News story

Office of Tax Simplification: new board members announced

The new additions will bring "valuable skills, expertise and experience" says OTS chair.


The Chancellor has today (25 August) appointed three new non-executive directors to the Board of the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS).

Paul Johnson (Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies), John Cullinane (Tax Policy Director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation) and Kathleen Russ (Head of Tax at Travers Smith) will provide further guidance, support and breadth of knowledge to the OTS board. They join existing board members, though Adam Broke, who has been a member of the OTS board since the OTS’s inception, will be stepping down from the board.

OTS Chair, Angela Knight said:

I am delighted to welcome Paul, John and Kathleen to the OTS board. Together they will bring valuable skills, expertise and experience which will increase the ability of the OTS to provide excellent advice on how to take forward the strategy and simplify the tax system for business and for individuals.

The addition of three new non-executive board members puts the OTS in the best possible position to make the most of its new status as a permanent, statutory body. We have an interesting and exciting time ahead and the opportunity to make good progress.

I would also like to place on record appreciation for all the input and wise counsel Adam Broke has supplied for the last six years.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison said:

I am confident that the OTS board has been strengthened by the addition of Paul, John and Kathleen and would like to thank Adam Broke for his contribution to the OTS over the past six years.

The OTS has a vital role to play in advising the government on ways to simplify the tax system for the businesses and individuals who use it, and these appointments will help the OTS make real progress in achieving that.

Further Information

The OTS was established in 2010 to provide advice to the Chancellor on simplifying the UK tax system and was made a permanent, independent office of HM Treasury in July 2015. It is being put on a statutory footing in the Finance Bill 2016.

Before these appointments, the OTS board comprised:

  • Angela Knight (Chair)
  • John Whiting (Tax Director)
  • Teresa Graham (Chair of HMRC’s Administrative Burdens Advisory Board)
  • Edward Troup (Executive Chair and Permanent Secretary, HMRC)
  • James Bowler (Director General, Tax and Welfare, HM Treasury)
  • Adam Broke (Partner at Mercer & Hole)

Adam Broke will be stepping down, having served six years on the board.

Paul Johnson, John Cullinane and Kathleen Russ come to the OTS board with a wealth of experience from academia, taxation policy and business:

  • Paul Johnson has been Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) since January 2011. He is also currently visiting professor in the Department of Economics at University College London and has worked and published extensively on the economics of public policy. His career has included spells at HM Treasury, the Department for Education and the FSA.
  • Kathleen Russ is Head of Tax at Travers Smith, where she has been a partner in the Tax department since 2001. She has been a member of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) Tax Committee since 2002 and is regularly involved in discussions with HMRC on the BVCA’s behalf.
  • John Cullinane has been the Tax Policy Director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) since September 2015. He is a past President of the CIOT. John was previously head of Deloitte’s tax quality and risk function.

To date, the government has implemented almost 200 OTS recommendations to simplify the tax system.

Implementing these recommendations has significantly reduced complexity. For example, simplifying employee benefits and expenses has saved employers an estimated £20 million per year in administrative costs. OTS recommendations also led to the introduction of the cash basis accounting for tax. One million self-employed individuals took up the cash basis in the first year alone, which means they no longer need to understand complex tax rules that were designed for larger companies.

Published 25 August 2016