Nearly 70% of my £500 bonus goes to the treasury – How Much is a “Fair Share” ?


Let’s imagine I am a top rate taxpayer and I receive a £500 bonus, if I spend it all, how much goes into the real economy to buy goods and how much is taken by the government in taxes, duties, etc as its “Fair Share”?

table 1


So it would appear that a “fair share” for the state of my hard earned £500 bonus is 68.1% ?

But, that’s not the whole story, because the £159.34 of “goods” is paid to the companies that produce them and a good part of the cost of those goods is made up of tax.

Assume that the companies involved pay 50% for materials, 40% for Labour and make a 10% pre tax profit:

table 2


So the state’s “fair share” is up to (£22.41+£340.66)/£500 = 72.6%

But there is more:

The raw materials of £79.67 purchased by the companies represent the revenue of the companies for whom the raw materials are the outputs and are increased in cost because of tax. So assume 14.1% of that amount also goes in tax, another £11.15 for the state.

(£22.41+£340.66+11.15)/£500 = 74.8%

Allowing for the fact that this process continues further still down the supply chain  It does not seem unreasonable to assume that ultimately the state will take 75%+ of the bonus.

I get to keep just 25% of the value in free market goods and services and the state takes the rest. Yet, still the left demand higher taxes so I pay my “Fair Share”!


This article was originally published on Libertarian View.


Editor’s note: The bonus example illustrated in this article uses the 50% rate of tax, however in the UK, the  top rate of income tax is 45% – making the figure (in UK terms) after income and national insurance £265.00.


  1. I think drilling down as far as the raw materials that make the goods that you buy might be a bit excessive, however the point is well made. On my salary I lose 30% in direct taxation every month before I’ve even seen my pay, and then a fair chunk of what’s left ends up going to the State via VAT, Council Tax and other duties. Imagine how much more would go into the economy to generate growth if the State took a little less?

  2. If the company you work for wasn’t constrained by the amount of corporation tax it pays, your bonus might have been £1000.

Leave a Reply to Gareth Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here