Britain's most hated tax!

Updated on 12 November 2009 | 54 Comments

Which tax really gets your goat? The results of our readers' survey are in, so read on to discover which tax readers hate the most!

Nobody likes paying tax. Not a month goes by when I don't look at my payslip and feel my heart sink a little. But while certain taxes are just about bearable (and I emphasise the just about bit), there are some that provoke fury and rage among us.

In an attempt to discover which tax is most likely to get your blood boiling, last week we surveyed readers on Britain's most hated tax, and were blown away by the response. More than 1,644 of you took part in the survey, keen to air your views on the tax you hate the most!

So, in reverse order, here are the results:

The third most hated tax in Britain

Truth be told I was a little surprised that this only came third, nominated by just 16% of respondents. This tax has long been seen as one of the major factors holding back first-time buyers from joining the housing ladder.

Of course, if you already hate Stamp Duty, things are about to get worse. Last year the Government announced a temporary increase in the threshold before you pay the tax, up to £175,000 from £125,000.

While this has helped some first-time buyers (and second-time buyers for that matter) make the jump towards home ownership, the tax is set to return to its £125,000 threshold from January.

And it's that threshold that has you most up in arms - 49% of you said that, if you could change Stamp Duty, the change you would make would be to increase the threshold before you pay it. A further 6% of you said you would lower the threshold before you pay it.

The rest simply wanted to scrap Stamp Duty altogether!

Of course, you are not the only ones who want reform of Stamp Duty - check out my colleague Jane Baker's video on why urgent changes are needed to reform this unpopular tax.

The second most hated tax in Britain

Who'd have thought it - the tax consistently referred to as Britain's most hated only came second in our poll!

Inheritance Tax has in the past been given all sorts of monikers (including the Death Tax), and is one subject that is guaranteed to provoke a row over the dinner table at my parents' house. It clearly gets under the skin up of many of you too, as a smidge under 30% of you nominated it as your most hated tax.

And as with Stamp Duty, the change you would most like to see (with around 50% of the votes) is an increase in the threshold before you pay it. This is particularly interesting, because it is a debate that has been played out at length by the political parties, with both main parties pledging to ramp up those thresholds in the past two years.

Currently, Inheritance Tax is due on estates valued at more than £325,000 (or £650,000 for couples). However, the Conservatives - who, let's face it, will most likely be in Government by this time next year - have vowed to wipe out Inheritance Tax for all estates valued at less than £1m.

While they have been a bit woolly about exactly how high up their list of priorities this pledge is, it will undoubtedly be popular with most of you (and my parents for that matter)!

But for 45% of you, it simply won't go far enough - you want this tax scrapped completely! Again, a surprising 6% of you want to see the threshold for inheritance tax lowered before you pay it.

Whatever your view, the fact is, at the moment you can end up paying more Inheritance Tax than you strictly should. For a host of tips on ways to pay a fairer balance, have a read of How to cut your inheritance tax bill.

The most hated tax in Britain

Sneaking into first place with 32% of the vote is Council Tax, toppling the old favourite Inheritance Tax. As this is truly a tax that you cannot get away from, it probably should be no surprise that it topped the poll. It also can't help that in the last decade, for many people their Council Tax bill has doubled.

And while a third of you want the tax scrapped altogether, the most popular possible reform (with 40% of the votes) is to increase the number of council tax boundaries, so that owners of very expensive homes pay more. A further 27% of you want the current boundaries to be reassessed, so that they reflect the current values of your property. This is not that surprising, considering council tax boundaries haven't been adjusted since the early 1990s, and even then they were done in a rush to replace Britain's most hated tax ever: the dreaded Poll tax.

Find out more about Britain's Most Hated Tax by watching this short video. It contains a touch of relatively good news for us all on the Council Tax front in the immediate future. A poll of local councils by the Local Council Chronicle found that many plan on freezing or reducing their bills in 2010-11. Despite this, it still found that we can expect an average increase of 1.6% - or about £22 on a typical band D bill - the smallest increase in a decade.

If that ray of sunshine hasn't exactly brightened your day, then be sure to have a read of How to slash your council tax bill for tips on how to cut your spend on the most hated tax in Britain!

The worst of the rest

The two taxes that fared surprisingly well in our poll were income tax and VAT.

Just 13% of you said that income tax was your most hated tax, and only 9% put VAT at the top of your most hated list.

When it came to income tax, unsurprisingly, just 6% of you think it should be scrapped it altogether. Instead, an overwhelming 82% of you want the threshold to be increased before you pay it, with the remaining 12% hoping that the threshold will be lowered.

As for VAT, the majority (53%) of you want VAT to be decreased even further from its current 15% rate. The rest of you are split, with 24% saying you want it to be scrapped altogether and 23% of saying it should be increased.

The news that VAT will jump back up to 17.5% in January, with possible further increases on the way next year, will make at least some of you happy, anyway...

Let's talk about tax

Since you are going to be paying tax on your home, you might as well ensure you are getting good value for money from your property. With that in mind, you might like to check out the brilliant tips in our goal Save money in every room of your home.

And if you have any questions about your tax bill, and how to keep it to a minimum, why not ask a question in our Q&A section? And do have a watch of our video: Britain's Most Hated Tax.

Finally, tell us your views on Britain's most hated tax - use the box below to comment on our results! We're particularly keen to hear from those of you who want taxes to go up (because Britain is now in so much debt?) or want to scrap taxes altogether (what do you envision would take their place?), so don't hold back, tell us what you think!

More: How to cut your inheritance tax bill | Beware of this taxman scam!


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