Kathryn Cearns named OTS chair

Kathryn Cearns, who spent ten years heading the ICAEW’s financial reporting committee, has been named as the new chair of the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), succeeding Angela Knight, who has held the post for the past three years

In her new role Cearns will chair the OTS board and will direct engagement with the Treasury, HMRC, ministers and Parliament. Alongside OTS tax director Bill Dodwell, she will provide independent advice to the Chancellor on simplifying the UK tax system for both businesses and individual taxpayers.

Cearns brings with her extensive senior level experience in both the public and private sectors, notably as chair of the financial reporting advisory board to the Treasury from 2010 to 2016 and chair of ICAEW’s financial reporting committee from 2008 to 2017.

Her other prior roles include a project director at the UK Accounting Standards Board (now the Financial Reporting Council), and the consultant accountant for Herbert Smith Freehills and council member of the ICAEW.

Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘We want to ensure our tax system is as simple as possible for everyone, and Kathryn Cearns will play a vital role in helping meet that commitment.

‘Her impressive track-record of leadership in the public and private sectors and strong vision made her the ideal candidate to steer the OTS through the next phase of its work.’

Cearns, who takes up her post on 18 March, said: ‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to help to develop a tax system in the UK that is straightforward for taxpayers while remaining effective and fit for purpose for the 21st century.’

The Treasury select committee can hold a hearing for the chair of the OTS after the appointed is announced, but before it has been formalised. This hearing will be held on 5 March.

Report by Pat Sweet

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