Playing tycoon and guess365 founder Denise Coates named UK’s high taxpayer – once more

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Bet365 boss Denise Coates and her family paid a staggering £573 million in tax last year, it has been revealed.

The Coates family – who run the Etruria-based gambling business – handed over more than half-a-billion in tax in 2020, according to The Sunday Times Tax List, and more than anyone else in the UK.

It makes joint chief executive Denise – who founded bet365 in 2000 – the country’s largest taxpayer for the second year in a row.

Last year, Ms Coates was named among the wealthiest women in the UK with an annual pay packet of more than £330 million.

She was ranked at number 16 in the overall list, up £310m and three places from 2019.

Together Denise, her father Peter and brother John, who also own Stoke City and employ more than 5,000 people, are estimated to be worth £7.166 billion.

John Coates, Denise Coates and Peter Coates

The family are joined in the Top 50 list by vacuum cleaner mogul Sir James Dyson and Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley who were ranked in sixth place and 12th place respectively.

Sir James – who topped the rich list in 2020 with his £16.2 billion fortune – handed over £191.3 million in tax last year, while Mr Ashley’s tax liabilities dropped by £8.8 million to £46 million.

Elsewhere, Glenn Gordon and family – who are behind the William Grant spirits firm – are second in this year’s list with a £436.4 million tax liability, and Fred and Peter Done – the brothers behind Betfred – took third place with a tax bill of £191.3 million.

But Sir Philip Green dropped out of the list this year as his Arcadia retail empire fell into administration.

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This year, wealthy individuals and their families had to contribute at least £13.1 million to be ranked in this year’s Top 50 – this is down from £20.4 million the previous year.

The list – which mostly covers business and personal tax exposure to the end of 2019 – shows the amount of tax taken from Britain’s super-rich fell sharply even before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

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

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The list’s contributors were liable for around £3.18 billion of tax this year, up 27 per cent from £2.5 billion last year.

But this is due to tax paid on £982.5 million 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 these two factors, this year’s total tax liability of the top 50 would be £700 million less, and below last year’s figure of £2.5 billion.