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Integrating Income Tax and National Insurance: an interim report

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  • Stuart Adam

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    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Glen Loutzenhiser
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    Abstract

    Income Tax and National Insurance are now sufficiently similar that merging them appears to be a plausible option, yet still sufficiently different that integration raises significant difficulties. This paper surveys the potential benefits of integration - increased transparency and reduced administrative and compliance costs - and the potential obstacles, assessing the extent to which each of the differences between Income Tax and NICs - in particular the contributory principle, the levying of an employer charge and the differences in tax base - constitute serious barriers to integration. The paper concludes that few of the difficulties look individually prohibitive, but that trying too hard to avoid significant reform of the current policy framework could produce a merged tax so complicated as to nullify much or all of the benefits of integration.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W07/21.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:07/21

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    Keywords: Taxation; social insurance; administration;

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    1. Andrew Dilnot & Steven Webb, 1989. "Reforming National Insurance contributions: a progress report," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 10(2), pages 38-47, May.
    2. Paul Johnson & Gary Stears, 1996. "Should the basic state pension be a contributory benefit?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(1), pages 105-112, February.
    3. Evan Davis & Andrew Dilnot, 1985. "The restructuring of National Insurance contributions in the 1985 budget," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 6(2), pages 51-60, May.
    4. Andrew Dilnot & Steven Webb, 1988. "Reforming National Insurance contributions," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 9(4), pages 1-24, August.
    5. David Skinner & Mark Robson, 1992. "National Insurance contributions: anomalies and reforms," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 13(3), pages 112-125, August.
    6. Alan J. Auerbach, 2006. "The Future of Capital Income Taxation," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 27(4), pages 399-420, December.
    7. Judith Freedman & Emma Chamberlain, 1997. "Horizontal equity and the taxation of employed and self-employed workers," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 87-118, February.
    8. Elizabeth Symons & Ian Walker, 1986. "The reform of personal taxation: a brief analysis," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 7(2), pages 38-47, May.
    9. William Vickrey, 1939. "Averaging of Income for Income-Tax Purposes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47, pages 379.
    10. Robin Boadway & David Wildasin, 1994. "Taxation and savings: a survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 15(3), pages 19-63, August.
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