What’s the basic rate of tax in the UK? 20%, with the rate rising progressively for higher earners? Is there anybody left who’s taken in by this? If you earn £20,000 pa in the UK the total in payroll taxes for each extra pound you receive is 32% plus 13.8% paid by the employer. So that’s 45.8p to the Government for every 68p you take home. Yes, that’s mostly employee and employer NIC, collected by the same people to pay for broadly the same things.

It gets worse, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, from 50k to 100k annual earnings the rate rises to 55.8%, but then increases to 75.8% for every pound after that until you reach 125k, where it REDUCES back to 55.8%. At 150k pa it rises again but “only” to 60.8%.

What if you earn a million in a year? Still 60.8%. So not at all progressive…

There’s a distinct lack of honesty about how the UK personal tax system bites. One wonders how the Advertising Standards people would respond if a private company claimed to charge “only 20%” when it was 45.8 (and yes, it’s all in the “small print”).

The graph below shows you the cumulative tax and NIC charges for annual earnings between 14k and 200k.

And don’t even get me started on Scottish income tax bands.