IFS Press Releases

Mirrlees Review of tax system published

Date: 14 September 2011
Authors: James Mirrlees , Stuart Adam , Richard Blundell , Tim Besley , Steve Bond , Robert Chote , Malcolm Gammie , Paul Johnson , Gareth Myles and James Poterba

In the deepest and most far reaching analysis of the UK tax system in more than 30 years, the Mirrlees Review puts the case for radical tax reform. It shows how the current system is inefficient, overly complex and frequently unfair. And it sets out a range of proposals designed to increase output and welfare.

Government, through the tax system, takes around £4 in every £10 earned in the economy. It is not surprising that getting tax design wrong can be hugely costly. Yet the level and quality of debate on tax policy is inadequate; there has rarely been any clear sense of direction from governments; and expensive and damaging mistakes have been all too common.

In the UK poor tax design contributes to an inefficient housing market, distortionary taxation of financial services, excessive reliance on debt finance, employment levels lower than they need be and distorted and inefficient savings and investment decisions. The review sets out a long term strategy for reform, and in doing so speaks to immediate policy priorities.