Press release

Tax simplification team publish initial recommendations

An interim report looking at a small selection of Britain’s 1042 tax reliefs has been published today by the Office of Tax Simplification.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


An interim report looking at a small selection of Britain’s 1042 tax reliefs has been published today by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS).

The report, a prelude to the final report due in the spring, analyses 13 tax reliefs and measures them against the review criteria evaluating their effectiveness and relevance.  Provisional recommendations have been made as to whether a relief should either be retained in its current state, simplified to ease administrative burdens, or be abolished altogether, with the aim of testing the review criteria to ensure the approach comes up with sensible proposals. 

John Whiting, Tax Director for the Office of Tax Simplification said: 

This is a progress report and we are keen to hear views on how we have analysed the 13 reliefs in this report - especially thoughts on whether if we are approaching this in a way people support, focusing on reliefs that are no longer used, or are too complex and burdensome to be properly effective.

There is still much to do in reviewing more reliefs before we report back to the Chancellor in full, We’ve had to make some hard choices to give us a manageable list for the next stage, but we welcome feedback from those who use the tax system and ask for their thoughts and ideas on how we can simplify it further.

OTS now welcome feedback on the recommendations made so that the methodology can be adapted and applied to further reliefs for the final report, due by Budget 2011.

To enable the OTS to analyse properly and report on a meaningful number of reliefs, 74 have been identified for the next stage of the OTS’s work, with a further 75 to follow. To arrive at this list, structural reliefs, reliefs that are themselves a simplification and an integral part of the tax system, those that are already subject to Government consultations, and reliefs that are subject to international agreements, have been put to one side for the present.

Notes to Editors

  1. The independent Office of Tax Simplification was established on 20 July 2010 to carry out reviews in order to provide expert advice to the Chancellor on options to improve and simplify the UK’s tax system.

  2. The OTS started its work in September. It will initially take forward two reviews: simplifying tax reliefs and small business taxation. It will report to the Chancellor in advance of Budget 2011.

  3. The interim report announced today setting out the 13 sample reliefs can be found on the OTS website.  The final report setting out recommendations for further reliefs will be submitted to the Chancellor ahead of Budget 2011. 

  4. There are 1042 tax reliefs in the UK tax system.  A full list of tax reliefs, along with the review criteria, is published on the OTS website here.

  5. The OTS team is led by Chairman Rt Hon Michael Jack, and Tax Director John Whiting and has a staff of 7, drawn from HM Treasury, HM Revenue & Customs and secondees from a broad range of private firms.  Details and biographies are available on the OTS website.

  6. In addition, two ‘Consultative Committees’ have been set up to work with the team to review suggestions and feed in views.  Details are available on the OTS website.

  7. The OTS can be contacted at:

Issued by Office of Tax Simplification Press Office
Press enquiries only please contact:
Andrew Bennett
OTS Press Officer 
Phone:  020 7270 6190 / 07917 598392

Published 13 December 2010