Women lag far behind men in taking action on their tax bill

22 Jun 2015

Women lag far behind men in taking action on their tax bill

  • Only seven per cent of women have tried to cut their tax wastage in the past year
  • Nearly one in five men (19 per cent) have tried to reduce their tax bill
  • Nearly half of the women who haven’t tried simply don’t think it’s possible
  • Advisers cite people’s lack of knowledge about allowances as the biggest obstacle to tax planning 

New research from Prudential and unbiased.co.ukshows that women are less than half as likely as men to try and cut their unnecessary tax payments. Only seven per cent of women have taken any steps to reduce their tax bill in the past year, contrasting with 19 per cent of men.1 

The 2015 TaxAction Report found that nearly half of the women (47 per cent) who aren’t taking advantage of tax relief and allowances do so because they believe they currently couldn’t pay any less tax. Slightly fewer men (42 per cent) who had failed to take action said the same.

Income tax is substantially the most important tax consideration for both sexes, but nearly twice as many women say they don’t know which tax is the most important to them: 27 per cent of women compared to 14 per cent of men. The research did find that women are more likely to prioritise managing the tax burden on their savings, particularly in the form of cash ISAs. The biggest difference is with the number who prioritise capital gains tax (CGT), with three times as many men as women picking it as their number one concern.

More men (31 per cent) think they will go over the current £325,000 inheritance tax (IHT) threshold, compared to 20 per cent of women, but both are equally likely to seek professional advice on this aspect of their finances.

Advisers say that the main reasons for inaction are the same across both sexes: people are either unaware of the options available to them, or are failing to find the time to make any changes.2

Les Cameron, tax specialist at Prudential, comments: ‘Tax planning is an equally important issue for men and women. There are lots of different forms of tax to consider and any potential savings will depend on each persons’ individual circumstances. For example, it’s worthwhile remembering that those in couples can benefit from double the tax reliefs and allowances available.

‘By seeking financial advice from an appropriately qualified adviser, people can better understand how they can make the most of their savings.’

Karen Barrett, chief executive of unbiased.co.uk says: ‘Our TaxAction research with Prudential shows the huge potential for UK taxpayers to reduce their unnecessary tax. I see no reason for women to fall behind men in this regard, but our latest figures suggest that they may be contributing more than their fair share of the UK’s £4.9bn of tax wastage.

‘Anyone who isn’t sure of their tax saving options and allowances could most probably benefit from consulting an adviser. Whether it’s something as simple as using our ISA allowances, or more complex matters such as inheritance tax planning, there’s probably action we could all be taking to lessen our tax burden.’

For a free and confidential search for a financial adviser or accountant, go to www.unbiased.co.uk.


Notes to editors:

  1. TaxAction Report 2015 has been produced by Opinium Research on behalf of unbiased.co.uk. All figures are based on calculations done on unrounded values to guarantee accuracy; text paragraphs display rounded figures. Survey results come from an Opinium online survey, commissioned by unbiased.co.uk, of 2,003 UK adults aged 18+ carried out between 14th and 17th November 2014.
  2. Adviser research conducted among 160 unbiased.co.uk advisers, December 2014.


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