Iceland tax figures indicate highest earners

Icelandic-money-03There is one day each year when the results from the previous year’s tax returns are made public. After submitting tax returns for 2008 at the end of the winter, people were yesterday able to find out whether their own personal tax payments needed topping up or if they were in line for a pleasant rebate. Today, for a very limited time, we are able to reveal the tax payments of some of the wealthiest members of Icelandic society.

Iceland’s highest tax payer in 2008 was Thorsteinn Mar Baldvinsson from the Northeast region of Iceland, ‘donating’ an impressive ISK 169.6 million (USD 1.3 million) to the state in taxes. Baldvinsson is president of Samherji (Ice Fresh Seafood) and is this year’s Tax King. “If I had any say, I would like to see my money go into the health system,” he told today. He went on to explain that some 70 percent of his tax bill came from the ‘sale’ of personal shares in Samherji to a new joint company set up in collaboration with Helga S. Gudmundsdottir – so, he says, he is regrettalby not as rich as the tax bill suggests.

Businesswoman Helga S. Gudmundsdottir paid the most tax in the Reykjanes region: ISK 116 million.

Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, the former director of Kaupthing Bank, paid the highest tax in Reykjavik. His total tax amounted to ISK 157.3 million (USD 1.2 million). ISK 101.2 million was paid in income tax and ISK 56 million in local taxes.

Second on the list of high payers in Reykjavik was Sigurjon Th. Arnason, who is the former CEO of Landsbanki. He paid ISK 99.3 million in taxes – ISK 63.4 million in income tax and the remaining 35.8 million in local taxes.

Landowner Thorsteinn Hjaltested from the Reykjanes region paid ISK 77 million in taxes.

Back in the capital city, the brother and sister duo Ingunn Gyda Wernersdottir and Karl Emil Wernersson were fifth and sixth on the Reykjavik list, both paying around ISK 60 million in taxes.

In 2007, pharmacist Kristinn Gunnarsson topped the Reykjavik (and national list), paying nearly 451 million kronur in tax. Actavis chief Vilhelm Robert Wessman was second on ISK 284,760,200 and Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson paid just over 275 million. reports that Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson is the only one of last year’s top three tax payers to make it on to this year’s top ten.

Reykjavik residents paid a total of ISK 94 billion for 2008, in Reykjanes the figure was 79.3 billion, Westman Islanders paid 2.9 billion, and totals for other regions were not yet being reported.

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