Policy Forum: Tax, Social Security, and Employment Status - Removing the Distortions in the United Kingdom
Canadian Tax Journal/Revue fiscale canadienne, Vol. 69, No. 2, 2021, pp. 545-557
14 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2021
Date Written: August 3, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has strained tax and social security systems. Cracks that have existed for some time have been opened up further and are unlikely to close without structural repair. New insights into the shifting nature of work, combined with the development of technologies that can provide modern, practical solutions to old problems, offer the opportunity to rethink the way we tax gig workers and other non-standard providers of labour. This article argues that we need to free ourselves from the employment status classifications developed in other areas of law, for other purposes, when we consider the design of tax and social security provisions. We should aim to harmonize the tax and social security treatment of all those who provide labour as far as is practically possible in order to increase equity and remove distortions. Where that cannot be achieved, despite the benefits of new technologies, dividing lines should be dictated by tax and benefits policy objectives rather than linkages to case law that has evolved in other areas.
Keywords: Employment, taxation, social security, United Kingdom, classifications, policy
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