Alleviation of taxation

36.18Provisions for the alleviation of taxation are not subject to the rules of financial procedure; so a private Member may bring in a bill to provide relief from taxation (see para 28.15 ), and such a bill does not require to be founded on resolutions. However, the repeal or reduction of a tax, for instance by a provision of the Finance Bill, is sometimes preceded by a specific Ways and Means resolution.1 This procedure is necessary, in particular, if the reduction or relief is to have immediate effect under the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act 1968.2 In the case of any Finance Bill in respect of which there is an ‘Amendment of the law’ resolution (see para 36.37 ), provisions for the repeal or reduction of taxation or the granting or extension of exemptions or reliefs can be included in the Bill, or inserted by amendment, under the authority of that resolution. Such measures which are wholly relieving can be presented in other bills without any authorisation by Ways and Means resolution.

If the requirement for authorisation by Ways and Means resolution is not to apply, a scheme for the alleviation of taxation must not include any incidental increase of the burden upon any taxpayer, however indirect or relatively insignificant that increase may be.3 It is customary to include among the Budget resolutions one authorising any incidental or consequential changes to any duty or tax (including any changes having retrospective effect) which may arise from provisions designed in general to afford relief from taxation.4


  1. 1. For example, General betting duty (rate) and Vehicle excise duty (old vehicles), CJ (1995–96) 44, 46.
  2. 2. See, for example, Votes and Proceedings, 28 November 2017 (Stamp duty land tax (relief for first-time buyers)).
  3. 3. Thus, on 12 April 1916, the Chairman, in allowing an amendment to be moved in committee on the Finance (New Duties) Bill with the object of altering the method of levying a new tax, insisted that the amendment should be so framed as not to increase the charge that would be imposed on any individual payer of the tax, HC Deb (1916) 81, c 1812.
  4. 4. For example, Votes and Proceedings, 1 November 2018 (Incidental provision etc).