A record number of people are now paying the highest tax rate

(FILES) A picture taken 17 April 2007 in...
More and more people are entering the highest tax band (Source: Getty)

The number of Britons paying the highest rate of tax has soared. And it is a trend the taxman is predicting will continue in years to come.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) today published data on the income tax liabilities of the UK. Wage inflation for top earners has pushed rising numbers of people in to the additional tax rate, the top income tax bracket, experts said.

(Source: HMRC)

The data also showed the total number of UK taxpayers has stabilised in recent years. There were 30.7m Britons paying tax in 2014/15, the latest confirmed numbers, down from a peak of 32.5m in 2007/08.

However, HMRC estimated there will be 400,000 less taxpayers in 2017/18.

Against such a backdrop, the number of people paying the top level of tax is set to leap over 10 per cent by the end of the current tax year.

In 2014/15, 328,000 Britons paid the additional rate of tax, currently 45 per cent on annual earnings over £150,000. And by 2017/18, HMRC reckon this will swell by a further 36,000 people to 364,000.

(Source: HMRC)

Tom McPhail at Hargreaves Lansdown told the Telegraph: "The 45 per cent rate is now trapping high earners just as the 40 per cent rate did in the past.

"High earners are already contributing a larger proportion of income tax than ever before and cuts to pensions have unfairly removed the opportunity for them to use tax efficient savings products to reduce their tax bill."

Read more: The UK's high earners have seen steepest global tax hikes over 20 years

UK (excluding Scotland) income tax rates for 2017/18

Band Taxable income Rate
Personal Allowance Up to £11,500 0 per cent
Basic rate £11,501 to £45,000 20 per cent
Higher rate £45,001 to £150,000 40 per cent
Additional rate over £150,000 45 per cent

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