Pushing for a fairer, greener tax system

Our TransformTax project


For too long, governments have avoided fundamental changes to tax, tinkering only with the rates of existing taxes, rather than conducting a root and branch review of the system to consider what taxes are for, including what is taxed, and why.

Our TransformTax project, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, is using a multidisciplinary approach, looking at the history of taxation, analysing alternative approaches from abroad, comparing fiscal instruments and, crucially, incorporating behavioural science. As part of this, we are using deliberative democracy techniques to understand what the public wants from the tax system.

We are investigating how taxes can be applied in a way that helps society to navigate away from an economic system founded on the ever increasing consumption of goods, with little consideration of its impact on the wellbeing of people and the planet. Through this project, we will examine opportunities for the tax system to enable people to make more sustainable choices.

Decades of piecemeal changes to the tax system have left it complicated, inefficient and beset with perverse incentives that do little to raise revenue or meet the government’s wider economic objectives…The system is ripe for reform.

Bronwen Maddox, director, Institute for Government

Our work

In collaboration with our advisory board, and with thanks to BritainThinks, we have written reports on how the tax system can assist the public to adopt greener lifestyles and avoid behaviours that harm the environment.

Read our reports:

Advisory board

Arun Advani

Assistant professor in economics and impact director of the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE), Warwick University

Sam Fankhauser

Research director, Oxford Net Zero and professor of climate economics and policy at the University of Oxford.

Dominic Hogg

Director, Equanimator and former chairman, Eunomia Research & Consulting

Helen Miller

Deputy director of the IFS and head of the tax sector

Lorraine Whitmarsh

Professor of environmental psychology, University of Bath, and director, Centre for Climate Change & Social Transformation (CAST)


We’re grateful to the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust for supporting this work.

Explore our work

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