The Tax Law Rewrite project, which will rewrite and restructure almost all the UK’s primary tax legislation so that it is clearer and easier to use, has today published its latest Exposure Draft for consultation.

In written answer to a Parliamentary Question the Paymaster General, Dawn Primarolo, said on 29 February:

“I am pleased to be able to tell the House that the Tax Law Rewrite project is continuing to make good progress. The Inland Revenue today publish the project’s ninth Exposure Draft, containing more draft rewritten clauses on capital allowances. This publication also includes the rewritten clauses from earlier exposure drafts on capital allowances, making up a first draft Bill. Some – but not all – of this earlier material has been revised in the light of comments received. I hope the final Bill – which will completely rewrite the current capital allowances legislation – will be ready to be introduced in Parliament later this year.”

The Inland Revenue’s approach to this massive task is highly innovative and involves Inland Revenue officials, Parliamentary drafters and private sector tax professionals. A main feature of the project is the analysis of provisions and their reconstruction in a more logical order.


1. The Tax Law Rewrite project aims to rewrite the UK’s primary direct tax legislation so that it is clearer and easier to use, but without changing its general effect. The project commands the support of all parts of the tax community.

2. The key points of the project are:
the fundamental restructuring of the legislation into a more logical and helpful order. It is not simply a plain English makeover.
shorter sentences; clearer signposts to other relevant provisions; more consistent use of definitions; a clearer, more legible format.
greater use, where helpful, of tables, formulae and method statements.
no change in tax policy generally. But (possibly) some minor changes in detail where sensible in the interests of clarity and ease of use.
full consultation with users of tax legislation throughout the life of the project.
new streamlined Parliamentary procedures for enacting “rewrite Bills”. NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The project was established in 1996 on the basis of full consultation. Since then, nine Exposure Drafts and two Technical Discussion Documents have been published. The project is currently rewriting three areas of income tax – trading income, savings and investment income and employment income – together with the capital allowances provisions. The first rewrite Bill, on capital allowances, will be ready later this year.

2. A high level Steering Committee, chaired by The Rt Hon The Lord Howe of Aberavon CH, QC, oversees the project. A Consultative Committee of representative bodies and other interested parties also meet every month to consider issues and clauses in more detail.

3. This Exposure Draft – Capital Allowances: Part 4 – rewrites the remainder of the legislation on capital allowances and incorporates all the previously rewritten material in the form of a first draft Bill. The revised and completed draft Capital Allowances Bill is to be published in July for a final round of public consultation. The final Bill should be ready for introduction in Parliament this autumn.

4. Comments should be sent by 2 May 2000 to David Mutton, Tax Law Rewrite project, Inland Revenue, Room 831, Bush House, South West Wing, Strand, LONDON WC2B 4RD, or e-mailed to david.mutton@ir.gsi.gov.uk.

5. Copies of this Exposure Draft, like all the Tax Law Rewrite project publications, can be obtained free of charge from the Inland Revenue Information Centre, Bush House, South West Wing, Strand, London WC2B 4RD.

6. Copies are also available on the Internet at the Inland Revenue web site, which is given below.

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