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‘The Sunday Times’ reveals Ed Sheeran pays more taxes than any other British musician

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Mark SurridgeEd Sheeran may not earn more than other British musicians, but he pays more taxes than they do.

For the first time, Ed is included on The Sunday Times' annual Tax List, which runs down the U.K.'s 50 biggest taxpayers. Ranking at #32, Ed is the only musician on the list. He paid about $39 million in taxes against his estimated personal wealth of $275 million last year.

By comparison, number one on the list is the Coates family, which owns an online betting business. They paid about $786 million in taxes and are worth about $9.8 billion.

So why is Ed on the list when other musicians worth far more than he is — like Paul McCartney, Elton John and Mick Jagger — aren't? Because many rich Britons purposely avoid U.K. taxes by living abroad or arranging for their earnings to come from other countries, like the U.S. Others live in what are called "tax havens," that offer super-low tax rates to foreign investors.

Ed, however, has remained in England, which means all his taxes go to the British government. As one reader commented to the Times last year, stars like Ed are "doing their bit to make Britain an easier place to live for the people who need help.”

Overall, the Sunday Times says the rich are paying fewer taxes this year, not because they're avoiding paying, but due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, they simply aren't earning as much, and so owe less tax.

By Andrea Dresdale
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