Denise Coates, head of gambling empire Bet365, was Britain’s biggest taxpayer last year, according to the annual Sunday Times Tax List.
She and her family paid an estimated £276m, ahead of the £143.9m paid by Stephen Rubin, owner of a sportswear group that includes brands such as Speedo and Berghaus.
Third-placed Sir James Dyson was estimated to have paid £103m.
The Harry Potter author JK Rowling entered the top 50 taxpayers (£) for the first time, with an estimated £48.6m bill. She has previously spoken of making a conscious decision to pay full taxes in the UK, refusing to live in “the limbo of some tax haven” and criticising “greedy tax exiles”.
As millions of people struggle with their tax returns this weekend, Rowling is reported to have paid £47m of income tax and national insurance through self-assessment on royalties of about £100m, plus a further £1.6m in taxes on her Pottermore business.
The Sunday Times said its tax list was compiled using publicly available documentation on taxation in 2018-19, and takes into account corporation tax, dividend tax, capital gains tax, income tax, and payroll taxes.
But it admitted that it did not track down every pound of tax paid by the individuals in its list. “In almost all cases, this is merely tax we can see from scanning through a mass of publicly available financial statements.”
Finance and retail dominate the list, along with a number of aristocratic families with huge inherited wealth.
The Duke of Westminster, who at 29 sits on a fortune estimated at £10.1bn, is reported to have paid £69.3m in tax, making him the seventh biggest taxpayer in the country. Earl Cadogan and family, also London property owners, reportedly paid £49.1m tax on their £6.85bn fortune.
Many of the international billionaires living in London’s best addresses, who regularly feature in UK rich lists were missing from the tax list. The Sunday Times said families such as the Hindujas, Blavatniks and Mittals choose to live in the UK but have minimal taxable businesses in Britain.
Few entertainers or celebrities made it into the tax list. The Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is believed to earn about £40m a year worldwide, but the report said there was not enough information to show he paid enough tax in the UK to warrant inclusion in the top 50. The singer Ed Sheeran appeared to have paid £4.5m in tax in 2018 on his main company, it added.
The Tory donor Lord Bamford and family, who run the JCB construction equipment company, were 10th in the list, with a reported tax bill of £58m, while the Brexit donor and investment brokerage owner Peter Hargreaves was 21st with a £44.8m bill. Another outspoken Brexiter, Tim Martin, one-third owner of the JD Wetherspoon group, was 33rd with a £29.9m bill.
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