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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
04 April 2014
Last week the Prime Minister, David Cameron, stated that he would like to increase the inheritance tax threshold, reviving memories of the 2010 Conservative Party manifesto pledge to increase the threshold to £1 million. This observation sets out how much this would cost, who would benefit and sets out arguments for alternative reforms to inheritance tax.
20 March 2014
This presentation was given at the IFS post-Budget briefing on 20 March 2014.
12 March 2014
Most analysis of the impact of taxes and benefits on households is cross-sectional, with individuals classified as rich or poor, and gains and losses calculated, using a single snapshot of data. In this report, we argue the case for taking a longer-run perspective.
07 March 2014
This presentation was given at Central European University, Budapest, on 7th March 2014.
05 February 2014
As Chancellor George Osborne prepares for his keynote statement on fiscal policy and the economy the IFS Green Budget assesses some of the issues he will have to deal with.
27 January 2014
Ed Balls and Ed Milliband have cited recent HMRC statistics which show those paying the 50% income tax rate are estimated to have paid some £10 billion more in tax over the three years 2010-11 to 2012-13 than was projected to be the case back in 2012 when HMRC analysed how much the tax was raising. Is that an indication that the 50p rate was more successful in raising revenue than HMRC concluded in their analysis?
21 January 2014
Council tax benefit (CTB) was abolished in April 2013 and local authorities in England were charged with designing their own council tax support (CTS) schemes in its place. This report analyses the CTS schemes that local authorities adopted in the first year of the new policy.
21 January 2014
Four in five English local authorities (LAs) reduced entitlements to council tax support (CTS) this financial year.
01 January 2014
This video and accompanying presentation slides draw on material given in a presentation to economics students, as part of a public economics series of lectures in December 2013 at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
10 December 2013
This spreadsheet is based on data published by the New Policy Institute updated and amended by IFS researchers using local authority scheme documentation.
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Browse publications & research

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.