Clegg to float 'tycoon tax' scheme
The Deputy Prime Minister claims many top earners are avoiding taxes by employing an "army of lawyers and accountants".
He signalled he is ready to remove opposition to axing the 50p top rate of income tax - a move that Tory backbenchers and business leaders have demanded - on condition the wealthiest pay their fair share.
In an interview with The Telegraph as the Liberal Democrats meet in Gateshead for their spring conference, Mr Clegg said he believes thousands of millionaires pay tax at a rate of less than 30%.
Mr Clegg told the newspaper: "You hope that kind of thing doesn't go on in this country. So I looked into it. There are hundreds of people earning millions per year who are barely paying 20% tax, forget 40%, forget 50%, forget 30%. They are not even paying 20%. Therefore, I think it's time that we look at what I call a tycoon tax.
"If you're earning millions per year, if you're able to pay an army of lawyers and accountants to basically pick and choose what tax you are paying, if you are paying as low as 25, 20% or even less in tax, there should be a minimum fair share that you should pay to society. It makes people so incredibly angry when you are getting up early in the morning, working really hard to try and do the right thing for your family and for your community, you are paying your taxes and then you see people literally in a different galaxy who are paying extraordinarily low rates of tax."
He added: "I think the principle of a mansion tax is a perfectly sensible one."
Aides said no minimum rate had been laid out but the "problem" was being discussed ahead of the budget.
Mr Clegg added: "The overall approach to bearing down on avoidance, closing loopholes, making sure the wealthy pay more of their fair share than less - that is what is more important to me at the end of the day."
© 2012 Press Association