The singer says "would cheerfully pay the amount of tax I do at the moment if I didn't pay it to the government."
As it stands, "No, I'm not a famous British tax exile," he sighs, confirming that he pays the current 50% rate outright on his personal income (dropping to 45% in April). "I live here. And I pay my tax here. Whilst I think the rate of tax is too high," he shrugs, "I like living here."
That arrangement not only sets him apart from the likes of Ringo (THE BEATLES) and (THE ROLLING STONES') Mick Jagger (respectively domiciled in Monaco and the Virgin Islands). It also means that "I pay about 500 times more tax than Amazon," which makes a quarter of its non-US sales in the UK but bases its European operations in Luxembourg, thus escaping most UK corporate taxes.
"It amused me when I found out how much tax they didn't pay, and how much tax I pay as a personal individual," he says, with a smile that suggests he wasn't all that amused.
What really seems to get him, though, is that "there is so much money wasted on the inland revenue. It's vast, the costs involved, on both sides. People employing clever accountants and lawyers and all this nonsense, and then a massive amount is spent by the Exchequer chasing them all over the world."
Has he ever considered taking his projects to the US?
"Well sadly, I think I'd rather open a business in this country than the U.S.," he says. "The US is—it's a minefield. Open a business in California? You must be joking. The lawyers, the taxes—people talk about high taxes here. Well, yes they are high, but in America, in the places you might really want to open a business—New York, L.A.—you've got state taxes, city taxes, state income taxes, city income taxes—you add that lot up, you're paying more over there than here."
Read more at The Wall Street Journal.