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Great Danes: Two Nordic biotechs name their chief executives; Axel Hoos bids adieu to GlaxoSmithKline, becomes CEO of small oncology player

Benny Sorensen
Don’t let the short week deceive you. Peer Review has a lot to get to:
→ When our Nicole DeFeudis profiled new Codiak CMO Jennifer Wheler, she also wrote that Benny Sorensen would be taking on the role of SVP of strategic projects after…



Benny Sorensen

Don’t let the short week deceive you. Peer Review has a lot to get to:

→ When our Nicole DeFeudis profiled new Codiak CMO Jennifer Wheler, she also wrote that Benny Sorensen would be taking on the role of SVP of strategic projects after heading up clinical development. That didn’t last long.

We’ve learned that Sorensen has resigned to lead Danish biotech Hemab Therapeutics as CEO. Backed by Novo Holdings, Hemab is a three-year-old company that develops bispecific antibodies for rare bleeding disorders that had been helmed by co-founder Johan Faber. Sorensen, an Alnylam vet, will still be connected to Codiak as a member of the scientific advisory board and a clinical consultant.

→ We’re staying in Denmark as Michael Pehl has been named CEO at Adcendo, focused on ADCs and equipped with the largest Series A round for a biotech in the land of Borgen. As CEO of German CAR-T player GEMoaB, Pehl helped join forces with Blackstone and CRISPR bigwig Intellia to launch a new CAR-T biotech in late June. Blackstone plunked down $250 million on the investment. Pehl, the ex-president and CEO of Immunomedics, was president of oncology (among other positions) during his tenure with Celgene from 2006-17.

Axel Hoos

GlaxoSmithKline is losing its oncology head as Axel Hoos hits the exit to man the ship at stealthy biotech Scorpion Therapeutics as CEO. During his nine-year gig with the UK pharma giant, Hoos oversaw a long-awaited turnaround at GSK oncology after the company opted to offload its entire late oncology pipeline to Swiss drugmaker Novartis in March 2015. Most recently, Hoos served as GSK’s SVP, R&D governance chair and therapeutic area head oncology.

Christopher Giordano

→ We have a succession plan in place at Tenax Therapeutics in the Research Triangle, as Christopher Giordano grabs the top spot and Anthony DiTonno retires as CEO. Giordano officially takes over at Tenax on July 14 after more than a dozen years with IQVIA, three of those as president of IQVIA Biotech. DiTonno had led the company since June 1, 2018 and had been on the board of directors since 2011. Tenax has hit its share of turbulence in the past — after lead candidate levosimendan tumbled badly in Phase III in early 2017, giving its stock a thrashing, then-CEO John Kelley resigned a couple months later. Concurrent with the Giordano news, Tenax is unloading $10 million in stocks to an investor not identified in the release.

→ Hoping to get back in the good graces of investors in the Duchenne sweepstakes, Ilan Ganot has lined up three new execs at Solid Biosciences a month after adding chief regulatory officer Iman Barilero to the staff. Up first, Roxana Donisa Dreghici leaves Roche to take on the role of SVP, clinical development for Solid Bio. Donisa Greghici was the Swiss pharma’s global development lead/associate group medical director, neuroscience.

Also at Solid Bio, American Express vet Caitlin Lowie (VP, communications & IR) hits the scene after her time at Stallargenes Greer as senior director, communications and strategic growth initiatives. And Alison Kessler (VP, legal corporate & IP), formerly global head of patents for Novartis’ over-the-counter business, was briefly chief legal officer with Cosette Pharmaceuticals.

Lou Arcudi

Lou Arcudi took over for Millendo co-founder Julia Owens as CEO after a Phase I implosion of NK3R antagonist MLE-301 left an empty cupboard and the option of a sale on the table. A merger with Tempest Therapeutics has since closed, and Arcudi is moving on to Amolyt Pharma — a maker of peptides for endocrine and metabolic diseases — as CFO. Arcudi, a Genzyme finance alum, was CFO and SVP of operations during his 11 years at Idera Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Idera, he served as Peptimmune’s VP of finance and administration.

That’s not all: Amolyt has added Janssen alum and Ixaltis chief development officer Elisabeth Svanberg to the board of directors along with longtime Amgen exec James Hindman.

→ CRISPR upstart Locanabio, helmed by Jim Burns and awash with cash from a $100 million Series B, has recruited John Leonard as CSO and Edward Conner as CMO. Leonard (not to be confused with the Intellia CEO) makes the switch from CRISPR Therapeutics, where he led hematology and in vivo research and translation, and he also was head of metabolic and neuromuscular research in Sanofi Genzyme’s rare disease unit. Meanwhile, Conner exits Audentes (now Astellas Gene Therapies) after his tenure as CMO and has held that same title before with Sangamo. He was previously VP of global clinical development at Ultragenyx before his run of C-suite appointments.

Sarah Lu

BioShin, the Biohaven subsidiary in Shanghai that hit pay dirt back in September with a $60 million round led by OrbiMed, has bolstered its leadership with CMO Sarah Lu and chief commercial officer Mary Ma. Lu is a 13-year UCB vet and former clinical development exec at Simcere who was recently SVP, president of global development for Shanghai Green Valley. Ma tackles the CCO role after a string of Big Pharma stops in China including Eli Lilly, AbbVie and — just before this move to BioShin — Merck, where she was a VP and led the hospital specialty care business unit.

Caren Deardorf

→ Several weeks after losing CMO and head of R&D John Davis for “family reasons,” Magenta Therapeutics is reloading in another position as Caren Deardorf takes the chief commercial officer job. Deardorf, who was previously CCO at Ohana Biosciences, closed out her eight years at Biogen in 2019 as VP, global product development & commercialization lead for Spinraza and the SMA portfolio.

In a related development, ex-Magenta chief operating and financial officer Jason Ryan is now on the board of directors at Sema4, which merged with the Casdin Capital SPAC named CM Life Sciences in February.

→ Partnering with Coherus on the anti-PD-1 toripalimab, Junshi Biosciences has selected Wei Qian as chief commercial officer. Qian spent the last five years as a VP at Roche China and the previous 10 playing a bevy of positions at AstraZeneca in China, including VP of the GAA business unit (gastrointestinal system, anesthesia and anti-infection). Junshi and Coherus unveiled data at last month’s ASCO for nasopharyngeal cancer that nudges toripalimab into the conversation in a crowded PD-1/L-1 space.

Nikhil Goel

Sean McClain’s Absci filed for an IPO last week, shooting for the $100 million figure that’s become a popular placeholder. A slight stylistic change to the company name isn’t the only other move Absci has made, with Nikhil Goel stepping in as CBO and Sarah Korman as general counsel. Goel jumps over to the protein printing biotech based in Washington state after five years at Credit Suisse and was a director in the M&A business. After a stint as head of intellectual property for final drug products at Amgen, Korman then became Neuvogen’s general counsel and corporate secretary in 2019.

Outlook Therapeutics has nabbed Russell Trenary as the company’s president and CEO, succeeding Lawrence Kenyon who will continue to serve as CFO. Trenary joins the company from InnFocus, where he served as president and CEO in a seven-year stint before its acquisition by Santen Pharmaceutical. Before that, Trenary was president and CEO of global medical device company G&H Orthodontics and served in a variety of roles at Sunrise Technologies, VidaMed and Allergan.

Sabine Daugelat

→ With the radiopharmaceuticals field sizzling, Germany-based ITM is bringing in Sabine Daugelat as COO after nabbing $109 million in loan financing back in April. Daugelat, once the senior global program team director at Sandoz, ends her two-year association with Pieris Pharmaceuticals as executive director, head of project leadership. RayzeBio and Aktis are among the other players who have joined the radiopharma bandwagon just in the past year.

Rob Brainin

→ As Marc Stapley takes up the CEO mantle from Bonnie Anderson, Veracyte has locked in two other execs with EVP and CBO Rob Brainin and SVP and chief information officer Bill Zondler. Brainin, the erstwhile CEO of Genuity Science, was once VP and general manager of Illumina’s life sciences and applied genomics business. Fleetingly the consulting CIO at Axovant, Zondler comes to Veracyte from another CIO post at Biotheranostics.

David Hewitt has signed on as CMO of Bay Area non-opioid pain management biotech Allay Therapeutics, which made its debut in May with sterling Phase I pain relief data that showed they “were on to something that precipitated the coming-out party,” as CEO Adam Gridley told Endpoints News. Hewitt, the ex-Syneos Health CMO who broke into biopharma at J&J and then migrated to the neurology group at Merck, is the former SVP of clinical development for both Nura Bio and Karuna Therapeutics.

Adam Cutler

Q32 Bio — the Cambridge, MA biotech where CMO Jason Campagna landed after his time at Intercept — has locked in Adam Cutler as CFO. Cutler makes the switch after almost four years in the same post at Austin-based Molecular Templates, which struck an I/O deal in February with Bristol Myers Squibb worth $70 million upfront. Before jumping to that CFO spot, he was SVP of corporate affairs at Arbutus. Making the most progress thus far at Q32 Bio is an anti-IL-7Ra antibody in Phase I dubbed ADX-914.

Biophytis isn’t one of the flashier companies to go public in 2021; nevertheless, the French biotech did price its IPO at $16.75 million after withdrawing its first try, and its lead drug for sarcopenia is also in Phase II/III for Covid-19 patients with pneumonia. This week Biophytis has fleshed out its C-suite with Jean Mariani as CMO and Benoit Canolle as CBO. Mariani, the director of L’Institut de la Longévité, is also professor emeritus at Sorbonne University. When his 11-year run at Sanofi drew to a close in 2015, Canolle was project manager for the immuno-inflammation development franchise. For the last year, he’s been Pierre Fabre’s head of corporate medical portfolio & project direction.

Just one more thing, as Columbo liked to say: Claude Allary is in line to replace Jean Franchi on Biophytis’ board of directors.

Tina Beamon

→ San Diego cancer biotech MEI Pharmacollaborating with Kyowa Kirin on PI3Kδ inhibitor zandelisibhas appointed Tina Beamon chief compliance officer. Beamon, who just filled the same role at Karyopharm, has also been Alexion’s executive director of compliance and ethics. Before Alexion, she brought her legal experience to Boehringer Ingelheim as the German pharma’s senior counsel in the US oncology business unit.

→ Copenhagen-based IO Biotech has enlisted Keith Vendola as CFO. Vendola brings to the table experience from his times at Rezolute, Coherus, Eiger BioPharmaceuticals and Threshold Pharmaceuticals (now Molecular Templates).

Jisoo Park

Melinta Therapeutics makes Peer Review for the second week in a row as the antibiotics maker brings in Jisoo Park as head of business development, M&A and strategy. A veteran of JP Morgan’s global healthcare team, Park was previously VP of business development and M&A at Covis Pharma. This marks the second hire in as many weeks for Melinta as the company removed the interim tag from CFO Susan Blum.

Elevar Therapeutics is adding some fresh faces to its leadership team with the appointments of Maureen Conlan as CMO, Julie Boisvert as VP, regulatory affairs and Dominick DiPaolo as VP, quality assurance. Conlan comes to the Salt Lake City-based company from Radius Health; Boisvert hops aboard from BeiGene USA, where she served as senior director in regulatory affairs; while DiPaolo joins from quality and compliance consultancy firm Quality by Design.

Preethi Sundaram

→ Having battled it out in court over the approval of rival Jacobus’ LEMS drug — a battle that was ultimately lostCatalyst Pharmaceuticals has tapped Preethi Sundaram as chief product development officer. Sundaram comes to Catalyst after an assortment of R&D and medical affairs roles in 16 years at Sanofi, ranging from global project head in multiple therapeutic areas to her latest responsibilities as global head of medical operations, general medicines business unit.

→ Austin, TX-based Aeglea BioTherapeutics has named Jonathan Alspaugh as CFO. Alspaugh makes the jump from Evercore, where he most recently served as a managing director in the firm’s corporate advisory business. Prior to that, Alspaugh was with Barclays Capital.

Robert Millham

CATO SMS, a global provider of clinical research solutions, has bagged Robert Millham as president of clinical trial operations. Millham had a 17-year stint at Pfizer, where he led and contributed to the development of compounds against multiple indications of cancer, including lung, breast, colorectal and ovarian. He was also the COO of Odonate Therapeutics, SVP at Syneos Health and VP of strategic alliances for Caris Life Sciences.

→ Peer Review regular jCyte’s leadership keeps on growing with chief development officer and longtime GlaxoSmithKline exec Adrian Morris. From 1997-2012, Morris served in a number of capacities at the pharma giant ranging from VP, global commercial strategy in the respiratory pipeline to VP, diagnostics business unit and Pandemic Centre of Excellence. Since he left GSK, Morris had been managing director at Pharmaco Consulting. For those scoring at home, jCyte has added a CFO, chief commercial officer, general counsel and other execs in clinical development and medical affairs along with Morris since Shannon Blalock was promoted to CEO in February.

Mark Altmeyer

Mark Altmeyer has been named chairman of Dutch-based AM-Pharma’s supervisory board. The Bristol Myers, Otsuka and Axovant vet was president and CEO of Arvelle before Angelini purchased it to ring in 2021 with a nearly $1 billion price tag.

Morningside Group co-founder Gerald Chan has added another chairmanship, this time at Cognito Therapeutics, which showed positive Phase II data with its lead digital product for Alzheimer’s. Chan is also chairman at Apellis and Stealth Biotherapeutics.

Linda Bain

→ Codiak CFO Linda Bain is hopping onto the board of directors at VBI Vaccines. Prior to her role at Codiak, Bain was CFO at Adverum Biotechnologies; VP, finance, business operations, and treasurer at bluebird bio; and held roles at Genzyme. In addition to her new seat, Bain sits on the boards of Autolus Therapeutics and Arvinas.

OncoResponse has recruited CytomX president, CEO and chairman Sean McCarthy as an independent director of its board. McCarthy joined CytomX in 2010 as CBO and has served as CEO since 2011. Prior to that role, McCarthy was with Pappas Ventures, SGX Pharmaceuticals and Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

Jan Hillson

→ Autoimmune and neurodegenerative disease biotech Eledon Pharmaceuticals has elected Jan Hillson to the board of directors. Hillson, the SVP of clinical development at Alpine Immune Sciences, was once SVP of drug development for ChemoCentryx.

Chaired by Brent Saunders and with new CMO David Tanzer joining the fray, the folks at eye disease biotech OcuTerra have enlisted Richard Lindstrom and Sheri Rowen for their scientific advisory board. The founder of Minnesota Eye Consultants, Lindstrom is an adjunct professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota’s ophthalmology department. Rowen, a LASIK surgeon in Newport Beach, CA, founded Mercy Medical Center’s ophthalmology department in Baltimore 25 years ago.

Chimeric Therapeutics has plucked up George Matcham as a non-executive director of its board. Matcham is a Celgene vet and was part of the company from its early days in 1988 to his retirement in 2018 — serving as COO of Celgene Cellular Therapeutics and SVP of CAR-T CMC development. Matcham previously sat on the board of Instil Bio as an advisor.

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Buried Project Veritas Recording Shows Top Pfizer Scientists Suppressed Concerns Over COVID-19 Boosters, MRNA Tech

Buried Project Veritas Recording Shows Top Pfizer Scientists Suppressed Concerns Over COVID-19 Boosters, MRNA Tech

Submitted by Liam Cosgrove




Buried Project Veritas Recording Shows Top Pfizer Scientists Suppressed Concerns Over COVID-19 Boosters, MRNA Tech

Submitted by Liam Cosgrove

Former Project Veritas & O’Keefe Media Group operative and Pfizer formulation analyst scientist Justin Leslie revealed previously unpublished recordings showing Pfizer’s top vaccine researchers discussing major concerns surrounding COVID-19 vaccines. Leslie delivered these recordings to Veritas in late 2021, but they were never published:

Featured in Leslie’s footage is Kanwal Gill, a principal scientist at Pfizer. Gill was weary of MRNA technology given its long research history yet lack of approved commercial products. She called the vaccines “sneaky,” suggesting latent side effects could emerge in time.

Gill goes on to illustrate how the vaccine formulation process was dramatically rushed under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization and adds that profit incentives likely played a role:

"It’s going to affect my heart, and I’m going to die. And nobody’s talking about that."

Leslie recorded another colleague, Pfizer’s pharmaceutical formulation scientist Ramin Darvari, who raised the since-validated concern that repeat booster intake could damage the cardiovascular system:

None of these claims will be shocking to hear in 2024, but it is telling that high-level Pfizer researchers were discussing these topics in private while the company assured the public of “no serious safety concerns” upon the jab’s release:

Vaccine for Children is a Different Formulation

Leslie sent me a little-known FDA-Pfizer conference — a 7-hour Zoom meeting published in tandem with the approval of the vaccine for 5 – 11 year-olds — during which Pfizer’s vice presidents of vaccine research and development, Nicholas Warne and William Gruber, discussed a last-minute change to the vaccine’s “buffer” — from “PBS” to “Tris” — to improve its shelf life. For about 30 seconds of these 7 hours, Gruber acknowledged that the new formula was NOT the one used in clinical trials (emphasis mine):

“The studies were done using the same volume… but contained the PBS buffer. We obviously had extensive consultations with the FDA and it was determined that the clinical studies were not required because, again, the LNP and the MRNA are the same and the behavior — in terms of reactogenicity and efficacy — are expected to be the same.

According to Leslie, the tweaked “buffer” dramatically changed the temperature needed for storage: “Before they changed this last step of the formulation, the formula was to be kept at -80 degrees Celsius. After they changed the last step, we kept them at 2 to 8 degrees celsius,” Leslie told me.

The claims are backed up in the referenced video presentation:

I’m no vaccinologist but an 80-degree temperature delta — and a 5x shelf-life in a warmer climate — seems like a significant change that might warrant clinical trials before commercial release.

Despite this information technically being public, there has been virtually no media scrutiny or even coverage — and in fact, most were told the vaccine for children was the same formula but just a smaller dose — which is perhaps due to a combination of the information being buried within a 7-hour jargon-filled presentation and our media being totally dysfunctional.

Bohemian Grove?

Leslie’s 2-hour long documentary on his experience at both Pfizer and O’Keefe’s companies concludes on an interesting note: James O’Keefe attended an outing at the Bohemian Grove.

Leslie offers this photo of James’ Bohemian Grove “GATE” slip as evidence, left on his work desk atop a copy of his book, “American Muckraker”:

My thoughts on the Bohemian Grove: my good friend’s dad was its general manager for several decades. From what I have gathered through that connection, the Bohemian Grove is not some version of the Illuminati, at least not in the institutional sense.

Do powerful elites hangout there? Absolutely. Do they discuss their plans for the world while hanging out there? I’m sure it has happened. Do they have a weird ritual with a giant owl? Yep, Alex Jones showed that to the world.

My perspective is based on conversations with my friend and my belief that his father is not lying to him. I could be wrong and am open to evidence — like if boxer Ryan Garcia decides to produce evidence regarding his rape claims — and I do find it a bit strange the club would invite O’Keefe who is notorious for covertly filming, but Occam’s razor would lead me to believe the club is — as it was under my friend’s dad — run by boomer conservatives the extent of whose politics include disliking wokeness, immigration, and Biden (common subjects of O’Keefe’s work).

Therefore, I don’t find O’Keefe’s visit to the club indicative that he is some sort of Operation Mockingbird asset as Leslie tries to depict (however Mockingbird is a 100% legitimate conspiracy). I have also met James several times and even came close to joining OMG. While I disagreed with James on the significance of many of his stories — finding some to be overhyped and showy — I never doubted his conviction in them.

As for why Leslie’s story was squashed… all my sources told me it was to avoid jail time for Veritas executives.

Feel free to watch Leslie’s full documentary here and decide for yourself.

Fun fact — Justin Leslie was also the operative behind this mega-viral Project Veritas story where Pfizer’s director of R&D claimed the company was privately mutating COVID-19 behind closed doors:

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/12/2024 - 13:40

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Association of prenatal vitamins and metals with epigenetic aging at birth and in childhood

“[…] our findings support the hypothesis that the intrauterine environment, particularly essential and non-essential metals, affect epigenetic aging…



“[…] our findings support the hypothesis that the intrauterine environment, particularly essential and non-essential metals, affect epigenetic aging biomarkers across the life course.”

Credit: 2024 Bozack et al.

“[…] our findings support the hypothesis that the intrauterine environment, particularly essential and non-essential metals, affect epigenetic aging biomarkers across the life course.”

BUFFALO, NY- March 12, 2024 – A new research paper was published in Aging (listed by MEDLINE/PubMed as “Aging (Albany NY)” and “Aging-US” by Web of Science) Volume 16, Issue 4, entitled, “Associations of prenatal one-carbon metabolism nutrients and metals with epigenetic aging biomarkers at birth and in childhood in a US cohort.”

Epigenetic gestational age acceleration (EGAA) at birth and epigenetic age acceleration (EAA) in childhood may be biomarkers of the intrauterine environment. In this new study, researchers Anne K. Bozack, Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman, Andrea A. Baccarelli, Robert O. Wright, Diane R. Gold, Emily Oken, Marie-France Hivert, and Andres Cardenas from Stanford University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Columbia University, and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai investigated the extent to which first-trimester folate, B12, 5 essential and 7 non-essential metals in maternal circulation are associated with EGAA and EAA in early life. 

“[…] we hypothesized that OCM [one-carbon metabolism] nutrients and essential metals would be positively associated with EGAA and non-essential metals would be negatively associated with EGAA. We also investigated nonlinear associations and associations with mixtures of micronutrients and metals.”

Bohlin EGAA and Horvath pan-tissue and skin and blood EAA were calculated using DNA methylation measured in cord blood (N=351) and mid-childhood blood (N=326; median age = 7.7 years) in the Project Viva pre-birth cohort. A one standard deviation increase in individual essential metals (copper, manganese, and zinc) was associated with 0.94-1.2 weeks lower Horvath EAA at birth, and patterns of exposures identified by exploratory factor analysis suggested that a common source of essential metals was associated with Horvath EAA. The researchers also observed evidence of nonlinear associations of zinc with Bohlin EGAA, magnesium and lead with Horvath EAA, and cesium with skin and blood EAA at birth. Overall, associations at birth did not persist in mid-childhood; however, arsenic was associated with greater EAA at birth and in childhood. 

“Prenatal metals, including essential metals and arsenic, are associated with epigenetic aging in early life, which might be associated with future health.”


Read the full paper: DOI: 

Corresponding Author: Andres Cardenas

Corresponding Email: 

Keywords: epigenetic age acceleration, metals, folate, B12, prenatal exposures

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About Aging:

Launched in 2009, Aging publishes papers of general interest and biological significance in all fields of aging research and age-related diseases, including cancer—and now, with a special focus on COVID-19 vulnerability as an age-dependent syndrome. Topics in Aging go beyond traditional gerontology, including, but not limited to, cellular and molecular biology, human age-related diseases, pathology in model organisms, signal transduction pathways (e.g., p53, sirtuins, and PI-3K/AKT/mTOR, among others), and approaches to modulating these signaling pathways.

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A beginner’s guide to the taxes you’ll hear about this election season

Everything you need to know about income tax, national insurance and more.

Cast Of Thousands/Shutterstock

National insurance, income tax, VAT, capital gains tax, inheritance tax… it’s easy to get confused about the many different ways we contribute to the cost of running the country. The budget announcement is the key time each year when the government shares its financial plans with us all, and announces changes that may make a tangible difference to what you pay.

But you’ll likely be hearing a lot more about taxes in the coming months – promises to cut or raise them are an easy win (or lose) for politicians in an election year. We may even get at least one “mini-budget”.

If you’ve recently entered the workforce or the housing market, you may still be wrapping your mind around all of these terms. Here is what you need to know about the different types of taxes and how they affect you.

The UK broadly uses three ways to collect tax:

1. When you earn money

If you are an employee or own a business, taxes are deducted from your salary or profits you make. For most people, this happens in two ways: income tax, and national insurance contributions (or NICs).

If you are self-employed, you will have to pay your taxes via an annual tax return assessment. You might also have to pay taxes this way for interest you earn on savings, dividends (distribution of profits from a company or shares you own) received and most other forms of income not taxed before you get it.

Around two-thirds of taxes collected come from people’s or business’ incomes in the UK.

2. When you spend money

VAT and excise duties are taxes on most goods and services you buy, with some exceptions like books and children’s clothing. About 20% of the total tax collected is VAT.

3. Taxes on wealth and assets

These are mainly taxes on the money you earn if you sell assets (like property or stocks) for more than you bought them for, or when you pass on assets in an inheritance. In the latter case in the UK, the recipient doesn’t pay this, it is the estate paying it out that must cover this if due. These taxes contribute only about 3% to the total tax collected.

You also likely have to pay council tax, which is set by the council you live in based on the value of your house or flat. It is paid by the user of the property, no matter if you own or rent. If you are a full-time student or on some apprenticeship schemes, you may get a deduction or not have to pay council tax at all.

Quarter life, a series by The Conversation

This article is part of Quarter Life, a series about issues affecting those of us in our 20s and 30s. From the challenges of beginning a career and taking care of our mental health, to the excitement of starting a family, adopting a pet or just making friends as an adult. The articles in this series explore the questions and bring answers as we navigate this turbulent period of life.

You may be interested in:

If you get your financial advice on social media, watch out for misinformation

Future graduates will pay more in student loan repayments – and the poorest will be worst affected

Selling on Vinted, Etsy or eBay? Here’s what you need to know about paying tax

Put together, these totalled almost £790 billion in 2022-23, which the government spends on public services such as the NHS, schools and social care. The government collects taxes from all sources and sets its spending plans accordingly, borrowing to make up any difference between the two.

Income tax

The amount of income tax you pay is determined by where your income sits in a series of “bands” set by the government. Almost everyone is entitled to a “personal allowance”, currently £12,570, which you can earn without needing to pay any income tax.

You then pay 20% in tax on each pound of income you earn (across all sources) from £12,570-£50,270. You pay 40% on each extra pound up to £125,140 and 45% over this. If you earn more than £100,000, the personal allowance (amount of untaxed income) starts to decrease.

If you are self-employed, the same rates apply to you. You just don’t have an employer to take this off your salary each month. Instead, you have to make sure you have enough money at the end of the year to pay this directly to the government.

Read more: Taxes aren't just about money – they shape how we think about each other

The government can increase the threshold limits to adjust for inflation. This tries to ensure any wage rise you get in response to higher prices doesn’t lead to you having to pay a higher tax rate. However, the government announced in 2021 that they would freeze these thresholds until 2026 (extended now to 2028), arguing that it would help repay the costs of the pandemic.

Given wages are now rising for many to help with the cost of living crisis, this means many people will pay more income tax this coming year than they did before. This is sometimes referred to as “fiscal drag” – where lower earners are “dragged” into paying higher tax rates, or being taxed on more of their income.

National insurance

National insurance contributions (NICs) are a second “tax” you pay on your income – or to be precise, on your earned income (your salary). You don’t pay this on some forms of income, including savings or dividends, and you also don’t pay it once you reach state retirement age (currently 66).

While Jeremy Hunt, the current chancellor of the exchequer, didn’t adjust income tax meaningfully in this year’s budget, he did announce a cut to NICs. This was a surprise to many, as we had already seen rates fall from 12% to 10% on incomes higher than £242/week in January. It will now fall again to 8% from April.

Read more: Budget 2024: experts explain what it means for taxpayers, businesses, borrowers and the NHS

While this is charged separately to income tax, in reality it all just goes into one pot with other taxes. Some, including the chancellor, say it is time to merge these two deductions and make this simpler for everyone. In his budget speech this year, Hunt said he’d like to see this tax go entirely. He thinks this isn’t fair on those who have to pay it, as it is only charged on some forms of income and on some workers.

I wouldn’t hold my breath for this to happen however, and even if it did, there are huge sums linked to NICs (nearly £180bn last year) so it would almost certainly have to be collected from elsewhere (such as via an increase in income taxes, or a lot more borrowing) to make sure the government could still balance its books.

A young black man sits at a home office desk with his feet up, looking at a mobile phone
Do you know how much tax you pay? Alex from the Rock/Shutterstock

Other taxes

There are likely to be further tweaks to the UK’s tax system soon, perhaps by the current government before the election – and almost certainly if there is a change of government.

Wealth taxes may be in line for a change. In the budget, the chancellor reduced capital gains taxes on sales of assets such as second properties (from 28% to 24%). These types of taxes provide only a limited amount of money to the government, as quite high thresholds apply for inheritance tax (up to £1 million if you are passing on a family home).

There are calls from many quarters though to look again at these types of taxes. Wealth inequality (the differences between total wealth held by the richest compared to the poorest) in the UK is very high (much higher than income inequality) and rising.

But how to do this effectively is a matter of much debate. A recent study suggested a one-off tax on total wealth held over a certain threshold might work. But wealth taxes are challenging to make work in practice, and both main political parties have already said this isn’t an option they are considering currently.

Andy Lymer and his colleagues at the Centre for Personal Financial Wellbeing at Aston University currently or have recently received funding for their research work from a variety of funding bodies including the UK's Money and Pension Service, the Aviva Foundation, Fair4All Finance, NEST Insight, the Gambling Commission, Vivid Housing and the ESRC, amongst others.

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