Grant Thornton has discovered
that the UK’s 54 billionaires are only paying income tax of £14.7m on a
combined fortune of £126bn. The evidence came to light as the firm compiled a
report that probed the scale of tax avoidance among the upper echelons
of Britain’s most affluent people.
The analysis indicated that at least 32 of the individual and family
groups had not paid any personal taxes on their wealth, but were still liable
for VAT and council tax. Grant Thornton reviewed published accounts and other
publicly available data in reaching its findings.
As middle-class residents weathered an increasingly demanding tax climate,
Mike Warburton, Grant Thornton’s senior tax partner, believed that the issue
evened itself out because the low rates of personal tax were offset by their net
contributions to the economy.
‘Some of the world’s wealthiest people are now using London as their base,
Warburton told the
Sunday Times. ‘One
of the reasons is that for many of them the UK is effectively a tax haven. It
means you attract very wealthy people with enterprise and wealth, but of course
some people will see this as very unfair.’
Of the stated £14.7m income tax figure paid by the 54 billionaires, inventor
Dyson paid the bulk of the sum with a contribution of £9m highlighting the
extent of the situation.
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