Briefing Note (BN167)

The coalition government’s record on tax

Date: 13 March 2015
Publisher: IFS
ISBN: 978-1-909463-84-4
DOI: 10.1920/BN.IFS.2015.00167

In this briefing note, we assess the coalition government’s reforms to the tax system. Although it implemented some large tax rises early in the parliament – an increase in the main rate of VAT and in all rates of National Insurance contributions (NICs) – the government has also managed to find scope for significant tax cuts. Just three of these – increases in the income tax personal allowance (net of reductions in the higher-rate threshold), cuts to the main rate of corporation tax, and real-terms cuts to fuel duties – have a combined cost of £19.5 billion in 2015–16. But the coalition’s changes to the tax system go far beyond that, with a large number of smaller measures constituting the bulk of its activity.