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Prosperous areas of Kent are paying some of the highest average income tax bills in the UK, it has been revealed.
Research by UHY Hacker Young, an accountancy firm in the county, showed that residents in Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells are paying more than most.
Individuals in Sevenoaks pay an average of £11,600 each year which is double the UK average of £4,985 and Tunbridge Wells residents are shelling out an average of £9,330 in income tax yearly.
Meanwhile, residents in Tonbridge and Malling are paying an average of £6,970 each year.
UHY Hacker Young say this is due to the shift of the tax burden onto higher earners, who have been hit by an increase in the upper rate of tax, which now sits at 45p.
A failure to increase tax thresholds in line with inflation has also pushed more people into the highest tax bands.
‘Stockbroker Belt’ towns are the leafy towns in the South East within commuting distance of London, with a large proportion of high-earning residents working in financial services and associated professions such as law and accountancy.
Increasingly these are senior figures in hedge funds, private equity companies and investment banks rather than the archetypal stockbroker.
“With property prices in London pushing many out of the capital and into the surrounding counties we are likely to see a further increase in higher earners in other areas of Kent” - Allan Hickie
Allan Hickie, partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “The Government is increasingly reliant on the wealthiest parts of the South Eastern commuter belt and London for income.
"Since the recession the Government has gradually increased the tax burden on high earners, alleviating the squeeze on lower and middle income earners.
"However, Kent has a large number of people earning above average salaries, meaning we are paying out more income tax.
“With property prices in London pushing many out of the capital and into the surrounding counties we are likely to see a further increase in higher earners in other areas of Kent.
“Kent weathered the recession well, with a large number of local residents continuing to take home significant pay packets. The downside of Kent’s large number of high earners is that local residents have some of the highest income tax bills in the country.”
Other areas of Kent, such as the Medway towns and Ashford, actually experienced a drop in the average income tax bills over the last five years.
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