Mike Ashley pays more tax than the Beckhams, according to list of how much the super-rich shell out

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley paid more than £30million in tax last year, a new list of super-rich tax payers claims today.

Sunday, 27th January 2019, 10:22 am
Updated Sunday, 27th January 2019, 10:23 am
Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley is said to have paid 30.4million in tax last year.

The businessman made the Top 50 in the inaugural Sunday Times Tax List, alongside the likes of the Beckham family and vacuum cleaner mogul Sir James Dyson.

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

Mike Ashley made his fortune as founder of the Sports Direct empire.

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The paper's rundown of the top 50 taxpayers in 2017/18 is topped by Stephen Rubin, who is the majority owner of JD Sports and was liable for £181.6million last year.

Denise, John and Peter Coates, owners of bet365, are second with a £156million tax bill, while Sir James Dyson, who recently announced plans to move his company's headquarters to Asia, is third on the list with £127.8million.

Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct, paid £30.4million in taxes last year, which wasn't even enough to get him a place in the top 10.

According to the most recent Sunday Times Rich List, published in May 2018, Ashley has a fortune of £2.437billion in 2018, an increase of £277million on the previous year's figure.

Mike Ashley branched out into department stores last year by buying House of Fraser out of administration.

Ashley has made his money by buying sportswear brands, including Donnay, Dunlop Slazenger, Karrimor, Kangol and Lonsdale.

He also has a stake in Umbro, Blacks Leisure Group (the owner of Millets and Mambo) and is thought to hold stakes in JJB Sports and JD Sports.

Last year he entered the department store industry following the acquisition of House of Fraser following administration in 2018.

And this week it has been reported that he is in talks to buy struggling music retailer HMV after it went into administration for the second time.

David and Victoria Beckham paid 12.7million in tax last year, according to the Sunday Times Tax List.

Robert Watts, who compiles the Tax List and The Sunday Times 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 Sunday Times Tax List shows which of the super-rich are contributing many of millions of pounds a year.

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

The Beckhams, 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 previously been reported the former Manchester United and England footballer was overlooked for a knighthood because of this investment, which has been subjected to scrutiny by HMRC.