What was perhaps more interesting is the relative lack of tax avoidance there seems to have been among high earners, contrary to the government’s rhetoric
The data released last night on how much the super-rich paid in tax in 2010-11 was fascinating. As Robert Peston comments on his blog, getting this information out of the last government was nigh-on impossible, as Labour didn’t want to put wealthy people’s tax affairs in the spotlight. So it is an amazing irony that it is a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition that is choosing to do so instead, as it looks to bolster support for its unpopular decision to cap tax reliefs, which will impact on charitable giving.
The Treasury released the data in an attempt to show us how much rich people avoid tax. George Osborne told the Telegraph that when he saw these figures he was “shocked”. And certainly there are some shocking figures within them, such as that thousands of people in the 50p tax band actually pay less than 20 per cent tax. Twelve people who are mega-rich, earning over £10m, even pay less than 10 per cent.
We can see in here the case for a 20 per cent minimum tax rate, as advocated by Nick Clegg: just under 40,000 people earning over £100,000 paid less than 20 per cent tax.
But what was perhaps more interesting is the relative lack of tax avoidance there seems to have been among high earners, contrary to the government’s rhetoric.
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