Since its foundation in the 1960s, the IFS has been studying developments in the UK's tax and benefit 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 Autumn Statement, and the Institute's own Green Budget.
Research at the IFS concentrates on describing and analysing changes and proposed changes to the tax and benefit system, and in using large cross-sectional household datasets to model the impact of reforms on individuals' incomes and behaviour. 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 welfare in the UK.
In 2011, the IFS Mirrlees Review produced its final report, Tax by Design, presenting a picture of coherent tax reform whose aim is to identify the characteristics of a good tax system for any open developed economy, to assess the extent to which the UK tax system conforms to these ideals, and to recommend how it might realistically be reformed in that direction.