The Inland Revenue even had the front to add: "Dave is widely-recognised as a tax leader at home and abroad, and has secured billions in tax for the UK that would otherwise have been lost through avoidance, evasion and fraud."
Tax leader lost!
But Hartnett has caused considerable concern because he has caved in to corporates that owed HMRC billions in unpaid tax. The UK public accounts committee is now examining claims that a potential tax bill of up to £6bn from Vodafone - a deal brokered by Hartnett - may have also been outside the powers of HMRC.
ControversyIf Vodafone (and other multinationals) have been given an easy ride, that means more pressure on the general tax base - from the likes of you and me. Allegations that Goldman Sachs may have also been handed a reduced tax bill have also come to the fore.
Chocs, flowersFor a look at how a few plucky demonstrators, angry at how some corporates pay worryingly low levels of tax, humiliated Dave Hartnett at a recent tax conference, click here. They didn't rant and rage. They bought him champagne, chocolates and flowers, surprising security in the process. Highly effective activism, applied with humour and wit.
Dave Hartnett will be replaced by Lin Homer, currently a permanent secretary at the Department of Transport. No doubt Hartnett will be retiring on a handsome pension.