Bet365 boss was UK’s biggest taxpayer last year

Denise Coates Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA

The woman at the head of one of the UK’s biggest betting websites was the country’s largest taxpayer last year, according to new figures.

The founder and joint chief executive of Bet365, Denise Coates, had a tax liability of £276 million last year, according to the Sunday Times Tax List.

Coates and family owed tax bills including their £113.2 million share of Bet365’s corporation tax bill and social security costs, such as National Insurance, and £130 million in tax from Ms Coates’ £276.6 million income.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling, vacuum cleaner mogul Sir James Dyson and Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley also appear in the top 20.

The world-famous writer, in 19th place, paid £48.6 million, while Sir James and family, in fourth, paid £103 million.

Last year, sportswear boss Stephen Rubin owed the highest amount, with a tax bill of £181.6 million. This year, he is in second place, having paid £143.9 million.

Between them, the list’s top 50 wealthy individuals or families were liable for around £2.5 billion of tax last year.

Robert Watts, who compiled the list and also works on the Sunday Times Rich List, said: “The rich are often bashed as tax avoiders and if that was always true then it wouldn’t matter when wealthy Brits leave the UK for Monaco, the Caribbean and other tax havens.

“But our Tax List shows there are a significant number of these people who do contribute tens of millions of pounds a year towards the UK’s public finance each year. This shows that an exodus of the super rich would leave us with weaker public services or paying more tax to fill the gap.

“The challenge for the Government is to squeeze a fair share out of the wealthy – without driving away the individuals who contribute the sort of sums each year that can build a school or a hospital.”

The tax list is 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.

Corporate taxes or personal taxes overseas are not counted.