Hat trick of award wins for Low Incomes Tax Reform Group

14 May 2020

The football season may be suspended but the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) scored its own hat trick at the Tolley’s Taxation Awards 2020.

Technical Officer Meredith McCammond won the Rising Star award, former Technical Director (and current volunteer) Robin Williamson won the Lifetime Achievement prize and the LITRG Team as a whole won the Best Specialist Team in a Public or Not for Profit Organisation award.

The Tolley’s Taxation Awards made their debut in 2001. They are recognised as marks of excellence within the tax sector. Tolley’s announced the 2020 winners in an online video today (Thursday 14 May). This replaced the usual black-tie awards ceremony because of continuing Covid-19 restrictions. It means the winners will get the hard-won trophies delivered to them. 

After the online ceremony, Glyn Fullelove, CIOT President, said: "I would like to congratulate Robin both on my own behalf and that of the Institute on his Lifetime Achievement Award at today’s Tolley’s Tax Awards. It is thoroughly deserved, and a true mark of the respect in which he is held throughout the tax profession. It is very fitting that he received it at the same ceremony at which the CIOT’s Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, with which his name will always be linked, received two other awards. These were the Rising Star award for Meredith McCammond and a technical excellence award for the LITRG team; my congratulations also go to both Meredith and LITRG on these achievements."

LITRG won the Best Specialist Team in a Public or Not for Profit Organisation. Tolley’s said LITRG is doing ‘high quality work that really resonates with the wider tax community’. Tolley’s went on to say LITRG has given ‘huge support to the most vulnerable in society’.  

The award recognises LITRG’s unique work in the past 12 months. People on low incomes need their taxes as simple as possible. LITRG’s aim is to persuade politicians and HMRC to make the tax system easier and fairer for all while making tax and tax credit information available to those who are unable to afford professional advice.

LITRG Technical Officer Meredith McCammond won the Rising Star category. Tolley talked about her ‘fantastic work in explaining the impact of the Loan Charge on vulnerable members of society, as well as playing a key role in the wider tax community’. Meredith’s particular areas of interest include employment matters, such as the national minimum wage, agency workers/employment intermediaries, gig economy/false self-employment, and issues relating to disability and carers.

After the event, Meredith said: “I'm proud and happy to have won the award. Having worked abroad in various guises, I know what it is like to feel completely lost and confused when it comes to trying to navigate new working practices and ‘alien’ tax systems. I care passionately about my work especially around the labour market, and I am grateful to use my tax skills and knowledge in this way.”

To complete the hat trick for LITRG, former Technical Director of LITRG Robin Williamson MBE (a Fellow of the CIOT) won a Lifetime Achievement Award. 

When announcing the award, Andrew Hubbard, Editor in Chief at Taxation magazine and chair of the judging panel, said the Lifetime Achievement Award is a way of honouring individuals who have made a huge contribution to our profession over a long period. Andrew said he has known Robin for many years and is always impressed by his enormous knowledge of his specialist subject and his passion and commitment to serving the wider public interest. “Most remarkable of all, given the sheer range of his achievements, is his extraordinary personal modesty”, he said. 

Robin spent 15 years at the helm of LITRG.

Accepting the award in a pre-recorded video, Robin said few accolades are as satisfying as the kind we receive from our own colleagues and it gives him more pleasure than he can say to accept the award. The last 40 years in law and tax have been a ‘fascinating’ time, he said. He has been very lucky in working and meeting many good people in the profession and the Government. Robin hopes his work has developed tax law and policy in a way that benefits individual taxpayers. He takes particular joy at witnessing the tax charities grow from small beginnings to an ‘influential force for good’. Robin is also a former Senior Policy Adviser, Office of Tax Simplification.

The awards video can be seen here.

By Hamant Verma