Making the Tax System Fairer for Families


How the Tax System Fails Families

A couple with two children may need to earn more than twice as much as a single person without family responsibilities to have a basic standard of living and as a result pays five times as much tax. Income tax takes no account of family responsibilities. A working family in poverty may well be paying thousands of pounds in income tax.

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Family Tax – is it Fair?

Actors have been used in parts of this video

Family Tax – A Real Life Example

Tax & the Family visited a one-earner couple with three children to find out more about how the Tax System affects them. For more information, visit Edited by Heart & Soul Films Ltd

Interview with Lord Lawson – Independent Taxation Not As Fair As He Intended

The income tax system has not taken proper account of families since the 1960s



The income tax system has not taken proper account of families since the 1960s but the problems families face today stem from the introduction of “independent taxation” in 1990.  The system that existed before 1990 was out of step with contemporary society. It denied married women independence and privacy in tax matters. For high income couples there was at tax penalty on marriage. Reform was unavoidable and there was broad cross party support for the introduction of a system of independent taxation High-income two-income couples were big gainers. Other families were potential losers.  To prevent this a system of transferable allowances had been proposed.

When this proposal was dropped it was decided to introduce a  Married Couples Allowance (MCA) and to retain the comparable Additional Personal Allowance  which those with responsibility for children who could not qualify for the MCA could claim. Both allowances were subsequently phased out and finally withdrawn in 2000.  At the time the MCA was seen as “something of an anomaly”, with hindsight it is now clear that if families were not to big losers both allowances were an essential part of the structure.

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Published Reports


Latest Reports

We regularly publish reports that help inform policy makers, journalists, researchers and other professionals that deal with matters of taxation. Here you can read some often reports.


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