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Tuesday, 17 July, 2001, 08:13 GMT 09:13 UK
Inland Revenue considers name change
Mrs Doyle, the new face of the Inland Revenue
Mrs Doyle: 'Go on, go on...'
By BBC News Online's personal finance reporter Sarah Toyne

The Inland Revenue is considering a name change.

Ian Schoolar, the Revenue's new marketing director told BBC News Online on Monday that it would be discussing the Revenue's name as part of its new communications strategy.

The Revenue says it is open to suggestions from anyone with good ideas.

The Revenue now has a dual role as a tax collector and cash dispenser, so the words Inland Revenue do not quite suffice any longer.

This is because under the current government benefits are gradually being replaced by a series of 'tax credits', which are administered by the Inland Revenue.

Those suggesting names will have to compete with top ad agency M&C Saatchi - now in charge of its "communications strategy" .

Just what kind of department will emerge is uncertain, but the Revenue is undoubtedly going through a metamorphosis.

Pensioned off

On Monday, it ditched poor old Hector.

The UK's most famous tax inspector has been laid to rest.

According to Nick Montagu, head of the Inland Revenue, Hector is simply too white, too male and too middle aged to represent the Revenue.

He no longer reflects its image today - a diverse government department which is the standard-bearer for equal opportunities in Whitehall.

Hector the tax inspector
Hector: pensioned off
Although he did a brilliant job, he "got out of control", according to Mr Montagu.

This is perhaps hard to imagine in those braces and y-fronts.

The Revenue said "farewell" to Hector on Monday and welcomed in its new face.

Sweet and charming Hector has been replaced by a middle aged, white female called Mrs Doyle, the deranged housekeeper from cult Channel 4 comedy Father Ted.

She now has the onerous task of persuading people to return their self-assessment forms on time in a new 5.5m campaign and encouraging those 800,000 who failed to submit their forms last year to "Go on".

In a 20 second TV commercial, Mrs Doyle, played by actress Pauline McLynn, cajoles people into returning their forms.

Repeating her catchphrase from the show, 'Go on, go on...', she tells taxpayers that if they get their forms in by 30 September "those lovely tax people will calculate your tax for you".

Image makeover

The government department wants to be seen as more user-friendly and less forbidding.

But the Inland Revenue's critics said it should put its house in order before spending millions on advertising.

The self-assessment process has been much criticised for being too complex and time-consuming.

See also:

14 Jun 01 | Business
Inland Revenue to get make-over
13 Jul 01 | Business
Inland Revenue admits problems
10 Jan 01 | UK
Hector the Taxman RIP
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