New report: How do we improve the tax literacy and tax morale of young adults?

Practitioners, policy makers and academics recognise the importance of addressing low-levels of tax literacy and tax morale, but the challenge is where to start and what to do. 

With ‘Making Tax Digital’ coming into fruition next year, it is important that the knowledge gap is addressed.  Research undertaken by Bournemouth University, the University of Sarajevo and the University of Central Lancashire, for the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), looks into the inter-relationships of financial and tax literacy, tax morale and tax compliance attitudes of young people at university.  

CHASM Director, Professor Andy Lymer, was asked to contribute to the end of project report co-authored by Dr Phyllis Alexander and Dr Merima Balavac.  The report makes three recommendations for further initiatives and enhancements to existing programmes in taxpayer education for young people: 

  1. The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) within the CIOT might enhance their Tax Guide for Students website by providing a general introduction to public finance to highlight the link between good citizenship and good tax morale. 
  2. CIOT members or local branches could work with the National Union of Students and the National Association of Student Money Matters to design and disseminate a nationwide, extracurricular tax course in higher education. 
  3. The CIOT might consider working with HMRC in evaluating the current use and usefulness of the Tax Facts and Junior Tax Facts programmes in the UK state school system and then collaborate on next-stage initiatives and enhancements. Targeting all young people before they enter the job market, regardless of whether they go on to higher education, is likely to have the greatest impact. 

CHASM is now working with the wider project team who authored the research to approach a number of universities and the CIOT about the possibility of introducing a course for University students in taxation to help broaden the range and depth of university graduates’ understanding of the tax system, before they enter full time employment, as highlighted in recommendation 3 in the report.  

To find out more about CHASM’s research please visit  https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/social-policy/chasm/index.aspx