Earlier this month, the 2020 Tax Commission published a report promoting replacement of our current income tax system, which has varying rates of tax (from 20% to 50%) and National Insurance (typically 12% and 2%), with a simpler system which has a single flat tax at a rate of 30%. They also recommended raising the personal allowance (the amount you can earn tax-free) to £10,000 per year, from its current £8,105.

I thought it would be interesting to see how this plan, if implemented, would affect us when we get paid each month. The following chart compares the April 2012 tax rates in blue with the simplified version in red:

Comparison of a 30% flat tax with current tax rates

Click for a larger, interactive version

As you can see, under this proposal everyone who currently pays tax on employment would take home more money each month, as the total amount due would be less. The 2020 Tax Commission say that as part of this plan, schemes that currently allow people to take income through a business, avoiding National Insurance, would be removed. This might mean that people who are using such schemes to avoid tax at the moment would pay more under the proposal.

But, as you’ve probably realised, if (almost) everyone is paying less tax, that means the Government will get less money. This is indeed true – the gap between the two lines on the chart represents how much less the Government would get each year – and the commission also recommend abolishing inheritance tax and similar taxes, which would further reduce Government income. This would mean further cuts in public spending – which would be difficult to swallow at the moment. More reaction on the report is in this useful BBC article.

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Economy, Income Tax, National Insurance, Pay As You Earn

None of the content on this website, including blog posts, comments, or responses to user comments, is offered as financial advice. Figures used are for illustrative purposes only.

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