The highest taxpayers in the UK include a scrap metal dealer, JK Rowling, the founder of Gymshark, Sting and the Duke of Westminster.
When taken together the 100 wealthy individuals or families revealed in this year’s Sunday Times tax list were liable for a total of £5.181bn of UK tax last year.
The fifth edition of the list has been released as millions of people race to meet the self-assessment deadline and features figures from the worlds of music and the arts, as well as billionaire aristocrats and rags-to-riches entrepreneurs.
The list is headed up by Moscow-born billionaire who is the UK’s top tax payer, paying more than £487m in just 12 months, according to list.
Alex Gerko, boosted the Treasury’s coffers by more than £1.3m a day or £55,639 an hour during 2023.
Gerko, who has dual British Russian nationality and an estimated net worth of £2bn, came to the UK in 2006 and is the founder of algorithmic trading firm XTX Markets.
Earlier this month it was reported that XTX markets had given Oxford University’s Ukrainian Scholarship Scheme a grant of £602,550 from its £15m Academic Sanctuaries Fund, which was established to support students and researchers affected by the war in Ukraine.
Gerko’s leap up the league table has pushed Bet365 founder Denise Coates and her family into second place, ending the online gambling giant’s three-year reign at the top of the list.
Who made The Sunday Times’ tax list?
Well-established companies and families top the list, although a few firms founded in the 21st century have made making the cut.
The research also found that the top ten taxpayers paid £2.333bn tax, up nearly 14 per cent on a year ago.
Robert Watts, compiler of The Sunday Times Tax List, said: “You will find celebrities on the tax list but many of the entries are people who quietly run largely unheralded businesses that have been creating jobs and paying millions of tax for decades or even centuries.
“So-called ‘unicorn’ tech firms may dominate the headlines, but they often aren’t cash cows for the Treasury because they don’t employ large numbers of people or show big profits. It’s the long-established retailers, pub groups and other bricks-and-mortar businesses that often contribute more.
“There lies the challenge for the chancellor and his successors. As our economy inevitably shifts further and further online, how do we continue to fund the public services we all want?”
Watts added: “Alex Gerko’s story is an extraordinary read. This was a man who could have been one of Russia’s greatest wealth creators — instead he is creating jobs and paying his tax here. Enticing the super-rich to London doesn’t always pay dividends for the public finances. In his case it certainly has.”
Ben Francis, the chief executive of athleisure brand Gymshark, is the youngest person to appear in this year’s rankings. His contribution to the public finances is estimated at £11.6m.
Francis said: “This country and its taxes afforded me a free education, free healthcare and, as the child of a nurse, it also paid my mum’s salary. I’m nothing but proud that we contribute in every way that we can.”
The JD Wetherspoon chief Tim Martin told The Sunday Times it was “vitally important” that more companies reported all the tax they paid. “Without this perspective people may become more cynical about free enterprise, which is the vital engine of prosperity, and thereby freedom, for democratic societies.”
The Tax List rankings include corporation tax, dividend tax, capital gains tax, income tax and payroll taxes as well as gambling and alcohol duties, according to the most recently filed company accounts by 15 January 15. These are calculated in proportion with ownership of the company in question.
Dyson family, Gym Shark founder and Sting among 100 Brits who paid £5.2bn tax in 2022