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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Sport
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
transfers
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Marketing & PR Assistant - NW London

£15 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...

Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer

£250 - £300 per day: Orgtel: Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer Berkshir...

Software Developer - Newcastle - £30,000 - £37,000 + benefits

£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home