Britain’s biggest taxpayers: JK Rowling and Sir James Dyson among top 50


Harry Potter author JK Rowling, vacuum cleaner mogul Sir James Dyson and Bet365 founder Denise Coates are among Britain’s biggest taxpayers.

The top 50 wealthy individuals or families forked out around £2.5 billion of tax between them last year, according to the Sunday Times Tax List.

The paper’s rundown of the top 50 taxpayers is topped by the founder and joint chief executive of Bet365, Denise Coates who paid £276 million.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling (pictured), vacuum cleaner mogul Sir James Dyson and Bet365 founder Denise Coates are among Britain's biggest taxpayers, according to the Sunday Times Tax List

The founder and joint chief executive of Bet365, Denise Coates, paid £276 million

Harry Potter author JK Rowling (left), vacuum cleaner mogul Sir James Dyson and Bet365 founder Denise Coates (right) are among Britain’s biggest taxpayers, according to the Sunday Times Tax List

World-famous writer Rowling, in 19th place, paid £48.6 million, while Sir James and family, in fourth, paid £103 million. 

Last year, sportswear boss Stephen Rubin owed the highest amount, with a tax bill of £181.6 million.

This year, he came in second place, having paid £143.9 million.

Robert Watts, who compiled the list, said: ‘The rich are often bashed as tax avoiders and if that was always true then it wouldn’t matter when wealthy Brits leave the UK for Monaco, the Caribbean and other tax havens.

The top 50 wealthy individuals or families forked out around £2.5 billion of tax between them last year. Sir James (pictured) and family, in fourth, paid £103 million

The top 50 wealthy individuals or families forked out around £2.5 billion of tax between them last year. Sir James (pictured) and family, in fourth, paid £103 million

‘But our Tax List shows there are a significant number of these people who do contribute tens of millions of pounds a year towards the UK’s public finance each year. 

‘This shows that an exodus of the super rich would leave us with weaker public services or paying more tax to fill the gap.

‘The challenge for the Government is to squeeze a fair share out of the wealthy – without driving away the individuals who contribute the sort of sums each year that can build a school or a hospital.’

The Tax List takes account of corporation tax, dividend tax, capital gains tax, income tax, payroll taxes

TABLE TITLE
2020 TAX LIST RANK  NAME  BUSINESS SECTOR   TAX LIABILITY 2018/19 (£m)
1   Denise Coates & family  Gambling  £276 million 
2   Stephen Rubin & family  Sportswear  £143.9 million
3   Leonie Schroder and family  Finance  £116.8 million 
  Sir James Dyson and family  Household goods and technology  £103 million 
  Carrie and Francois Perrodo and family  Oil, gas and wine  £101.3 million 
  The Weston family  Retailing  £85 million 
  The Duke of Westminster  Property  £69.3 million 
  Tom Morris and family  Discount stores  £67.4 million
  Sir Chris Hohn  Hedge fund  £58.1 million
10    Lord Bamford and family  Construction equipment  £58 million 
11    Lady Philomena Clark and family  Car sales  £56.4 million 
12    Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and family  Aviation  £56.3 million 
13    Mike Ashley  Sports equipment and fashion  £54.8 million 
14    Glenn Gordon and family  Spirits  £54.2 million 
15    Ranjit and Baljinder Boparan and family  Food  £53 million 
16   John Bloor  Construction and property  £51.7 million 
17    Peter Harris and family  Hotels and caravan parks  £51 million 
18    Earl Cadogan and family  Property  £49.1 million 
19    JK Rowling  Novels and films  £48.6 million 
20    Baroness Howard de Walden and family  Property  £46.5 million 

Bet365 founder Denise Coates and family – £276 million

Denise Coates spotted the potential of the internet to turn her family’s chain of betting shops into a global success 20 years ago

Denise Coates spotted the potential of the internet to turn her family’s chain of betting shops into a global success 20 years ago

Denise Coates spotted the potential of the internet to turn her family’s chain of betting shops into a global success 20 years ago.

To others, she’s making a fortune from the controversial business of gambling.

In total the Coates family had tax liabilities of £276m, nearly twice as much as any other entry on the Tax List. 

This includes the Coates family’s £113.2m share of Bet365’s corporation tax bill and social security costs, such as National Insurance, made on behalf of its employees.

A total of £130m in tax came from Denise’s headline-grabbing £276.6m income, and a further £32.8m from dividends payments.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling – £48.6 million

The Harry Potter author came 19th and paid tax on almost all of about £100m of royalties and other earnings in 2018 to 2019 through self assessment. 

This means she paid almost £47m in income tax and national insurance. 

She paid another £1.6m for business taxes at Pottermore, which handles ebooks and other digital versions of her works.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling came 19th and paid tax on almost all of about £100m of royalties and other earnings in 2018 to 2019 through self assessment. Pictured: Rowling in 1997

Harry Potter author JK Rowling came 19th and paid tax on almost all of about £100m of royalties and other earnings in 2018 to 2019 through self assessment. Pictured: Rowling in 1997

Sir Philip and Lady Tina Green – £44.4 million 

Stripped of his billionaire status in last year’s Sunday Times Rich List, the 67-year-old retailer transferred ownership of his business empire many years ago to his Monaco-based wife, Lady Tina.

It is assumed neither are resident for UK tax, but they make the 2020 Tax List through the contribution to public finances made by their UK-based Arcadia Group, paying nearly £44.4m of business taxes and coming 23rd on the list.

Stripped of his billionaire status in last year’s Sunday Times Rich List, Sir Philip (centre) transferred ownership of his business empire many years ago to his Monaco-based wife, Lady Tina (left). Pictured: Lady Tina, Sir Philip and Chloe Green

Stripped of his billionaire status in last year’s Sunday Times Rich List, Sir Philip (centre) transferred ownership of his business empire many years ago to his Monaco-based wife, Lady Tina (left). Pictured: Lady Tina, Sir Philip and Chloe Green

Stephen Rubin and family – £143.9 million  

Stephen Rubin became the chairman of Pentland when his father died in 1969

Stephen Rubin became the chairman of Pentland when his father died in 1969

Stephen Rubin became the chairman of Pentland when his father died in 1969.

He paid £143.9 million in tax, making him second on the list.

He changed the company name to Pentland and in 1981 bought a 55 per cent stake in Reebok for around £60,000. 

Rubin sold Pentland’s stake in Reebok a decade later for £585million.

Pentland’s other brands include Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury of New Zealand, Endura, Mitre, Ellesse, Boxfresh, Seavees, and Red Or Dead.

Leonie Schroder and family – £116.8 million

This year, it was revealed that Leonie Schroder had been given a seat on the board at fund manager Schroders – a position made vacant when her father Bruno died. 

Moves to put the divorced mother-of-three on the 215-year-old firm’s board last year were abandoned after disquiet from investors. 

Her and her family paid £116.8 million in tax, making them third on the list.

This year, it was revealed that Leonie Schroder had been given a seat on the board at fund manager Schroders

This year, it was revealed that Leonie Schroder had been given a seat on the board at fund manager Schroders

Sir James Dyson and family – £103 million

James Dyson founded his eponymous design brand in 1979 and in order to work on the machine that would make his name - a bagless vacuum cleaner

James Dyson founded his eponymous design brand in 1979 and in order to work on the machine that would make his name – a bagless vacuum cleaner

James Dyson founded his eponymous design brand in 1979 and in order to work on the machine that would make his name – a bagless vacuum cleaner.

After some 5,000 prototypes he began selling the ‘G-Force’ vacuum in Japan in 1986, followed by a series of lawsuits that nearly bankrupted his young family.

In 1993 he began manufacturing out of a factory in Wiltshire that he bought with a loan, and by 1995 the Dyson was the best-selling vacuum cleaner in the country.

The original vacuum has been adapted many times since – including one which features a rolling ball which he originally designed to go on a wheelbarrow – and Dyson also makes bladeless fans, air purifiers and hair dryers.

His designs have won multiple awards, and also feature in the permanent collections of design museums around the world. He now has a personal fortune estimated at £9.5billion.

He and his family paid £103 million in tax this year.

The Duke of Westminster – £85 million

Billionaire Hugh Grosvenor, 28 — who owns more land than the Queen — inherited a fortune of £9.3billion after his father died.

He now has ownership of the family seat Eaton Hall, as well as a property empire that includes 300 acres in Mayfair and Belgravia, as well as land in Cheshire, Oxford, Scotland and Spain.

The Duke is friends with the royals and was asked to be godfather to Prince William’s eldest son George.

Billionaire Hugh Grosvenor, 28 — who owns more land than the Queen — inherited a fortune of £9.3billion after his father died

Billionaire Hugh Grosvenor, 28 — who owns more land than the Queen — inherited a fortune of £9.3billion after his father died

Sir Chris Hohn – £58.1 million

Sir Chris Hohn became the world's top hedge fund manager last year thanks to major investments in firms hit by environmental scandals

Sir Chris Hohn became the world’s top hedge fund manager last year thanks to major investments in firms hit by environmental scandals

Sir Chris Hohn – who has donated £200,000 to Extinction Rebellion – became the world’s top hedge fund manager last year thanks to major investments in firms hit by environmental scandals.

Sir Chris saw his investment firm join the ranks of the world’s largest hedge funds last year after a stunning performance.

TCI Fund Management, which is owned and run by Hohn, added $8.4billion (£6.4billion) in value last year – more than any other major hedge fund according to LCH Investments – taking its assets under management up 39 per cent to $30billion.

But The Mail on Sunday revealed that the winning streak involved huge bets on companies that have been embroiled in environmental scandals. They include Canada’s two biggest rail firms which have been fined in recent years for their failings.

Mike Ashley – £54.8 million

Mike Ashley owns Newcastle United and reportedly forked out around £135 million to buy the club.

He is also the Chief Executive of Sports Direct.

He founded the sports store chain 1982 and it is the United Kingdom’s largest sports-goods retailer with 670 stores world wide. 

He bought House of Fraser in 2018.

Mike Ashley (left) owns Newcastle United and reportedly forked out around £135 million to buy the club

Mike Ashley (left) owns Newcastle United and reportedly forked out around £135 million to buy the club

Lord Bamford and family £58 million

Anthony Bamford succeeded his father as chairman and managing director of manufacturing equipment company JCB in 1975. 

He was knighted in 1990. 

In December 2019, his wealth was estimated at £3.75 billion.

Anthony Bamford succeeded his father as chairman and managing director of manufacturing equipment company JCB in 1975. Pictured with his wife Lady Carole Bamford

Anthony Bamford succeeded his father as chairman and managing director of manufacturing equipment company JCB in 1975. Pictured with his wife Lady Carole Bamford



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