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Tax and benefit system
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.

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Year: 386 publications
08 February 1990
Richard Disney and Steven Webb
The difficulties encountered in forecasting social security expenditure (significantly underpredicted for much of the 1980s) have long been a source of concern-not least to officials in the DSS.
08 May 1989
Andrew W Dilnot and Steven Webb
The most dramatic change in the 1989 Budget was a major reform of the structure of employee's National Insurance contributions (NICs).
01 November 1988
01 August 1988
Andrew W Dilnot and Steven Webb
01 August 1988
Andrew W Dilnot and Steven Webb
01 February 1987
Andrew W Dilnot, Graham Stark and Steven Webb
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Impact on Society
An IFS economist advised a “Citizens Jury” on the welfare system, including basic facts and important issues about its purpose and structure.
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 researchers and the World Bank plan to develop capacity and tools in developing countries for the comprehensive analysis of tax reforms
The Mirrlees Review shows the importance IFS attaches to high quality empirical evidence in the design of tax and benefit system.
IFS researchers develop a model of the Mexican tax system that will be used by the Mexican Government analysts.
The IFS played a key role in the debate about who the tax and benefit changes in recent ‘Emergency Budget’ hit hardest.
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.