Taxation, Pension Schemes and Stakeholder Wealth

Emmanouil Platanakis, Charles Sutcliffe

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Although tax relief on pensions is a controversial area of government expenditure, this is the first study of the tax effects for a real world defined benefit pension scheme. First, we estimate the tax and national insurance contribution (NIC) effects of the scheme’s change from final salary to career average revalued earnings (CARE) in 2011 on the gross and net wealth of the sponsor, government, and 16 age cohorts of members, deferred pensioners and pensioners. Second, we measure the size of the twelve income tax and NIC payments and reliefs for new members and the sponsor, before and after the rule changes. We find the total subsidy split is roughly 40% income tax subsidy; and 60% NIC subsidy. If lower tax rates in retirement and the risk premium effect of the exempt-exempt-taxed (EET) system are not viewed as a tax subsidy, the tax subsidy to members largely disappears. Any remaining subsidy drops, as a proportion of pension benefits, for high earners; as does that for NICs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-158
Number of pages46
JournalAdvances in Taxation
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2020


  • Pension schemes
  • Taxation
  • National Insurance Contributions
  • Universities Superannuation Scheme
  • Redistribution
  • Rule changes
  • Sustainability
  • Tax stakeholders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting


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