CWW ED Kevin Farnsworth debates tax relief and corporate welfare at the Chartered Institute of Taxation

Kevin Farnsworth, Executive Director of Corporate Welfare Watch, spoke about and debated tax relief.
(left to right) Helen Miller, Rob Prideaux, CIOT President John Preston, Annie Gascoyne and Dr Kevin Farnsworth at a Chartered Institute of Taxation event on 7 March 2018, London, UK.

On 7 March 2018, CWW Executive Director Kevin Farnsworth spoke about tax relief from a corporate welfare perspective and debated the merits of this practice with other panellists at a Chartered Institute of Tax event in London.

Other speakers included Helen Miller, Associate Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Rob Prideaux, Director of the National Audit Office (NAO); and Annie Gascoyne, Head of Economic Policy at CBI.

Miller discussed different forms of tax relief and made the point that it is necessary to evaluate each for efficacy. Prideaux described the difficulties the government faces in catching tax policy up to the evasive behaviour of corporations, while Gascoyne argued in favour of many forms of tax relief, given the positive effect they can have on the economy.

For his part, Dr Farnsworth emphasised the importance of considering tax relief within the full landscape of corporate welfare practices. It is essential, he argued, to evaluate the merits of each different type of tax relief and to identify whether or not it is effective in achieving its stated policy objective. He also highlighted the issue of lost revenue to fraudulent tax relief practices — estimated by the NAO to be as high as £4bn per year. Farnworth concluded his presentation by pointing out that Brexit provides an opportunity to reconsider how government supports business.

A full write-up of the event, with audio, can be found at the link: https://www.tax.org.uk/media-centre/blog/media-and-politics/review-rsa-debate-business-tax-reliefs-corporate-welfare-or