Now that the 2014 Finance Act has received Royal Assent, we have updated our list of tax reliefs, which we last published in October 2010. The spreadsheet sets out all the reliefs, including those that have been abolished following our 2011 report and all the new ones introduced since then. In 2010 we counted 1,042 reliefs; there are now 1,140. Since 2010, the Government has abolished 57 reliefs, but added 151 new ones. The numbers don’t quite tally because 4 of the abolished reliefs were not in our original list.
Many of the new reliefs are purely structural, and are an integral element of blocks of new tax legislation – such as the Bank Levy, or the Disguised Remuneration rules, with their many exemptions. However, there are several completely new reliefs, such as reliefs for high end television drama, computer games and animation, and theatrical productions.
When we published our review of tax reliefs in 2011, we had only reviewed in depth 155 of the 1,042 reliefs we had then found. We always envisaged returning to the area in the future, not least because one of our key findings was that there was a need to have a system that reviewed existing reliefs to test their operation and continuing validity. We have kept up our list of reliefs to facilitate a further review but at present it is not a project we have the resources to undertake properly.