25 Sep 2019 04:05pm

Lack of public understanding about tax

There is a “clear gap in people’s knowledge of everyday tax issues” in the UK, a new Deloitte survey has found

Younger people especially had a lack of understanding around personal tax issues and the majority of people surveyed said that, in general, people do not know enough about tax (78%) and it should be taught more in schools (76%).

The Big Four firm surveyed more than 2,000 people across the UK with a series of tax questions and awarded a knowledge score based on their correct responses. The average person in the UK scored only 10.6 out of a possible 30, while almost half scored 10 or less. It revealed that 18 to 24-year-olds had the lowest average.

"It’s important that people – especially younger generations entering the workplace for the first time – understand what is deducted from their pay slip and why," said Matt Ellis, managing partner for tax and legal at Deloitte.

Most people had little knowledge of tax codes and rates, with only 19% aware of what the top rate of income tax in the UK is.

The survey also showed that the more people knew about the UK tax system, the more likely they were to say it is fair.

"These results show a clear interaction between understanding and perceptions of fairness. Educating people on tax affairs could help to inform both people and policy. In order to ensure a UK tax system in which people are satisfied with how much they pay and why, education is key," said Daniel Lyons, head of tax policy at Deloitte.