The Chancellor said he is changing tax laws to prevent companies making the claims, which involve seeking tax relief on money spent not by them but by their customers.
Such claims are “completely unacceptable”, Mr Osborne said.
The utility firms’ controversial claims for capital allowances relate to changes or improvements made to gas or electricity supply lines to businesses.
Suppliers typically require customers to pay towards the cost of such changes. But the Treasury said that some energy companies have been making claims for tax relief on costs met by customers.
Since January this year, companies have sought to make new capital allowance claims worth £50 million, the Treasury said. If those claims had succeeded, the firms might have been able to claim up to £900 million on historic projects, the Treasury said.
None of the claims have yet been accepted, meaning taxpayers have not yet incurred any costs.
People attempt to avoid and then get told whether that attempt will be allowed or not. All such attempts therefore become either tax compliance (obeying the law) or tax evasion (not obeying it).
Seems pretty simple really.