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Additional rate taxpayer numbers increase

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Latest figures from HMRC show the number of people paying the 45p additional rate of tax increased to 328,000 (1.1%) in 2014/15 (from 311,000 in 2013/14). This is mainly due to the additional rate threshold remaining fixed at £150,000.

The number of basic rate taxpayers in 2014/15 was 25.1m (81.8%), while 4.3m individuals (14%) were higher rate taxpayers.

The number of higher and additional rate taxpayers are expected to rise by a further 0.3m in 2015/16, to a high of 4.9m, before falling back to around 4.5m in 2017/18.

HMRC’s estimates for 2017/18 show 25.8m individuals (85.1%) paying at non-higher rates (comprising starting, savers and basic rates), 4.2m (13.7%) higher rate taxpayers and 364,000 (1.2%) additional rate taxpayers.

Tom McPhail, head of policy at investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘More and more low earners are being taken out of the tax system altogether; basic rate taxpayers are paying a lower overall average rate of tax; and, whilst top earners’ share of income is declining, their contribution to the income tax system is increasing.’ For the highest earners, McPhail added, cuts to reliefs and allowances on pensions are ‘a significant contributory factor’.