The latest tax figures from HMRC show a substantial increase in the tax take between April and September 2023.

Total tax receipts hit £392.5 billion during the first half of 2023/24 - an increase of £23.1bn compared to the same period a year earlier.

Receipts from income tax, capital gains tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) rose by £11.5bn during this period, raising a combined total of £216.8bn.

Business taxes saw a significant increase of 22%, raising an impressive £43.3bn for the Treasury overall.

Meanwhile, inheritance tax rose by £3.9bn in the six months to September - a £400 million increase compared to the same period last year.

However, not all areas experienced growth in receipts. Stamp taxes, tobacco and fuel duties saw declines in revenue, with stamp taxes and tobacco dropping by £3bn and £1.1bn respectively, and fuel duties decreasing by £0.3bn.

So why are tax receipts so high?

Freezing personal tax thresholds

This increase in tax revenue can be partially attributed to a number of tax threshold freezes, which Chancellor Jeremy Hunt extended for a further two years as part of his Autumn Statement last year.

For example, with all income tax thresholds frozen until 2028, more taxpayers are falling into a higher tax bracket as their wages rise with inflation. This process is also known as ‘fiscal drag'.

With data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that wages are now rising faster than inflation, this measure is set to affect more taxpayers in the near future.

Indeed, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), personal taxes could raise around £29.3bn for the Treasury in 2027/28 as a result of this measure.

The threshold for inheritance tax is also frozen until 2028, pushing more estates into the scope of inheritance tax as house prices continue to rise.

Corporation tax hike

The recent corporation tax hike also contributed to higher business tax receipts in the first half of 2023/24.

The main rate of corporation tax rose from 19% to 25% in April, which means companies with profits over £250,000 must pay significantly more tax.

Companies making between £50,000 and £250,000 now pay the main rate reduced by marginal relief, while smaller firms continue to pay corporation tax at the 19% rate.

According to HMRC, this year's rise in business taxes can also be attributed to an uptick in company profits.

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