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A note on the tax treatment of private pensions and Individual Savings Accounts


  • Carl Emmerson

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Sarah Tanner


The UK government is planning to introduce stakeholder pensions from April 2001 as an alternative to existing personal pensions for people on moderate earnings. But stakeholder pensions are only one way to save for retirement; the new tax-free Individual Savings Account (ISA) is another. This note compares the tax treatments of pensions and ISAs and assesses the conditions under which the tax treatment of private pensions is more generous than that of an ISA to a basic-rate taxpayer - the typical target for stakeholder pensions. The abolition of dividend tax credits paid to pension funds in July 1997 reduced the relatively tax-favoured position of pensions, but the tax-free lump sum means that private pensions continue to be a tax-favoured form of saving at most reasonable rates of return. We show that employer contributions to private pensions are particularly tax-favoured.

Suggested Citation

  • Carl Emmerson & Sarah Tanner, 2000. "A note on the tax treatment of private pensions and Individual Savings Accounts," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 65-74, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:21:y:2000:i:1:p:65-74

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Orazio Attanasio & James Banks & Matthew Wakefield, 2004. "Effectiveness of tax incentives to boost (retirement) saving: theoretical motivation and empirical evidence," IFS Working Papers W04/33, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Richard Disney & Carl Emmerson & Sarah Smith, 2004. "Pension Reform and Economic Performance in Britain in the 1980s and 1990s," NBER Chapters,in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 233-274 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alessandra Guariglia & Sheri Markose, 2000. "Voluntary Contributions to Personal Pension Plans: Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 469-488, December.
    4. James Banks & Tanner, Tanner, 2000. "Household portfolios in the UK," IFS Working Papers W00/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. Banks, James & Rohwedder, Susann, 2001. "Life-cycle saving patterns and pension arrangements in the U.K," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 83-107, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies


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