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Politicians’ tax returns: who pays what

The country’s most high-profile politicians have been falling over themselves to show off their earnings and the amount of tax they paid. Here’s who got what.

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Zac Goldsmith and Boris Johnson: the country's top two political earners.

In the wake of the Panama Papers expos, and the news that David Cameron's father operated an offshore trust in which Mr Cameron used to own shares, the country's most high-profile politicians have been falling over themselves to demonstrate just how clean they are, and trumpet the exact amount of tax they contribute to the nation's coffers.

In truth, there are very few surprises. It would take an extremely dense (or particularly brazen) politician to squirrel money away in offshore tax havens, given the expenses scandal of a few years ago and the occasional celebrity being vilified in the press. Perhaps there will be the odd backbencher who hopes to remain under the radar. Perhaps not.

So here are the country's top earners, and what they paid:

politicians-pay-and-tax-paid

The devil is in the tax returns

The current London mayor, Boris Johnson, comes in a distant second. His mayoral salary of £129,000 (net of pension contributions) is boosted by income from his writing. He earned over £266,000 for his column in the Daily Telegraph, and received over £224,000 in book royalties, bringing his total taxable income to £612,583. On that, he paid tax of £276,505, a rate of 42%.

Next comes the PM. David Cameron's taxable salary as prime minister is £140,522. Add to that £3,000 in savings interest and his 50% share of renting out his house (almost £47,000), and he earned £200,307, with a tax bill of £75,899, or 39%.

George Osborne earned £120,526 as chancellor of the Exchequer, topped up with £33,500 rental income and £44,000 dividend income from the family wallpaper business, for a total of £198,738. Tax was £72,210, or 36%.

Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, doesn't take everything she is entitled to. If she took her full salary, she would be the highest paid politician in the UK. But instead, she limits herself to £104,000, on which she pays tax of £32,517, a rate of 31%.

And the ever frugalJeremy Corbyn managed to subsist on his meagre MP's pay, supplemented by just £1,850 of extra income, to bring a total of £72,645 on which he paid tax of £18,912 (26%). But poor old Jeremy couldn't get his tax return in on time, and so suffered a £100 penalty.

The average UK worker, by contrast to all of the above, earns just £26,000, on which income tax of £3,202 would be due.

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