§ Ms Hewitt
The total cost of tax reliefs for charities in the UK is estimated at over £2 billion for 1997–98. This comprises around £1.2 billion of direct taxes (including the reliefs given to donors and estates for gifts to charity), about £200 million in VAT reliefs, and £600 million in business rate relief. Information is not available on the total cost of tax reliefs for charities in England and Wales.
However, of the approximately £730 million of direct taxes repaid to charities in the UK in 1997–98, around £680 million was repaid to charities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. And of the approximately £250 million exemption from inheritance tax of transfers to charities on death in 1997–98, around £220 million was for estates in England and Wales. Of the approximately £600 million business rate relief in 1997–98, around £520 million was for charities in England and Wales.
It is not possible to give a reliable breakdown of the remainder of the reliefs from direct taxes, or of the estimated cost of £200 million for reliefs from VAT through a variety of zero rates and exemptions.