Taxation holes

According to the Treasury, there are currently 1,042 ways in which you can gain tax relief in the UK. Since I suspect your reaction was the same as mine – to wonder what on earth some of them were – have a selection…

  • There is no capital gains tax payable on the sale of military gallantry medals, unless you yourself bought them. (Intriguingly, this suggests that if you were to exchange something for a medal of equivalent value, then sell it, you could effectively avoid CGT. Presumably the market is small enough not to make this worthwhile.) Likewise, there is no CGT on the sale of cars (but not other motor vehicles) or on gambling winnings. (I think I knew this, but I am still unsure as to why.)
  • Land that has to be transferred from one local constituency association to another, following boundary changes, is exempt from taxation.
  • There is no climate change levy on the costs of any fuel used to light a ship whilst in international waters, which must be a horrendous piece of accounting.
  • There is no corporation tax on agricultural shows, local amateur sports clubs, or most of the activities of the nuclear decommissioning authority.
  • Any research into a vaccine for TB, malaria, or HIV/AIDS gets an additional 40% tax reduction on top of the existing research tax relief.
  • There is no excise duty on Angostura bitters, black beer (malt & molasses), any spirits used for medical or scientific purposes, or any cider where the brewery makes less than 7,000 litres per year.
  • There is no duty on fuel for international flights, and no air passenger duty payable on flights leaving the Highlands and Islands. (It is very difficult to manage both at once.)
  • There is no income tax charge for any personal security expenses required by your employment, any travel and subsistence received as part of your official duties if a minister or opposition frontbencher – and if the Foreign Secretary, your residence at Chevening House – any coal provided to colliery workers, or any income from selling micro-generated electricity. You are also exempt from income tax if, somewhat specifically, you are a foreign national resident in the UK for the purpose of “helping to deliver” the 2012 Olympics.
  • There is no landfill tax on disposing of the remains of domestic pets, or material dredged from harbours.
  • There is no VAT on banknotes for domestic circulation, houseboats, funerals, children’s car seats, bike helmets, museum entry charges, prescriptions, the UK portion of international defence projects, gold for investment, private education, Royal Mail postal services, sales in charity shops, empty homes (this seems a bit of a gift to the buy-to-let speculators!), lifeboats, trade union memberships, and nicotine patches.

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