawyers, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) general counsel Anthony Inglese, is to retire.

Antony Inglese

Inglese has headed the 200-strong legal team at HMRC since March 2008 having spent his entire 38-year legal career in public service, after joining the civil service in 1975 to train as a barrister.

Before taking up the GC role at HMRC, Inglese previously spent five years as head of the Department of Trade and Industry’s legal team. During the course of his career, he has worked in seven government departments and headed five of them. In 1991 he became head lawyer at the Office of Fair Trading and in 1996 he was appointed head lawyer at the Ministry of Defence, before becoming deputy Treasury solicitor in 1997.

Inglese also leads on professionalism and ethics for the Government Legal Service. He’s the HMRC’s employee engagement champion and the diversity champion for religion and belief.

Since taking the top job at HMRC, Inglese has brought a large amount of legal work back in-house – most notably the majority of commercial legal work and a considerable amount of litigation related to VAT carousel fraud – which produced considerable cost savings for the government department. 

He hit the national headlines in 2011, when MPs took the unusual step of making him swear an oath to tell the truth in an inquiry into tax deals negotiated by the HMRC with Vodafone and Goldman Sachs. The High Court ruled in May that the deal was legal (16 May 2013).

HMRC’s legal team has had a strong few years, however. In 2012, it achieved success in 85 per cent of its cases, protecting £5bn of revenue through litigation and going on to win In-House Public Sector Team of the Year at The Lawyer Awards in June.

HMRC is yet to decide upon a replacement for the general counsel post.

For more on Inglese’s career, see our profile from 2009: Customs made