As published on metro.news, Sunday 6 September, 2020.
THE Queen may volunteer to pay tax — but it appears her neighbours don’t have the same attitude to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
The home counties have the biggest concentration of people admitting tax avoidance, with Windsor top of the list, a study reveals.
In the Berkshire town, dominated by the castle, there were 23 disclosures to HMRC of unpaid tax per 100,000 people last year. That compares with the UK average of seven, accountants UHY Hacker Young found. Next worst was St Albans, Hertfordshire, with 20 disclosures, followed by Guildford, Surrey, and Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent.
Completing the top ten tax avoidance hotspots were Oxford, Cambridge, Reading, London, Aberdeen and Redhill in Surrey. Sean Glancy, of UHY Hacker Young, said: ‘The home counties is home to many high net worth individuals and well-paid commuters. These are the groups most likely to have the highest income tax bills — leading to greater incentives to find ways to reduce payments.’
Tax avoidance is trying to find legal loopholes to reduce your payments, whereas evasion — such as not declaring income to HMRC — is illegal.
An HMRC spokesman said: ‘Most tax avoidance schemes simply do not work.’