Browse IFS
Publication types
Reforming the Tax System for the 21st Century The Mirrlees Review
Tax by Design

Tax by Design presents a picture of coherent tax reform whose aim is to identify the characteristics of a good tax system for any open developed economy, to assess the extent to which the UK tax system conforms to these ideals, and to recommend how it might realistically be reformed in that direction. Drawing on the expert evidence in Dimensions of Tax Design, it provides an integrated view of tax reform.

The volume was written by James Mirrlees (Cambridge University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong), Stuart Adam (IFS), Tim Besley (Bank of England and the London School of Economics), Richard Blundell (IFS and University College London), Stephen Bond (Oxford University), Robert Chote (Office for Budget Responsibility and former IFS Director), Malcolm Gammie QC (One Essex Court and the IFS Tax Law Review Committee), Paul Johnson (Director, IFS), Gareth Myles (Exeter University), and James Poterba (US National Bureau of Economic Research and the National Tax Association).

'Whatever view you take of tax reform, you will need to read this volume in order to participate in the debate.' Mervyn King, Governor, Bank of England

'Theory and practice rarely are brought together effectively. This volume is the best public economics has to offer. It should be read by anyone who cares about the future of taxation - that is anyone who cares about the future of government.' Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor of Harvard University

'a fundamental review of British taxes by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the first such exercise for more than 30 years. The results are a bracing blast of fresh air, which deserves to scour away some of the tax junk that has accreted over the decades.' Tim Harford, Financial Times

'a worthy successor to the 1978 Meade Review of taxation ... The Review is a terrific achievement ... the most thorough and clear-sighted assessment of the UK tax system we have seen for decades.' Diane Coyle, The Enlightened Economist

'The report was compiled by some of the world's finest economic brains...' Peter Wilby, New Statesman


The Review is funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the ESRC.

Economic and Social Resaerch Council        The Nuffield Foundation

Publication details

Oxford University Press

Dimensions of Tax Design: the Mirrlees Review, J. Mirrlees, S. Adam, T. Besley, R. Blundell, S. Bond, R. Chote, M. Gammie, P. Johnson, G. Myles and J. Poterba (eds), ISBN: 978-0-19-955375-4, Oxford University Press: April 2010

Tax by Design: the Mirrlees Review, J. Mirrlees, S. Adam, T. Besley, R. Blundell, S. Bond, R. Chote, M. Gammie, P. Johnson, G. Myles and J. Poterba, ISBN: 978-0-19-955374-7, Oxford University Press: September 2011.

Hard copies of both volumes are available from IFS

Both volumes are available to download free of charge on this site.