Exclusive:

Revealed: Britain's biggest taxpayers

Super-rich list of top earners who buck trend and choose to pay their share

They are Britain's billionaires and multi-millionaires who stay and pay their way, the super-wealthy that Her Majesty's tax officials have no need to hunt down.

At a time when politics is dominated by debate on the billions of pounds that recession-hit Britain loses in revenue to shady, offshore tax havens and tax avoidance schemes, research by The Independent reveals that many of our highest-earning taxpayers choose not to hide their income from HMRC and haven't packed their bags for Monaco or the Bahamas.

The study reveals that a surprising mix of investment gurus, financial wizards, and property and insurance bosses are some of the wealthiest "customers" of HMRC's "Affluence Unit", which, it was announced this weekend, will be expanded to scrutinise those with assets worth more than £1m.

The star taxpayers' list is based on visible earnings at Companies House, in the annual reports and accounts of publicly quoted and privately held companies. There is no evidence to suggest these individuals, who live and work in Britain, have done anything to reduce their huge tax bills.

The Independent's tax list is headed by David Harding, the Cambridge-educated physicist who founded Winton Capital, the world's largest hedge fund, whose recent dividend payment of almost £53m added to his salary of £12m. Mark Coombs is worth £1.5bn and, as head of the Ashmore investment house, is an expert in emerging markets.

Like all the others on the list, these are financial experts capable of reducing what they hand over to HMRC. But there is nothing to suggest they opt to do so – their income payments are made to them direct in the UK, and not routed via some complicated overseas tax structure. Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the research showed that the majority of people in the UK "paid their fair share". He added: "This proves you can play by the rules and be successful in business without resorting to tax dodging or moving your money overseas."

Matthew Sinclair, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "It is important to expose tax evaders, but it is also important to recognise those who buck the trend and pay their fair share of tax. It gives the lie to the notion that all of Britain's wealthy are scared off by robust tax laws and are engaged in a hide-and-seek battle with HMRC. This is a timely reminder that for all the stories about the bad apples, most people, rich and poor, pay plenty of tax."

It is an inconvenient truth for those who believe high taxes will scare away the super-rich, that many of Britain's billionaires and multi-millionaires are prepared to pay what it costs to live and work in Britain.

That means little to the average UK household, which brings in £33,000 a year. But for the Treasury's coffers, it's crucial. According to recent figures, the UK is home to 26,000 individuals earning between £500,000 and £1m a year, and 13,000 people with taxable earnings of over £1m.

The list excludes high-profile individuals whose companies may be based in the UK, but who are known to be tax exiles.

Neither do Britain's super-wealthy football stars feature, many of whom are reputed to make £1m a month in wages and side deals, as we cannot verify their actual earnings. Likewise, the author JK Rowling, also does not feature because we cannot assess her earnings from recent publicly available financial records.

We also accept there will be other highly private individuals whose taxes cannot be verified, but whose contributions form part of the top one per cent paying the highest tax rates that account for 28 per cent of all that HMRC takes in income tax.

Others on the list include Michael Spencer, the founder and chief executive of ICAP, the City broker that specialises in deals for financial institutions. His recent combined salary and dividend total of £30m puts him at No 6 in our ranking.

Mr Spencer, like Mr Harding an Oxbridge-trained physicist, is a former Conservative Party treasurer. He believes getting it wrong on taxation would end London's position as the "golden goose" in the UK economy.

What do the super-rich taxpayers actually think? They already pay a lot, but would they pay more? Getting their views on the record is no easy matter. For those who did voice opinions, the message was clear. One quoted the words of Winston Churchill, saying: "Trying to tax us back into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up with the handle."

Owen Oyston, the Blackpool-based property tycoon who narrowly missed out on inclusion in the list, branded any further wealth taxes, "unfair and unjust".

Listed: Click here for to find out who are Britain's biggest taxpayers

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project