Poorest families pay 47.6% of their income in tax as top earners hive off wealth to tax havens

Families on the lowest incomes paid 47.6 per cent of their gross income in tax in 2017-18, new research has revealed.

TaxPayers’ Alliance analysis shows higher taxes have hit the poorest families hardest over the last decade, increasing by 4.4 per cent since 2008-09.

Meanwhile, the richest tenth pay 33.5 per cent of their gross income in tax, up by just 0.6 per cent.

The research has been revealed after an index published today by the Tax Justice Network found that the UK has “single-handedly” done the most to break down the global corporate tax system which loses an estimated $500bn (£395bn) to avoidance.

Eight out of the 10 biggest tax havens are British territories with the UK given the 13th highest score in the world.

Shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said the findings showed the government’s record on tax avoidance was “embarrassing and shameful”, saying:

“The only way the UK stands out internationally on tax is in leading a race to the bottom in creating tax loopholes and dismantling the tax systems of countries in the global south.

“The rot has to stop. While Tory leadership hopefuls promise tax giveaways for the rich, a Labour government will implement the most comprehensive plan ever seen in the UK to tackle tax avoidance and evasion.”

Meanwhile, figures from the TPA show the poorest pay around 14.1 per cent more than the richest, as a proportion of gross income.

Since 2008-9, the increase of the tax burden on the poorest households has been around 7 times the size of the increase on the richest households.

TPA research has previously revealed that the tax burden in Britain hit a near 50-year high, reaching to 34.6 per cent of GDP for 2018-19.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers at all levels are struggling under the strain the highest tax burden for nearly 50 years, but what is also clear is that taxes can hit the poorest families hardest.

“The lowest earners in Britain pay almost half of their income in tax, leaving them with less and less at the end of the month to pay for life’s essentials. Politicians must get real and wage a war on waste, save money on pointless projects like HS2, and start cutting taxes.”

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