At the beginning of March 2018, HMRC published figures on personal taxation and income throughout the UK for the 2015/16 tax year. The full report offers some interesting insights into the nation’s finances.
According to the report by HMRC, the UK population collectively earned more income in 2015/16 than ever before. Total UK income broke the £1 trillion mark for the first time, reaching £1.040 trillion. The total income tax paid on this staggering amount was £178 billion, which is £11 billion more than the £167 billion paid in 2014/15. Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, income tax made up the greatest proportion of the government’s total revenue during that year. The total amount collected was enough to pay for the government’s combined investment in education, defence, policing, transport and welfare benefits, not including pensions.
Considering the hefty total income tax bill, you might be surprised to learn that 53% of the UK population (34.6 billion people) paid no income tax at all in 2015/16. Of the remaining 31 million tax payers, 25.3 million paid the basic rate of tax, 4.5 million taxpayers were liable at the higher rate and 800,000 were taxed at the “savers” rate. Only 400,000, less than 1% of all taxpayers, were taxed at the additional rate. Even though they made up just 7% of the total UK population, higher and additional rate taxpayers brought in £120.5 billion of the £178 billion collected – just over two thirds (67%) of the total income tax paid in 2015/16. The 400,000 people earning enough to be taxed at the additional rate paid 30% of the total UK tax bill.
“Income tax is critical to public spending. It represents £1 in every £4 that the government raises in tax,” said Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings & Retirement at Aviva plc. “The latest figures show that our total income rose by 6% over the latest year. At the same time, our total tax bill also rose by 6%.”