Customs made – tax expert Iain honoured with New Year accolade

“Overwhelmed” is Saddleworth civil servant Iain McNeill’s self-assessment of his recognition in the New Year Honours List.

Iain from Greenfield, a deputy director of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs tax administration directorate, has received the OBE for his services to taxation.

Also sailing secretary at Dovestone sailing club, Iain started out with HMRC (then the Inland Revenue), on a graduate tax inspector training programme 39 years ago.Now 60 and originally from Glasgow, Iain said of his ‘gong’: “It was a great surprise.

“However, it is recognition for the great work my team does and how important that is for the funding of the UK’s public services. A lot of people have gone the extra mile.”

Iain, who has lived in Greenfield for 15 years, works out of Manchester. But he has travelled extensively at home and also overseas, working with tax administrations in other countries and leading a project for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on banks’ role in tax planning.

Iain says the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has increased the department’s workload “enormously” to support our customers through Covid-19.

“As well as delivering our usual business, we’ve helped protect the jobs of 9.9 million employees and paid out grants to 2.7 million self-employed customers whose business and income has been affected,” he explained.

“We’re lucky that HMRC’s investment in IT and its people made it possible for many staff to work efficiently from home during the lockdown right from the start.”

Iain is involved with Civil Service Changing Horizons, a scheme which seeks to raise the aspirations of children and show them the breadth of careers in the Civil Service.

He attended a Changing Horizons event for around 450 secondary school pupils in Oldham in March 2019 which focused on building their work and life skills

“It was a fantastic, fun day,” he said. “Changing Horizons is about inspiring young people to be the best version of themselves.

“Research has shown young people who have interactions with employers while of school age are less likely to end up in the NEET bracket (Not in Education, Employment or Training).

“I wouldn’t have had the career or opportunities I’ve had without the support of my family and teachers at school.

“Seeing kids from all backgrounds getting on in life and reaching their full potential is something I feel passionately about.”

Away from work, lockdown also effectively stopped most of what the sailing club had we planned.

“We’re hoping we can be up and running again this year, and welcoming new members,” he said.

“If you’ve ever thought about trying sailing we look forward to seeing you at one of our Discover Sailing days, which we usually have in May.”

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