It took the boss of HMRC a few moments to realise the “award” he was presented with at a swanky black tie dinner wasn’t real. Posing as representatives of tax avoiders such as Vodafone, activists presented Dave Hartnett with the “Lifetime Achievement Award for Services to Corporate Tax Avoidance” at the gala dinner of one of the UK’s leading tax conferences.
With thirsty guests having applauded Hartnett for his new gong, it was then left to one of the UK’s leading tax lawyers to eject the group from Oxford’s Magdelen College, with a legal flourish befitting the port course:
“This is an unlawful conspiracy to trespass. You will depart immediately before we set the dogs on you.”
At least Hartnett’s final speech before retirement was a memorable one.