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Revealed: Britain’s most hated taxes

·3-min read
Income tax return
Inheritance tax has been crowned as the most hated type of tax in the UK. Photo: Getty

Inheritance tax has been crowned as the most hated type of tax in the UK, with one in four people (24%) placing it at the top of their list once again.

Paid by just 4% of people in Britain, inheritance tax accounted for just £3.1bn ($4.3bn) of the £334.3bn taken in tax between April and September this year.

In a survey of 2,000 people, carried out by Opinium for Hargreaves Lansdown, respondents felt more irritated by the fact that their loved ones lost out on benefits from their legacies above paying any other form of tax.

“In many cases, it’s more of an ideological resentment,” Hargreaves Lansdown said, with women more likely to hate inheritance tax than men, 27% compared to 22%.

The trading platform advised that people can gift their families during their lifetimes instead of leaving it all in their will.

People in the UK get a gift allowance of £3,000 each year that falls out of their estate immediately for inheritance tax purposes. They can also give small gifts of up to £250, specific gifts for family weddings and unlimited regular gifts from income.

Read more: Five ways to cut your tax bill

Outside the gifting allowances, you can also make gifts of any size, known as potentially exempt transfers, and as long as you live for at least seven years after handing it over, it falls outside of your estate for inheritance tax purposes.

Tax on income took second place (17%), which included income tax and national insurance.

Respondents, who were surveyed last month, placed tax on spending (15%) and tax on investment (15%) in joint third place, with just one in 10 saying the most hated tax are so-called “sin” taxes. This includes taxes on things such as alcohol, tobacco, fuel and sugar.

In previous budgets, frozen fuel taxes and cuts in alcohol duty have been popular moves in a bid to decrease the UK’s debt levels. Alcohol duties raised £6.6bn between April and September this year, data showed.

“Nobody actively enjoys paying tax, but while we’re prepared to accept some as a fact of life, others inspire deep and abiding hatred among millions of us,” said Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“As the chancellor weighs up potential tax changes in the budget, details of the UK’s most hated taxes show just how unpopular a rise would be to many of them.”

Read more: Sunak says he does not want more tax increases

The research comes in the wake of the announcement of the increase to national insurance next year.

From next spring national insurance tax will rise by 1.25 percentage points (from 12% to 13.25%) to help cover the cost of the NHS backlog and the social care crisis.

This is despite the Conservative Party pledging not to raise taxes in its 2019 manifesto.

Earlier this year, Chancellor Sunak implemented IR35 changes meaning that companies are forced to treat self-employed contractors as employees for tax purposes, without having to provide standard employment rights such as statutory sick, maternity and redundancy pay.

It also comes as tax avoidance schemes have cost governments an estimated €150bn (£127bn, $174bn) in lost revenues.

The data, which has been calculated by a team of experts at the University of Mannheim, in partnership with the German not-for-profit group Correctiv, showed UK taxpayers have potentially avoided billions of pounds.

Watch: What is inheritance tax?

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