The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament was shocked this week to learn HMRC had no systematic method for monitoring tax reliefs. This after the National Audit Office has reported over 1,100 separate reliefs worth £100 billion a year. To be fair to HMRC though a lot of tax reliefs are introduced by Parliament as one-off political stunts to grab headlines. For example some think film tax relief had more to do with political spin and 1990s Cool Britannia. Successive governments, of all types, put into law ill-thought through and half-baked schemes to look good in the media. But Parliament then gets upset years later when taxpayers have worked out what the law really says and use it. If Parliament is so unhappy at the bad tax laws it passes maybe it should stop blaming others and instead pass better laws.
Tax Barrister, Accountant