Tax and Fiscal Policy

Voters favour lower taxes, shows new opinion poll


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An insight into how people feel about the current state of taxation

A new ComRes poll commissioned by the Institute of Economic Affairs shows:

HEADLINE FIGURES

  • When shown how much income tax and national insurance individuals pay at a range of income levels up to £100,000, more of the British public say that the tax paid is too high than about right or too low. This is even the case for those earning £100,000.

  • Nearly two thirds (62%) of those expressing a preference believe that low earners pay too much income tax. Nearly a third (30%) of all Britons also think that those on over £100,000 pay too much in tax.

  • When asked how much of a £1,000 salary increase someone earning £42,000 should pay in tax – the threshold for the 40p rate of income tax – the average amount given is £158.81. In reality, moving across the 40p threshold sees people losing £420 of their earnings to the taxman. On average, voters therefore think those moving across this threshold pay £261 more in tax than they should.

  • Across all pay bands tested, Conservative voters are more likely to say tax is too high than about right or too low.


LEVEL OF TAX

  • All groups are more likely to say that the level of tax paid is too high than too low on earnings from £15,000 to £65,000.

  • Only around a quarter (23%) believe those earning £100,000 a year pay too little in tax.

  • The gender difference in attitudes shows an interesting pattern. While men are more likely than women to say that those earning £15,000 pay too much in tax (55% and 48% respectively), when it comes to those earning £100,000 women are more likely than men to think they pay too much tax (28% of men, 33% of women).

  • Younger people are most likely to think that those on £100,000 pay too much income tax. 38% think they pay too much, compared with 15% thinking the level is too low.

  • UKIP supporters are more likely than those of the other parties to think lower paid Britons pay too much in tax. For example, 64% of UKIP supporters say those on £15,000 pay too much in tax, compared to 47of Conservatives, 49% of Labour supporters and 45% of Liberal Democrats.

  • 42% of Conservative voters believe those on £45,000 pay too much in tax.

  • Over a third (36%) of Conservative voters think those who earn £100,000 pay too much tax, compared to 32% of UKIP supporters, 30% of Labour and 25% of Liberal Democrats.


TAX ON INCREASED INCOME

  • When asked how much of a £1,000 salary increase someone earning £42,000 should pay in tax – the threshold for the 40p rate of income tax – the average amount given is £158.81. In reality, moving across the 40p threshold sees people losing £420 of their earnings to the taxman. On average, voters therefore think those moving across this threshold pay £261 more in tax than they should.  Around one in five (18%) think they should not have to pay any extra of the £1,000.


CONSERVATIVE VOTERS FAVOUR LOWER TAXES

Conservative voters consistently believe tax rates are too high at all levels. Looking at middle earners through to those earning £100,000:

  • 46% of Conservative supporters think those on £35,000 pay too much tax, compared to just 5% saying too little.

  • 42% think those on £45,000 pay too much tax, compared to just 7% saying too little. This compares to 43% of UKIP voters who say it is too high, and 11% who say too low.

  • 38% of Conservatives think those on £60,000 pay too much tax, compared to 13% saying too little. Conservative voters are the most likely voters to think this rate too high.

  • 36% think those on £100,000 pay too much tax, compared to 19% saying too little.

  • Conservative voters are more likely to say tax is too high than about right in all instances.


To arrange an interview please contact Stephanie Lis, Head of Communications: 07766 221 268 

Notes to editors:

Methodology: ComRes interviewed 2,268 British adults online between 17th and 18th September 2014. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.



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