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Scottish business leaders make the UK Tax List top ten



Billionaire businessman Glenn Gordon and family is the second highest UK taxpayer according to new research for The Sunday Times Tax List.

Gordon, who is the chairman of spirits business William Grant & Sons, and his family had a tax liability of £436m on wealth of £3.19bn, according to the newspaper’s research.

The descendant of the company’s original founder William Grant saw his tax liability rise as the Grant Gordon family’s wealth increased by £200m, according to the figures.

There was a total of £982.5m in dividends paid last year following the liquidation of its investment activities, resulting in a £374m tax liability on that alone.

The company is best known for its Hendricks Gin, Glenfiddich whisky and Drambuie liqueur.

The only greater tax liability incurred was that of the Denise, John and Peter Coates, the family who control the Bet365 gambling giant, with the taxes paid on the dividends and salaries taken by the family having climbed to £573m.

Tenth placed on the list is Lady Philomena Clark and family. Lady Philomena is the widow of Arnold Clark, founder of Arnold Clark Automobiles and now chairs Scotland’s biggest new and used car retailers.

The company paid £36.5m of employers’ National Insurance and £22.2m of corporation tax in 2019, according to the research. The remainder is made up of tax liability on dividends paid to the family.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling fell from 19th to 23rd in this year’s rankings, with her tax liabilities dropping from £48.6m to £34.8m.

The fall is because there were no new Rowling-inspired films and the Hogwarts-based theme park has been closed due to the Coronavirus restrictions.

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Taking third place on the Top 50 list are Fred and Peter Done – the brothers behind bookmakers Betfred – with a tax bill of £191.3m while vacuum cleaner mogul Sir James Dyson came in sixth place with £115m, which is around £12m more in tax than the previous year.

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley climbed one place to 12th, despite his tax liabilities dropping by £8.8m to £46m.



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