About the OTS

The Chancellor and Exchequer Secretary launched the Office of Tax Simplification on 20 July 2010 to provide the Government with independent advice on simplifying the UK tax system. The Office was set up as an independent Office of the Treasury until the end of the Parliament; following the May 2015 election, the government announced that the OTS will be made permanent and will be put on a statutory basis in Finance Bill 2016, continuing as an independent office of the Treasury.

The Office draws together expertise from across the tax and legal professions, the business community and other interested parties.

The Office is led by a Chair and Tax Director, under the overall control of the OTS Board. They are supported by a small secretariat including tax experts from HM Revenue & Customs and HM Treasury as well as external secondees from the tax and legal professions.

Office of Tax Simplification home page

What we do

The Office has been set up to provide advice to the Chancellor on simplifying the UK tax system, with the objective of reducing compliance burdens on both businesses and individual taxpayers. Full details about the Office are set out in its framework document.

Office of Tax Simplification framework document


Angela Knight CBE – Chair

Angela Knight is just setting out on her fourth career as a non-executive director.

She is currently the senior independent director on the on the Boards of Brewin Dolphin plc and Tullett Prebon Plc, is a member of the board of Transport for London and an adviser to PARC and Oxera. Angela is also an Associate at Goodacre UK and the Vice President at the Securities Industry Management Association.

Until the end of 2014, she was chief executive of the energy industry trade body Energy UK. Prior to that she was the Chief Executive of the British Bankers’ Association which she joined from the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (now the Wealth Management Association), where she had been the CEO since the autumn of 1997. During this period, Angela also served as a non-executive director on a number of plc boards.

Before running trade associations, Angela was MP for Erewash from 1992 – 1997, and during that time was a Treasury Minister after being Parliamentary Private Secretary to both the Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and to Industry Minister Sir Tim Sainsbury MP.

Angela has a degree in Chemistry from Bristol University and first worked at the industrial gas company Air Products as only the second ever female graduate. After that she jointly set up and ran the heavy engineering company Cook & Knight Ltd in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

She was honoured with a CBE for services to the financial services industry in 2007.


Paul Morton – Tax Director

Paul Morton was appointed Tax Director of the Office of Tax Simplification on 1st March 2017.

Prior to that he was Tax Director for RELX Group plc (formerly Reed Elsevier), the global information and analytics group, for twelve years. He was actively engaged with the OECD and tax policy makers in the UK, US and the Netherlands and at EU level on tax policy matters relating to the digital economy and many other aspects of tax policy.

Previously, he was a tax manager and adviser at Royal Dutch Shell in a number of UK and overseas roles over a period of 16 years.  He moved to Shell from KPMG where he focussed on international tax and insurance companies.  He began his career in tax, after reading Microbiology at University College London, when he joined the Inland Revenue as a tax inspector.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, a member of the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Tax Law Review Committee, an adviser to the International Chamber of Commerce Taxation Commission, a member of the Executive Committee of the International Fiscal Association and a past President of the Confederation Fiscale Europeenne.


David Halsey – Head of Office

David joined the OTS in January 2016, on loan from HMRC.

After completing a PhD in Fluid Engineering, David joined the Inland Revenue in 1986 and trained as an Inspector of Taxes in the local office in Luton, and then had a number of compliance and policy roles concerning Lloyd’s of London, financial markets and Stamp Taxes, before becoming a Case Director in the Large Business Office in 2000 (mainly in the retail sector).

In 2003 he moved to head up the team in Tax Law Rewrite completing the rewrite of income tax (in ITA 2007), then moving to lead HMRC’s policy work on the 2009 reforms to the appeals, review and tribunals system across all HMRC taxes. Most recently he has spent 6 years as a Customer Relationship Manager and Assistant Director in Large Business, again working across a range of taxes, mainly in the insurance sector.


Andrew Parrock

Andrew joined the OTS in January 2018 as Business Manager, on loan from HMRC.

He studied at University College London, where he read Biochemistry. He taught chemistry for 9 years, and studied Crystallography and Molecular Biology at Birbeck College for his MSc, before joining the Inland Revenue in 1989 as a Tax Inspector in the local Margate office. He later specialised in the taxation of insurance companies, then the oil industry.

In the Oil Taxation Office’s Petroleum Revenue Tax team, Andrew became the lead crude oil valuation expert then, once legislating himself out of a job, was appointed PRT team leader. He later managed a team of accountants, corporate finance specialists, transfer pricing specialists and transfer pricing economists, working cases across HMRC’s Large Business directorate.

He is a qualified coach. His interests span military history, wargaming and creative writing.


Eileen Rafferty

Eileen has extensive experience of tax policy and practice both in the UK and abroad. Roles in HMRC include VAT policy and operational experience in the financial and social exemptions and partial exemption; counter-avoidance operations and policy and tax administration policy on appeals and penalties. International experience includes being one of the pilot members of JITSIC (Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre) working in Washington with colleagues from IRS, ATO and Revenue Canada to challenge cross-border arbitrage schemes.

Most recently Eileen has returned from a three-year secondment to DFID Tanzania, where she supported the Tanzania Revenue Authority’s tax modernisation programme as part of HMRC’s capacity building programme. Eileen is a trained assessor for the IMF’s Tax Administration Diagnostic Tool (TADAT) and has been part of teams assessing the Tanzania and Ghana revenue authorities.

Eileen’s main interests outside tax include photography, where she is (slowly) completing a BA degree with the Open College of Arts, and psychology including behavioural economics.


Simon Jackson

Simon is a Senior Policy Adviser at the OTS, on secondment from the Treasury since in June 2017.

He has a degree in Politics and started his career in the Department for work and Pensions, but has worked across both tax and public spending policy functions in the Treasury including Transport tax strategy, Regional Economic Policy, taxation of financial services including policy development on the bank levy and the EU proposals for a financial transaction tax, and headed the VAT rates and refunds branch.


Andy Richens ATII

Andy Richens is Technical Tax Director at Bishop Fleming Accountants, based in the South West, keeping partners, managers and staff members up to date on changes to tax legislation and practice, and presenting external workshops and presentations to clients and contacts on topical areas in the tax system.

The Administration Review of the Competitiveness of the UK Tax System is Andy’s second period of secondment to the OTS, having been a member of the Small Business Review in 2011/12.

Andy is also a regular speaker on the professional conference circuit, and is a contributor to Simon’s Direct Taxes. He has also recently joined the Tax Professionals Forum, helping advise on improvements in development of tax policy. Andy’s tax career started in HMRC, including a spell as a tutor at their London Training Centre, before moving on to training consultancy, including  roles with Ernst & Young, KPMG and Clerical Medical.


Daphna Jowell

Daphna joined the OTS in September 2016 as a Senior Policy adviser.

Prior to that, she spent 4 years working in the UK corporate tax team at General Electric and 10 years with Slaughter and May, where she specialised in UK corporate tax.


Nigel Mellor

Nigel joined the OTS in October 2016 as a Senior Policy Adviser.

Nigel is a former Deloitte Tax partner who has specialised in international VAT for over 30 years. In 2001 he moved to Singapore where he led the Asia Pacific Region for indirect tax and 2008 he moved to New York where he led the US VAT team. He has extensive experience in advising businesses and governments in the 150 plus countries which have a VAT system.


Charlotte Alderman

Charlotte joined the OTS in January 2017 as a Senior Policy adviser.

She has previously worked in the Private Client advisory team at KPMG LLP, where she specialised in providing tax advice to individuals, owner-managed businesses and trusts.


Bill Dodwell

Bill Dodwell joined the OTS in July 2018 as a Senior Policy Adviser.

He is also editor-in-chief of the CIOT’s Tax Adviser magazine and a member of the GAAR Advisory Panel. Bill was head of tax policy at Deloitte until May 2018, responsible for representations to HM Treasury, HMRC, the OECD and the EU. He is a former president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation and has chaired their technical committee.

Bill has represented Deloitte and the CIOT at the Public Accounts Committee, the Treasury Select Committee and the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee. He has law degrees from King’s College London and Queen’s College Cambridge and is a chartered accountant and chartered tax adviser.


Robin Williamson MBE

Robin joined the OTS in October 2018 after retiring from the technical directorship of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, a post he held for 15 years.

His earlier career had involved 17 years with tax and law publishers CCH and, before then, a spell as a solicitor in private practice. His main interest is in the tax and welfare systems, as they affect individuals and households on low incomes, and consequently is working on the OTS’s Taxation of Life Events project.

During his career, Robin has written articles and books on taxation and welfare, broadcast on TV and radio, lectured to professional tax and welfare rights audiences, and given written and oral evidence to parliamentary Committees. He became a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation in 2005 and, in 2015, was awarded an MBE for services to taxpayers.


Sue Youngman

Sue runs strategic communications for the OTS, having been brought in to set up this function. She works with the team to identify where communications can add value to both the work programme, and the OTS overall purpose of improving the experience of taxpayers. This includes highlighting individual reports or discussion papers, improving understanding and/or stimulating engagement and debate amongst targeted communities.

Sue has extensive experience of working with independent expert advisers to government, having run strategic communications for the Better Regulation Task Force (then Commission) and the Regulatory Policy Committee. She has worked across the sectors, both as a consultant and in-house, specialising in issue management across a broad range of organisations in media, transport, travel, construction, government and sport, with multiple award winning campaigns. She crisis managed communications for both the volcanic ash and Eurotunnel fire crises.

The role of strategic communications in amplifying the reach and impact of the OTS and its small team has been recognised both internally and externally, enhancing the worthwhile improvements the OTS can bring to all those affected by tax.

Sue lives in London with her husband, teenage children, a cat and a dog; whenever possible, she is at work on her local allotment.


Blog Moderation policy

The OTS pre-moderates comments on this blog. This means that comments will not be published instantly; they will first be checked by the moderators. Moderators will be monitoring the site between 9 – 6 Monday – Friday and will endeavour to process comments within 48 hours of submission.

Moderation is intended to ensure debate is fair and inclusive, and will not be used to suppress legitimate, reasoned debate about the issues raised on this blog.

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10 thoughts on “About the OTS

  1. William Cook

    The OTS has performed some excellent work since its creation in 2010, but it appears it may have overlooked an important inconsistency in the current income tax regime, namely the tapered removal of the personal allowance for high earners. This rule has the convoluted and adverse impact of raising the marginal rate of income tax for high earners to 60%, before then reducing back to 45% for very high earners.

    In 2013 George Osborne put forward policy to create a “simpler, fairer tax system that supports those on low and middle incomes while making sure that those who can best afford it make a fair contribution”. I support this mission – it is right that the marginal rate of income tax should increase as overall income increases. Unfortunately though, it seems that George Osborn has failed, as the tapering of personal allowance fundamentally breaks down the progressivity of income tax.

    I would be very interested to hear the OTS’s thoughts on this issue before it is sadly disbanded at the end of the current Parliament.

  2. officeoftaxsimplificationblog Post author

    The OTS did note in a previous report that the withdrawal of the personal allowance on incomes above £100,000 does add complexity to personal tax returns but you will appreciate that its position in the tax system is a policy matter which is outside our remit. You may also have seen Paul Johnson’s, Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, paper on this and related matters http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/7203

    Thank you for your wider comments on the OTS; although our mandate does indeed come to an end with the next election, we naturally hope the incoming government will decide to continue with the OTS though it may well be that it will be in a different form.

  3. Nick Crane

    Congratulations on the reinstatement of the OTS. Might I suggest a simplifications to the PAYE payment process?

    Please ask HMRC to introduce a facility to pay PAYE by automated direct debit (DD) based upon figures submitted in the FPS (like VAT DD based on box 5 of VAT return). The current DD facility requires the figure to be manually entered on the HMRC portal and offers little advantage over payment via internet banking. An automated DD option would greatly simplify payment and improve efficiency of tax collection.

  4. Francis Watts

    While the Gift Aid scheme is admirable, it does demand much bureaucracy for HMRC, eligible bodies and individuals. Might it be possible to introduce a composite rate (as in the past days of building societies) for repayment related to similar eligible income (as today) for all eligible bodies, leaving Higher Rate taxpayers the only people who would have to bear some formality to recover the tax repayment/offset to which they would remain entitled? The bureaucratic saving would seem considerable.
    A F P Watts (Mr)

    1. officeoftaxsimplificationblog Post author

      The idea of a composite rate for repayment of tax under gift aid is an interesting one. It is a route that the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) suggested when responding to consultations about simplifying gift aid a few years ago. Various changes were introduced, including the small cash gifts procedure, but the composite rate route – which CIOT acknowledged did raise a number of issues – was not pursued.

      A number of people have suggested that gift aid would be a useful area for the OTS to look at but it is not currently on our agenda. It is something that is on our long list of topics so it is possible we will look at it in the future, possibly as a wider study on how the tax system affects charities.

  5. Charlotte Milligan

    I’m interested in what HMRC intends to do so “ensure the availability of free apps and software that link securely to HMRC systems and provide support to those who need help using digital technology. Getting information from HMRC is not easy.

    1. officeoftaxsimplificationblog Post author

      Your comment is more for HMRC than the OTS but the availability of free apps and software to help taxpayers comply with their responsibilities is something we have commented on in the past and will no doubt do so again. You’ll appreciate that our focus is simplification, and simple procedures with suitable support is part of that.


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