Tax by numbers!

Bill Dodwell considers what the statistics can show us about our tax policy

One of the more important factors when looking at tax policy is to understand how many people could be affected by any possible change. HMRC now publish many more statistics than of old.

There are about 66 million people (and 52.4 million adults) in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). HMRC estimates that 48.2 million people use part or all of the personal allowance, with 31 million having a residual income tax liability. 35.5 million benefit from all or part of the equivalent for NICs (known as the lower earnings limit). The difference – some 12 million – roughly represents the pensioner population, including those who continue to work but are not liable for paying NICs. ONS figures suggest that there are about 1.2 million working pensioners.