Tax is always, well, taxing and no more so than when you are Anthony Inglese, general counsel of HM Revenue & Customs.
With tax at the top of the political agenda, 2012 was a particularly busy year for Inglese as he oversaw a rising number of cases as the department continued its crackdown on tax fraud.
Inglese took the lead as several cases reached the Supreme Court, including HMRC’s defence of a franked investment income group litigation order as well as its attempt to overturn a Court of Appeal ruling concerning VAT payments made by the company that runs the Nectar card points scheme.
With the stakes of these and other HMRC cases always sky high, a good success rate has been important.
“Maintaining our 85 per cent success rate in our top-end litigation, including some big successes throughout the year both here and in Europe, has protected many billions of pounds for the nation,” he says.
Securing the passage of the largest finance bill since Gladstone’s day, along with its subordinate legislation, was another milestone Inglese reached in 2012.
Over the past four years he has helped bring his 200-strong legal team closer to the middle of HMRC and this has helped lawyers become more involved in the department’s decision-making process.
His initiatives have 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 has produced considerable cost savings for the HMRC. Now that is good news for the taxpayer.