Taxing decisions: How the ONS tells the difference between taxes and fees – and why it matters

As well as the money it raises in direct and indirect taxation, the Government receives income from providing services for its citizens. Company registrations, passport and driving licence applications are all examples of fees charged by government bodies.  But when does a charge levied on the public stop being a “fee” and become a tax instead? David Beckett explains the criteria the ONS uses to make that decision and why that determines how the money can be used. 

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Closing the income gap: how we estimate the impact of taxes and benefits on household incomes

The ONS produces an annual assessment of how the UK’s tax and benefits system impacts the incomes of UK households. Measuring the incomes of the whole population presents particular challenges and recently our findings have come under scrutiny. Here Richard Tonkin explains how the ONS estimates are produced and the improvements under way to make sure they remain reliable.

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How could new metrics help to end homelessness?

Homelessness remains one of the most pressing, some say growing, issues that policy makers face but a clear understanding of the causes is hampered by a lack of clear data. The ONS and Centre for Homelessness Impact have launched a consultation on a new set of homelessness indicators which aim to measure factors that influence homelessness, such as housing, poverty, and relationships to try and find new ways to measure what areas are most at risk.  Here Hugh Stickland Ligia Teixeira set out the aims of the consultation and invite contributions.

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Understanding the latest migration trends

Measuring migration is complex, with different data sources measuring different aspects of it.  Here Jay Lindop explains what the latest data shows and the work ONS is doing to understand how different data sources align.

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