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Call for Evidence

Tax Reliefs

Scope of the inquiry 

This inquiry will look at the many tax reliefs available to individuals on their personal tax liabilities, and those available to businesses. It will examine whether the system of reliefs as a whole achieves benefits for the UK economy that justify their cost. 


When considering tax reliefs, the Committee will follow HMRC’s definition of tax reliefs, summarised as follows: 

  • Structural reliefs – reliefs which are integral parts of the tax structure. The purpose of these reliefs is to define the scope of the tax or calculate income or profits correctly. For example, allowances that make a portion of income tax-free, such as the personal income tax allowance. 
  • Non-structural reliefs – reliefs designed to encourage particular activities or behaviours in order to achieve economic or social objectives. For example, tax reliefs available to companies to encourage research and development activity 

Many reliefs may be both structural and non-structural in nature. 


The Committee would welcome written evidence in response to the following terms of reference:

Terms of reference 

  • Does the current suite of tax reliefs represent good value for money? The Committee would welcome answers in relation to: 
  • Economic growth 
  • Employment 
  • Investment 
  • Research and development 
  • Non-economic benefits and desirable behaviours 
  • Any other appropriate measure 

The Committee would also welcome any views on how the various reliefs rank relative to each other in terms of cost effectiveness.  

  • Do “cliff edges” in the structure of tax reliefs lead to problems for taxpayers, businesses or for the wider economy? 
  • Are tax reliefs being used in a way that Parliament or Government intended? 
  • What problems do tax reliefs cause, whether in relation to the tax system including tax evasion or avoidance, or the wider economy? In answering this question, please identify particular reliefs and where possible, quantify the problems caused. 
  • Please outline potential reforms to the system of tax reliefs, whether related to: 
  • Adding additional tax reliefs 
  • Removing or reforming current tax reliefs 
  • The administration of tax reliefs, including reforms to reduce complexity or cost of administration 
  • The Government’s analysis and transparency around tax reliefs.  
  • Means testing and targeting 


In any responses, the Committee would particularly welcome international comparisons and relevant measures and data. 


The Committee would welcome any submissions by 5.00 pm on Monday 26 September. 

This call for written evidence has now closed.

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