In his Budget statement on 8 March, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond used the word ‘fair’ no fewer than 19 times. But having emphasised that a fair system tax ensures that those with the broadest shoulders bear the heaviest burden, not once did he say what he thought a fair share of income tax to be paid by the highest earners would be. The closest he came was to note with approval that, as a result of changes made since 2010, the top 1 per cent of income tax payers now pay 27 per cent of all income tax.
In his piece in last week's tax brief, my colleague Andrew Hubbard noted that fairness in tax is an elusive concept. In language which has proved to be remarkably prescient, Andrew observed that ‘by being fair to everybody any Chancellor risks alienating those who don't feel they have got a fair outcome’.
This got me thinking. If the Chancellor won't set out what he thinks is a fair share of income tax to be paid by the highest earners, what do other people think? Many of those who had tweeted cogently about tax fairness after the Budget fell strangely silent when I asked them. My MP would not be drawn on the point. But I really would like to know what people think. So I'm asking you now.
Could you please take a moment to get in touch and tell me what proportion of all income tax you think the top one per cent of income tax payers should pay:
- 20 per cent or less,
- 21-25 per cent,
- 26-30 per cent,
- 31-35 per cent,
- 36 per cent or more.
If you have any opinions about the what the Class 4 NIC rates should be, or want to add any other comments, that would be brilliant. I promise that answers will be kept anonymous, but I will prepare aggregate data from all the replies I receive and share them in Tax Brief next week.