Breaking news: Britain’s top earner pays all of his taxes

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David Harding, the UK’s highest earner, announced to the world this weekend that he pays all of his taxes. The founder of Winton Capital Management, opened his books to prove he paid £34 million (39%) in taxes on income of £87 million in 2011.

Harding says he shared his finances to encourage other wealthy people to do the same. He told the Sunday Times this weekend:

I am definitely not whiter than white. I think that if you want to be accepted by society you have to be seen to be paying your share.”

Last year, Harding paid £8 million on a salary of £16.1 million, paying last year’s marginal tax rate of 50%. He also paid a 40% tax on £71.3 million in dividends. His hedge fund, one of the largest in the world, had sales of £350 million with operating profits of £233 million, and paid £62 million in corporate tax. The company is due to pay £133 million on 2011 revenues.

The news shocked and amused the British press, more familiar with covering the tax avoidance schemes of wealthy businesspeople. The Sunday Times of London, which first told the story, led with the headline:

Rich man pays his taxes—shock!