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Tax without design: recent developments in UK tax policy

IFS Working Paper W14/09

This paper considers the development of tax policy in the UK over the last decade or so and assesses policy change against a low bar- consistency and coherence. While this government has followed some consistent policies- notably, in some aspects of corporation tax and in increasing the income tax personal allowance- there are few signs of a wider coherent strategy. The same has been true of other recent governments. Many aspects of the system have become more complex. There have been numerous policy reversals. And few of those aspects of the system in most need of reform have been tackled. The need for reform, and a clear strategy for reform, remain as pressing as ever.

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This paper was given at the Chartered Tax Advisers' Address in London on 13 May 2014.
Giving the annual CTA (Chartered Tax Adviser) Address, IFS director Paul Johnson sets out some of the numerous ways in which tax policy in recent years has unnecessarily made the tax system more complicated, less efficient and less transparent.