Tax relief is a broad term that means that the amount of tax you have to pay is reduced. It can reduce your tax bill, or it can mean that some of the tax you have already paid is returned to you. It is called ‘relief’ because it reduces your overall tax burden.
Tax relief is available to businesses, individuals and charities, and different reliefs are available for different types of taxes such as income tax or VAT. More complex tax structures like trusts can also get some tax relief too.
Sometimes relief is given automatically (e.g. by making pension contributions to a workplace pension) and sometimes you must make claim for it (e.g. relief from higher rate tax on gift aid donations).
The way in which you claim depends on the particular type of tax relief you are claiming, and the amount of the relief you are seeking. Time limits can also apply to making claims for tax relief (e.g. on job related expenses) so it makes sense to check that you have received all the relief to which you are entitled.