Institute for Fiscal Studies

Pensions tax reform






July 2021 to December 2022

Grant Awarded



Project summary

Research and policy work on reforming pensions taxation.


The taxation of pensions is complex. Despite repeated discussion of potential significant reforms, policy action has largely been limited to cutting annual and lifetime allowances. There are three main perceived barriers to fundamental reform. First, what is politically acceptable; second, what is administratively feasible; third, a lack of consensus about priorities.

Project overview

The research will produce clear guidance on pensions taxation reform, enabling decision-makers to develop well-informed, evidence-based policies.

The IFS will review current pension tax policies and a range of policy options; providing detailed analysis of the distributional consequences of reforms both within and between generations; paying attention to incentives and likely behavioural responses.

It will engage with stakeholders throughout, unpicking the extent to which political and administrative feasibility are genuine barriers, and help to build consensus around which reforms are sensible options and which should not be taken forwards.