Lesson plan overview

With this engaging intermediate ESL lesson students will learn a lot of useful expressions to talk about taxes, discuss various aspects of the tax system in their country and watch a video about tax brackets. You can combine this lesson with other money and economy-related lessons, such as “Inflation and young people”, “Can you retire in your 30s? (The FIRE movement)”, and “Phrasal verbs: Money”.

Speaking: The lesson begins with a few conversation questions about taxes, which can be discussed in pairs or with the whole class.

Reading: Students read a comparison between the tax systems in the UK and the US and complete 1 comprehension activity.

Vocabulary: Students complete the phrase given with the correct word (income tax, inheritance tax, council tax, value added tax, taxable income, to file a tax return, etc). All of the phrases appear in the texts. Next, students complete a few sentences with the correct expression, and then discuss 4 conversation questions.

Listening: Students watch a video “How tax brackets actually work” and complete a multiple-choice and a gap-fill activity. After that they have a discussion about the video and what they have learned from it.

Debate: Students are given 3 tax-related debate topics.
Writing and speaking (possibly assigned as a homework task): Students are asked to research the tax system of their country and present their findings to the class. The conversation cards provide an additional opportunity to practise and revise the target vocabulary from this lesson.

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

Generally, taxation is used to encourage economic growth, and increase the government’s budget for public services.
This is partially because many companies move their headquarters to countries with low tax burdens.
Each sees about a 40% tax rate for single, childless citizens.
Ultimately, the rates of taxation are dependent on national priorities.

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

Additional resources

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