The stockbroker belt of southern England is “littered with tax-avoidance hotspots”, according to a new analysis of HMRC data.
Windsor was “named as the tax-dodging capital of England” with St Albans and Guildford close behind.
“The Home Counties is home to many high-net-worth individuals and well-paid city commuters,” said Sean Glancy, a partner at accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, which analysed figures gained through freedom of information (FOI) requests.
“These are the groups most likely to have the highest income tax bills, leading to greater incentives to find ways to reduce payments.”
The league table reveals which towns and cities have the highest concentration of tax-avoidance “disclosures” – declarations made by taxpayers using legal avoidance schemes.
“HMRC can investigate these schemes and their providers and, as a result, may amend legislation where deemed necessary to reduce tax avoidance options that can circumvent the law,” explains Investopedia.
If a scheme is subsequently deemed illegal, participants who have not made a declaration face higher penalties.
The top 20 tax-dodging areas
1. Windsor and Maidenhead: 23 disclosures per 100,000
2. St Albans: 20
3. Guildford: 17
4. London: 17
5. Aberdeen: 15
6. Redhill: 15
7. Tunbridge Wells: 15
8. Reading: 14
9. Cambridge: 13
10. Hemel Hempstead: 12
11. Exeter: 12
12. Oxford: 11
13. Chelmsford: 10
14. Bournemouth: 10
15. Bath: 9
16. Brighton: 9
17. Canterbury: 9
18. Stevenage: 9
19. York: 9
20. Swindon: 8
Aberdeen, one of the few cities on the list that are outside the stockbroker belt, is at the heart of the North Sea oil industry.
At the end of last year, Aberdeen-based regional newspaper The Press and Journal reported that “northeast oil and gas workers face a 25% loss of earnings” as a result of new anti-tax-avoidance laws targeting highly paid contractors.