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Top 20 taxpayers in UK revealed as Russian-born trader and Bernie Ecclestone top list

Over £5bn paid by top contributors in last year - which included big names such as Ed Sheeran and JK Rowling

Athena Stavrou
Friday 26 January 2024 11:38 GMT
The Sunday Times tax list broke down how much tax the top 100 contributors paid to the treasury in the last 12 months
The Sunday Times tax list broke down how much tax the top 100 contributors paid to the treasury in the last 12 months (PA/Getty)

A Russian-born trader and former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone have been revealed as the UK’s biggest tax-payers in the last year.

The Sunday Times tax list, published on Friday, broke down how much the top 100 contributors paid to the treasury in the last 12 months, and included other big names including Ed Sheeran, JK Rowling and JD Wetherspoon tycoon Sir Tim Martin.

More than £5.353 billion was handed to the Exchequer by the top 100 in the last year, with Moscow-born Alex Gerko, a financial trader who set up XTX Markets in 2015, the biggest taxpayer after paying a record sum of £664.5 million.

However, despite a three per cent rise in the contributions, two-thirds of the list paid less tax in 2023 than in the year before, which could be because businesses have reported lower profits and a prolonged period of inflation.

To make the top 100 list, people had to contribute at least £10 million to HM Treasury- a £700,000 drop from last year’s lowest payment.

Although not making the list, the prime minister’s wife Akshata Murty is estimated to have paid £4.8 million of UK tax on her dividends from Infosys, an Indian IT firm co-founded by her father, following political pressure.

The list - which the newspaper calculated based on business profits, share sales, dividends, house purchases and personal income - comes as millions of people hurry to meet the self-assessment deadline.

Sitting firmly at the top, Mr Gerko is known for renouncing his Russian citizenship and giving millions to Ukraine to assist their war effort.

The 44-year-old, who became a British citizen in 2016 and gave up his Russian citizenship in 2022, founded XTX Markets and has a huge net worth of $11.4bn.

Alex Gerko contributed a record sum of £664.5 million to HM Treasury this year (Alex Gerko)

XTX said it “fully support(s) the Ukrainian people” and, speaking about Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, Mr Gerko reportedly said: “Nuremberg is waiting for you.”

Mr Gerko has said he is “happy to pay a tonne of taxes” and paid the equivalent of £1.8 million of tax a day - or £75,000 an hour.

In taking the top spot on the tax list, Mr Gerko leapfrogs controversial billionaire Mr Ecclestone, whose runner-up position on the tax list is thanks to a £652.6 million payment made to the taxman after he pleaded guilty to tax fraud in October.

He is followed by the family behind Bet365. Denise, John and Peter Coates paid £375.9 million in tax last year - about £15 million less than the year before.

At 32, global popstar Ed Sheeran appeared to be the youngest on the list, taking spot no 32 with a payment of £39.6m. Meanwhile, author Harry Potter author JK Rowling was 31 on this year’s list, paying a sum of £40m.

Here we take a look at the 20 taxpayers topping this year’s list:

Top 20 taxpayers in the UK last year

Alex Gerko - Russian-born financial trader - £664.5m

Bernie Ecclestone - Former F1 boss whose tax bill comes as a result of his fraud case - £652.6m

Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone (Getty Images)

Denise, John and Peter Coates - Bet365 - £375.9m

Fred and Peter Done and family - Betfred - £204.6m

Sir Tim Martin - JD Wetherspoon boss - £167.1m

JD Wetherspoon boss Sir Tim Martin (PA Archive)

Sir James Dyson and family - Vacuum cleaner and engineering empire - £156m

The Weston family - Sold Selfridges but still behind Primark and Fortnum & Maston - £146.2m

Mike Ashley - Sports Direct tycoon - £139.4m

Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley (PA)

John Bloor - Triumph Motorcycles - £118.1m

John Timpson and family - High street retail - £99.8m

John Timpson, Chairman of Timpson shoe repairers (Peter Macdiarmid)

Dame Mary and Douglas Perkins - Specsavers - £97.7m

Tom Morris and family - Home Bargains - £91.7m

Sir Chris John - Hedge fund manager - £84.8m

Stephen Rubin and family - Speedo, Kickers and Berghaus - £81.2m

Lady Philomena Clark and family - Widow of Arnold Clark - £78.3m

Lady Philomena Clark (PA)

Glenn Gordon and family - Whisky dynasty - £74.3m

Lord Bamford and family - JCB diggers - £67.8m

Peter Kelly - IT giant - £66.9m

Leonie Schroder and family - Finance - £62.5m

Earl Cadogan and family - Chelsea and Knightsbridge landowners - £60m

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