Press Room

14 Jul 2020

Is there any point in members of the wealthy elite calling for higher taxes in response to Covid-19?


Miles Dean, Head of International Tax, debates whether there is any point in the calls by members of the wealthy elite for higher taxes in response to COVID-19 are, in City A.M.

Miles’ comments were published in the debate section of City A.M., 14 July 2020, and can be found here.

“In light of this week’s Millionaires for Humanity letter, is there any point in members of the wealthy elite calling for higher taxes in response to Covid-19?

Miles Dean, head of international tax at Andersen UK, says NO.

Although it might have electoral appeal and may make the 83 signatories feel more comfortable with themselves, a wealth tax for the super-rich is unlikely to raise as much as those championing the idea think.

The number of UK billionaires is relatively small: according to Forbes, there are just 54 of them. Of the so-called “ultra-wealthy” with fortunes above $30m (£26.5m), only a few thousand live here. Fewer still are eligible to pay UK taxes since most are non-doms.

A handful of super-rich people pleading to pay more tax may seem commendable, but it is not the answer to the economic fallout from Covid-19. Some might cynically argue that the signatories should outline what steps they have taken to reduce their tax bill. Or for those who have inherited large fortunes, the steps taken by their relatives to mitigate against inheritance tax.

Very few people enjoy paying tax. The idea that the rich would be happy to pay lots more is fantasy.

Given the billions already spent on the NHS and the government’s apparent ineptitude over the Covid pandemic, the last thing that rich individuals should want is to give the government even more money that, in Boris Johnson’s words, “they can spaff up the wall”.”


Miles Dean

Miles Dean

Miles is Head of International Tax at Andersen Tax in the United Kingdom. He advises privately held multinational companies, entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals on a wide range of cross border tax issues.

Email: Miles Dean