Facts and figures about UK taxes, benefits and public spending.
Income distribution, poverty and inequality.
Analysing government fiscal forecasts and tax and spending.
Analysis of the fiscal choices an independent Scotland would face.
Case studies that give a flavour of the areas where IFS research has an impact on society.
Reforming the tax system for the 21st century.
A peer-reviewed quarterly journal publishing articles by academics and practitioners.
Since its foundation in the 1960s, the IFS has been studying developments in the UK's tax and social security system. This continues to be a core part of the Institute's work, making a particularly important contribution to public debate around the government's annual set pieces of the Budget and Pre-Budget Report, and the Institute's own Green Budget. Research at the IFS concentrates on describing and analysing changes and proposed changes to the tax and social security system, and in using large cross-sectional household datasets to model the impact of reforms on individuals' incomes and behaviour. Below, we present specific projects that researchers at the IFS have worked on in recent years, although the constant need to maintain the Institute's tax and benefit model means that IFS researchers are familiar with almost all areas of personal tax and social security in the UK.
The government has committed itself to raising the share of revenues from green taxes over this Parliament. On its own definition of what constitutes a ‘green tax’, the pledge is on course to be met with ease. Alternative definitions of green taxes based on international convention, however, suggest that the pledge will be missed. We argue that such pledges are not a good guide to a government’s environmental credentials, and green tax policy should be justified by environmental issues rather than an arbitrary revenue target.
Last week marked the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report. Today’s social security system bears almost no resemblance to the one he envisaged. His ambition for a system of social insurance in which benefits would be paid in return for contributions to those experiencing unemployment, sickness or old age did not prove robust to changes in the economy, in demography and in the labour market. Other benefits, especially means-tested benefits, have been layered on top of the original social insurance benefits to create a system which is too complex and, at times, incoherent.
News analysis published in Tax Notes International, 5 November, 2012
In a ministerial statement last week the government announced a significant change to its policy to localise Council Tax Benefit (CTB) from next April. In this observation we ask why such a significant change has been announced to a policy two years after it was first announced, less than six months before councils will have to implement it and after many have already consulted on the structure of proposed schemes.
A dynamic perspective on how the UK personal tax and benefit system affects work incentives and redistributes income
This briefing note summarises a project that took a life-cycle perspective to understand how taxes and benefits affect incentives to work and earn more, and the way in which they redistribute income.
In his speech to the Conservative party conference today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer again stated an intention to reduce welfare expenditure by a further £10 billion per year by 2016–17. In this observation, IFS researchers analyse the suggested cuts.
This presentation was given at HMRC on 24 July 2012 to an audience of more than 80 civil servants from across government departments.
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An IFS economist advised a “Citizens Jury” on the welfare system, including basic facts and important issues about its purpose and structure.
Our ERA analysis contributed to the evaluation literature and informed the Government about the validity of the experimental findings.
Proposals by IFS researchers to simplify the benefit system and strengthen the incentives for low-skilled adults to work have attracted the attention of Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
IFS evaluated the Pathways to Work programme. This work proved key to the policy debate about how to get disability benefit claimants in work.
The Mirrlees Review shows the importance IFS attaches to high quality empirical evidence in the design of tax and benefit system.
IFS researchers found that the In-Work Credit encouraged lone parents to leave benefit more quickly but did not increase work retention.
IFS researchers develop a model of the Mexican tax system that will be used by the Mexican Government analysts.
The IFS has made valuable contributions to the debate on VAT and its impact on the poor.
The IFS played a key role in informing the public during the 2010 election campaign. Our comments on the parties’ tax plans were quoted by the party leaders in their debates.
In light of Government objectives to increase environmental taxation, we investigate whether the UK tax system is becoming more or less ‘green’.
IFS researchers draw together lessons from behavioural economics for tax and benefit policy in a report aimed at policymakers.
IFS researchers and the World Bank plan to develop capacity and tools in developing countries for the comprehensive analysis of tax reforms
Changes to the benefit system recommended by IFS researchers have made working less than 16 hours a week more attractive to benefit recipients.
The IFS played a key role in the debate about who the tax and benefit changes in recent ‘Emergency Budget’ hit hardest.