LONDON (Bywire News) - With the budget tax high on the Chancellor's agenda. Labour and Tories are stressing about how tax should be used to pay down the debt from a year of pandemic. The bad news for both of them is, Britain is becoming increasingly reliant on tax from the wealthy to secure revenue and that money is likely to be going down.
Tax evasion continues to be a prime strategy for the world’s richest people and biggest corporations. So, at this time of national emergency, those individuals and organisations which commit to paying their full share should be celebrated.
The Sunday Times aims to do just that. Along with its Rich List, it now produces an annual ‘tax list’ which celebrates Britain’s biggest taxpayers. It’s not an exact science. Some of the people who pay the most tax in the UK are still finding ways to reduce their bill.
James Dyson who appears in the list, for example, has been highly adept at creaming off cash through tax breaks over the years. In 2019, the Sunday Times reported that his company had ‘vacuumed up’ (get it?) £67 million in corporate benefits and tax breaks over the years.
He also recently dramatically reduced the amount he would pay into HMRC by upping sticks and changing his company’s HQ to the tax haven of Singapore. To call him a tax hero, then, might be stretching the claim a little.
There’s also bad news in the fact that money from these heavyweights might be going down soon. Data from PwC shows that corporation receipts from the top 100 companies have been on a downward trend for many years. This is partly due to the dramatic cuts in corporation tax under the Conservative government.
The list also suggests the money coming from these wealthy individuals is in decline. Only 17 of the people featured in their top 50 are paying more tax, 16 are paying less tax and 17 have dropped right off the list altogether.
Overall, the bar for getting onto the list has also plummeted from £20.4 million to just £13.1 million.
The Sunday Times list, therefore, gives us a hint at who is paying the most tax in the UK and where revenue is coming from. However, it also sounds a bit of a warning. The UK remains incredibly reliant on wealthy people for tax contributions but the money it gets from them is falling like a stone.
So, here’s a look at this year’s top ten.
- Denise Coates and family: £573million - The woman behind Bet365 tops the list of taxpayers for the second year running. Her family’s tax contributions totalled £573 million and would pay for more than 67,000 state pensions. Her firm Bet365 paid more than £200 million in corporation tax and payrolls taxes with the rest coming from taxes on salaries, dividends and betting duty.
- Glenn Gordon and Family: £436.4million - The distilling empire had a good year, with most of its tax incurred coming from £982.5million in dividends paid to family shareholders after the liquidation of its investment business. The company is best known for making Hendricks Ginn, Glenfiddich, Drambuie and Monkey Shoulder. Its corporation and payroll taxes came close to £62 million.
- Fred and Peter Dune: £191 million - Another family making their money from their association with gambling. BetFred paid more than £25.6million of corporation and payroll tax to HMRC. It also paid £127.2 million on general betting duty, machine games duty and gaming duty.
- The Westons Family: £164.5million - Westons is responsible for brands such as Primark, Ovaltine, Ryvita and Silver Spoon. The main UK operation is Wittington Investments which paid £65 million in corporation tax and around £99million in payroll tax.
- Stephen Rubin: £156million - Rubin owns The sportswear Pentland Group, the name behind Speedos, Boxfresh and Mitre also own 55% of JD Sports. The company pays £56.3million in UK corporation tax and £92.9million in payroll taxes.
- Sir James Dyson: £115million - He’s the man behind a vacuum which really sucks and is probably one of our best-known inventors. He paid more than £100 million in tax, but his inclusion here is a little controversial after hyped the business benefits of Brexit before moving his operations overseas to a tax haven.
- Leoni Schroder and family: £109 million - Headed By Leonie the Schroder family owns 44.75% of the London investment fund manager of the same name. The firm paid £125.2 million in corporation tax, employment taxes, VAT, property taxes and other levies.
- Baroness Howard de Walde and family: £96million - The family owns much of Marylebone including the medical cluster around Harley Street. They paid £81.9 million in corporation tax and employer’s national insurance contributions.
- Peter Hargreaves: £91.4 million - The 74-year-old has been selling his shares in fund manager Colossus which was liable for tax of £55million. This was enough to boost him into the top ten.
- Lady Philomena Clark and family: £60.3million - Scotland’s biggest car retailer Arnold Clark Automobiles furloughed about half of its 12,000 staff at the height of the pandemic. It paid £36.5million in employer’s national insurance and £22.2 million in corporation tax in 2019.
(Written by Tom Cropper, edited by Klaudia Fior)