Tax experts identify more than 1,000 reliefs

THE PANEL tasked with unravelling the complexities of the UK’s tax system will have to look at more than a 1,000 tax reliefs.

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) identified 1,042 tax breaks currently on offer in the UK, significantly more than the 600-800 estimated.

Tax experts at the OTS will now have to work out whether the reliefs are widely used, whether they need to be amended, or completely withdrawn, putting the scale of its task into perspective.

john-whiting-recentJohn Whiting, (pictured) tax director for the OTS, said: “I am sure some people will be surprised by the sheer number of reliefs in today’s tax system.”

The OTS is not seeking to change many reliefs such as personal allowance, or Gift Aid. But other more obscure measures such as “angostura bitters relief”, may not be in use anymore, and it is these the tax experts on the panel will take a closer look at.

The OTS will continue to its work during the coming months before reporting back to the chancellor ahead of next year’s Budget.

Treasury chiefs said the number of reliefs highlighted how complex the UK’s tax system has become over the past decade.

Exchequer secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said: “This is exactly why we established the Office of Tax Simplification earlier this year to look at ways in which we can simplify the tax system for all taxpayers.”

The full list of 1,042 tax reliefs

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