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Harry Potter author JK Rowling forks out £50m in tax as one of UK's top contributors



Harry Potter author JK Rowling paid nearly £50million in tax last year.

The Scots writer appears in the Sunday Times Tax List top 20 alongside Bet365 founder Denise Coates and Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley.

Rowling, 54, is reported to have paid £47million of income tax and national insurance through self-assessment on royalties of about £100million, plus £1.6million in taxes on her Pottermore business.

Ashley forked out £54.8million in tax, while Coates paid an estimated £276million.

Rowling has previously spoken of the debt she felt she owed to the welfare state as a single mother receiving benefits while writing the first Harry Potter book.

She said: “When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become, was there to break the fall.

“It would have been contemptible to scarper to the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque.”

Rowling said she makes a conscious decision to pay full taxes in the UK, refusing to live in “the limbo of some tax haven” and criticising “greedy tax exiles”.

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.

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“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.”

Last September, Rowling, who is worth more than £700million, donated more than £15million to multiple sclerosis research at the clinic named after her mum.

The investment was to help create new facilities and support vital research at Edinburgh University’s Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic.

It was set up following a donation from Rowling in 2010 and is named after her mother who died of MS at 45.





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