The characteristics and income of the top one percent

Document type
Briefing
Author(s)
Joyce, Robert; Pope, Thomas; Roantree, Barra
Publisher
Institute for Fiscal Studies
Date of publication
6 August 2019
Series
IFS Briefing note; BN253
Subject(s)
Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion, Older Adults
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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To be in the top 1% of income tax payers in the UK (i.e. to be among the 310,000 individuals with the highest income), a taxable income of at least £160,000 is required. £236,000 is required to be in the top 0.5% and nearly £650,000 to be in the top 0.1%. 43% of adults pay no income tax and to be in the top 1% of all adults (or the top 540,000 people), a pre-tax income of at least £120,000 is required.

The top 1% of income tax payers are disproportionately male, middle-aged and London-based. A man aged 45–54 in London could be in the top 1% nationally while still needing a further £550,000 to be in the top 1% for his gender, age and region.

These patterns become more pronounced at even higher income levels. Almost half of the top 0.1% of income tax payers are based in London, over 40% are aged 45–54 and only 11% are women.

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