Forced self-employment highlights need for UK tax reform

The UK’s taxation of earnings penalises employment and has led to exploitation of employees on low incomes, tax experts said at a conference highlighting the need to rethink regulation and taxation of the labour market.

“There is no good reason to have the tax system that we currently have,” said Helen Miller, associate director at the Institute of Fiscal Studies, which has called for reform to create a level playing field for employees, the self-employed, and company owner-managers.

The “urgent need” for reform has been illustrated by recent litigation about the employment status of gig economy workers and the abortive attempt in the March budget to increase national insurance contributions for the self-employed, said professors of economics and law at the University of Oxford, whose Centre for Business Taxation and Faculty of Law hosted the conference in London on June 15.

Read more: My news story for Tax Analysts, June 17 (paywall)