Are high-earners paying a greater share of tax than in 2010?

14 July 2015

"I can confirm that the analysis produced today shows that the richest are paying a greater share of tax than they were at the start of the last parliament."—George Osborne, 8 July 2015

The Chancellor seems to be referring to 2017/18 when he says this, and he's talking about high earners rather than people with high wealth. The analysis in question, by the Treasury, projected that by then the highest earning fifth of households will pay a greater share of the government's tax revenue than in 2010/11. It doesn't provide estimates of how much they pay currently.

High earners have been paying a bigger share of their own incomes according to separate figures, which count from 2010/11 to 2013/14.

A bigger share of tax revenues will come from the highest-earning fifth in 2017/18 than in 2010/11

The Treasury estimates that in 2017/18 52% of the money it gets in taxes will have come from the top fifth of households, up from 49% in 2010/11. It says:

"This is due to the increases to the personal allowance and policies that increase taxes on the richest"

The figures include both direct taxes, like income tax, and indirect taxes, like VAT.

It doesn't capture all taxes. And for some taxes the calculation is based not on how much people will pay in the 2017/18 financial year, but how much they would be liable for based on new policies coming in that year. Taxpayers may decide to move some of that taxable income to the previous year in order to avoid the new measures.

They're also paying a bigger share of their own incomes in tax

In 2010/11 households in the top fifth of incomes paid 33.6% of that income in direct and indirect taxes. That rose to 35.5% in 2011/12, before falling to 34.8% in 2013/14, the latest year for which figures are available.

This wasn't the highest share of income to go on tax—the bottom fifth paid 37.8% of their income in taxes in 2013/14, down from 38.2% in 2010/11.

In both cases 'income' here includes money households receive from the state in the form of benefits and tax credits. The calculations don't include all the taxes which were taken into account by the Treasury, for instance missing out the effect of taxes on capital.

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