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Dyson and Ashley among the UK’s biggest taxpayers

1st and 3rd: Rubin and (below) Dyson PICTURES: GETTY/REX/PA

SIR James Dyson, Mike Ashley and the Beckham family have been named among those who paid the most tax in the UK last year.

A table of the top 50 taxpayers is headed by Stephen Rubin, who is the majority owner of JD Sports and was liable for £181.6million.

The inaugural Sunday Times Tax List puts Denise, John and Peter Coates, owners of bet365, in second place with a £156million bill in 2017/18, while Sir James Dyson is third with £127.8million.

It comes after Sir James recently announced plans to move his company’s headquarters to Singapore, which has a lower corporate tax rate than the UK, although he denied tax considerations were behind the change.

Mike Ashley, founder of Sports Direct, paid £30.4million in taxes last year and chairman of the Ineos group Sir Jim Ratcliffe — who topped the Sunday Times Rich List — was liable for £110.5million.

Robert Watts, compiler of the Tax List and the Rich List, said: ‘It’s hard to deny that the Panama Papers, Paradise Papers and other high-profile scandals have given the impression that none of Britain’s wealthy elite contribute a penny to our public finances.

‘But our inaugural Tax List shows which of the super-rich are contributing many millions of pounds a year.

‘These are large sums of money, that do not merely pay for a nurse but to build the hospital in which they work.’

David and Victoria Beckham, who the paper said paid £12.7million in tax due from their dividends and other levies in the accounts of their two principal companies, are a notable inclusion.

The couple were named on Companies House files as being linked to finance firm Ingenious, which invested in films including Avatar in a bid to secure tax relief.

It has been reported that the former England footballer was overlooked for a knighthood because of this investment, which has been subjected to scrutiny by HMRC. The taxman argued the scheme was a means of avoiding tax, but it has not been claimed Ingenious or investors were doing anything illegal. Ingenious says it was lawful.

Mr Watts said: ‘There has long been the suspicion that it blew the whistle on Beckham’s knighthood. Disclosure of how much tax they do pay may perhaps raise the prospect of us one day seeing Sir Golden Balls and Lady Posh.’

He added: ‘These figures arguably make the case for the wealthy more effectively than many charitable foundations or other philanthropy these people do.’

Easyjet founder and owner Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (£20.7million), the Warburton family who own the baking firm (£14.5million), and the Arora family behind B&M Stores (£25.6million) are also on the list.

HAPPY RETURNS: TOP TEN

1. Stephen Rubin and family — owner of the Pentland Group which owns Mitre, Speedo, Berghaus and SeaVees, and majority shareholder in JD Sports: £181.6million

2. Denise (pictured above), John and Peter Coates — owners of gambling firm bet365: £156million

3. Sir James Dyson and family — owner of the household appliance manufacturer Dyson: £127.8million

4. Bruno Schroder and family — banker and non-executive board member of asset management company Schroder’s: £114.3million

5. Sir Jim Ratcliffe — chairman and CEO of Ineos chemicals group: £110.5million

6. The Weston family — owners of retailers Selfridges and Primark and the Twinings drinks brand: £76million

7. Sir Chris Hohn — hedge fund manager who established The Children’s Investment Fund Management: £64million

8. Sir Peter Wood — founder of insurance company esure: £53.7million

9. James Benamor — founder of loan brokers Richmond Group and Amigo: £52.2million

10. Baroness Howard de Walden and family — property investors, mainly in Marylebone, central London: £44.1million

RADIO host Nicholas Parsons says pensioners who work after the age of 85 should get tax breaks. The 95-year-old Just A Minute presenter said: ‘They tax you on your old age pension if you start earning. Surely I, and others my age, have paid into the system all our years? Once you get to 85 or 90 they should say: “Well, you have been paying into the system for years. From now on, we won’t tax you.”’