Tax revenues are forecast to be £690 billion in 2017-18. That is 34% of national income. Two-thirds of receipts are raised from just three taxes – income tax, National Insurance contributions and VAT. In 2018-19, receipts are forecast to reach their highest level since the 1980s. Relative to 2010, the taxman will be raising more from VAT and NICs, but less from income tax and substantially less from corporation tax. A handful of smaller, and, in some cases, new taxes have become more important. The next government will face a number of challenges, including the fall in income tax receipts as a result of the growth in self-employment.

In the run-up to the 2017 general election we will be publishing analysis on what has happened to taxes to date and what the parties are proposing.

IFS Mirrlees Review

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. Research also considers the ways in which the tax system affects firms’ decisions, including decisions over how much to invest, which assets to invest in and where to locate activities.

IFS election 2017 publications

Briefing note

Stuart Adam, Andrew Hood, Robert Joyce and David Phillips, Labour’s proposed income tax rises for high-income individuals, 16 May 2017

Helen Miller, What’s been happening to corporation tax?, 10 May 2017

Helen Miller and Barra Roantree, Tax revenues: where does the money come from and what are the next government’s challenges?, 1 May 2017

Andrew Hood and Tom Waters, The impact of tax and benefit reforms on household incomes, 27 April 2017


Andrew Hood, Robert Joyce and Tom Waters, Income tax and benefits: the Liberal Democrats and Labour compared, 17 May 2017

Helen Miller, Labour’s reversal of corporate tax cuts would raise substantial sums but comes with important trade-offs, 10 May 2017

Paul Johnson, Robert Joyce and Tom Waters, If politicians talk about the rich, always ask who they mean, 5 May 2017

Journal articles

Helen Miller, Tax in the manifestos, Tax Journal, 2 June 2017

Useful resources


Stuart Adam, Helen Miller and Thomas Pope, Tax, legal form and the gig economy, in The 2017 IFS Green Budget, Carl Emmerson, Paul Johnson and Robert Joyce (eds.), February 2017

George Crozier, John Cullinane, Bill Dodwell, Paul Johnson, Alice Lilly, Euan McCarthy and Jill Rutter, Better budgets: making tax policy better, Institute for Government report, January 2017

Journal articles

Helen Miller, Tax in a changing world of work, Tax Journal, 20 April 2017

Newspaper articles

Helen Miller, Six reasons politicians always row over tax, BBC, 14 May 2017

Paul Johnson, Labour’s manifesto spending plans are impossible to cost, The Times, 12 March 2017

Paul Johnson, Dividend windfall shows high earners can be induced to pay, The Times, 8 March 2017 


Helen Miller,  Should different ways of working be taxed differently?, CIOT/IFS debate, 21 March 2017

Andrew Hood, Personal tax and benefit changes, IFS post-Budget briefing, 9 March 2017

Helen Miller, Business taxes, IFS post-Budget briefing, 9 March 2017


Helen Miller, Where do taxes come from?, March 2017

Helen Miller, What has happened to taxes over time?, March 2017

Helen Miller, Where does the government get money from?, March 2017

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