Friday 29 January 2021 7:00 am

Billionaire Coates family of Bet365 stump up half a billion in tax

Gambling family Denise, John and Peter Coates of Bet365 have paid more than half a billion pounds (£573m) in tax this year, making them the top taxpayers in the UK.

Denise Coates founded Bet365 in 2000, and the tax paid by the family and the business is equal to the price of paying for 62,725 state pensions for a year.

Billionaire businessman Glenn Gordon was number two on the list of top taxpayers, paying £436.4m to the taxman, follow by Fred and Peter Done, who paid £191.3m.  

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic decline in the taxes paid by the wealthiest people in the country, according to the latest Sunday Times Tax list.

The extent of the tax liabilities needed to make the UK top 50 taxpayers list fell from £20.4m last year to £13.1 this year – a fall of more than a third (36%) in the past 12 months.

This time a year ago, a tax bill of £13.1m would have landed an individual nowhere near the list of the 50 biggest taxpayers in the UK, but this year it would put the individual in 50th place.

Among those no longer featuring in the tax list is Sir Philip Green, who has seen his main business, Arcadia, fall into administration in the past year. He and his wife Lady Tina Green ranked 23rd in last year’s tax list with a tax liability of £44.4m.

Just 17 individuals and families on the top tax list are paying more than this year than last.

RankNameIndustryTax liability (£m2020 wealth (£m)
1Denise, John and Peter CoatesGambling573.07,166
2Glenn Gordon and familyAlcohol 436.43,186
3Fred and Peter DoneGambling191.31,200
4The Weston FamilyRetail164.510,530
5Stephen Rubin and familySportswear156.14,225
6Sir James Dyson and familyHousehold goods and tech115.016,200
7Leonie Schroder and familyFinance109.43,977
8Baroness Howard de Walden and familyProperty96.04,316
9Peter HargreavesFinance91.42,400
10Lady Philomena Clark and familyCar sales60.31,131
The top 10 list of UK taxpayers

The amount of tax revenues generation by the top 50 taxpayers is nearly £680m higher than last year, up 27 per cent to £3.18bn.

According to the Sunday Times, this was due exclusively to tax paid on an exceptional £982.5m of dividends to shareholders in the William Grant whisky conglomerate, and a change in the list’s methodology, which now counts gambling duties paid by betting businesses.

Without those two factors, this year’s total tax liability of the top 50 taxpayers would have been £700m less – and below last year’s £2.5bn figure.

Robert Watts, compiler of the tax list, said: “These worrying numbers show the tax take from many of Britain’s super rich has fallen sharply – largely because their businesses have seen a downturn.

“These numbers illustrate that when some wealthy people prosper our public finances do feel a benefit. After the pandemic has passed the Chancellor will need to maximise income from these individuals without driving them or their businesses away from the UK.”