Research and analysis

Definitions in tax legislation and their contribution to complexity

Papers analysing the use of definitions for three tax acts.


Review of definitions in tax legislation

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (eg a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


The Office of Tax Simplification is carrying out a project to identify and measure the factors responsible for tax complexity. As part of this project, definitions in tax legislation have been considered and this paper is the first stage of this project. It outlines initial findings, identifies commons themes and considers some suggestions and guidelines for a ‘good’ definition.