The politics of tax breaks

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If there’s one thing accountants love, it’s identifying obscure tax reliefs to which you may be entitled and using them to reduce your tax bills. Tax reliefs, or tax breaks as they are sometimes called, aren’t without controversy, however.

There are too many of them, say critics, and they deny the public purse much-needed funds.

In January this year, think tank the Resolution Foundation published the results of its own annual review on the cost to the nation of tax reliefs and suggested the bill had grown to £164 billion in 2018/19, equivalent to £6,000 per UK household. Attempts to tot up the number of individual reliefs in recent years consistently put the number well above 1,000.