J.K. Rowling and Ed Sheeran Are Some of the Highest Taxpayers in the UK

By: ScreenGawk Staff | Published: Feb 02, 2024

The Sunday Times reported a contribution of £5.35 billion to UK public finances by the country’s wealthiest individuals.

Notable figures such as J.K. Rowling and Ed Sheeran are included among the UK’s highest taxpayers. This list offers a glimpse into the financial obligations fulfilled by some of the UK’s most affluent people.

Alex Gerko's Top Position

The Sunday Times’ 2024 Tax List reveals that Alex Gerko, originally from Moscow and now a British citizen, is at the top of this list.

An exhibition booth for XTX Markets featuring a large, central X-shaped display with a vibrant, illuminated logo. Flanking the central display are two smaller stands with the company's name and logo

Source: XTC Marktes/X

His estimated tax payment stands at an impressive £664.5 million for the financial year 2023, amounting to more than £1.8 million per day. Gerko founded the algorithmic trading firm XTX Markets,.

Bernie Ecclestone's Settlement

Bernie Ecclestone, former Formula 1 chief executive, made a substantial tax payment following a legal settlement. 

Bernie Ecclestone wearing a white shirt and a lanyard, is speaking on a mobile phone

Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to the BBC, “Mr. Ecclestone is a new entry after paying £650m in tax and penalties to HMRC to avoid jail.” This payment was made after he failed to declare over £400 million held in a Singapore trust in 2015.

Ecclestone's Impact on Tax Figures

The tax payment made by Bernie Ecclestone had a large impact on the total tax figure for the year. 

Bernie Ecclestone is pictured wearing sunglasses and a light brown jacket. He stands in front of a red background with a blurred black pattern

Source: Getty Images

Robert Watts of the Sunday Times told the BBC, “Bernie Ecclestone, having contributed £652.6 million this year, was a one-off win for the public finances. Without that payment, the total take on this year’s taxes would have been down on last year.”

J.K. Rowling's Contribution to UK Taxes

J.K. Rowling, the celebrated author, ranks 31st on the tax list, having paid £40 million in UK taxes in the last 12 months.

J.K. Rowling wearing elegant diamond earrings and a navy dress with rhinestone trim, and smiling

Source: Getty Images

Her contribution is an example of the significant role that individuals from the creative industry play in supporting the UK’s tax system.

Ed Sheeran's Tax Payments

Ed Sheeran, the renowned musician, stands one spot below Rowling at 32nd on the list with his tax payment of more than £36 million.

Ed Sheeran is smiling behind a microphone at a press conference. He's wearing black-rimmed glasses and a blue blazer over a black shirt

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Daily Mail reports that Sheeran is the youngest single taxpayer on the list.


Sheeran's Financial Acclaim

In May 2023, Sheeran was featured in the Sunday Times Rich List alongside notable artists like Harry Styles and Adele, as reported by NME.

Ed Sheeran is captured in a moment of performance, singing into a microphone with closed eyes

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Sheeran was named as one of the UK’s wealthiest individuals under the age of 35. At 32, he topped his fellow musicians in terms of financial success, securing 7th place with a reported fortune of £300 million.


High-Profile Taxpayers

The list includes a variety of high-profile individuals contributing to UK taxes. Among them, heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua is ranked 88th, with a tax contribution of over £12 million.

Anthony Joshua stands at a podium during a press conference. He is wearing a black T-shirt with the letters "AJBXNG" printed on it

Source: Wikimedia Commons

His inclusion, along with others from diverse backgrounds, showcases the wide range of professionals who make substantial tax payments.


Decrease in Tax Payments for Some

The Sunday Times observed that two-thirds of the individuals on the list paid less tax in 2023 than in the previous year.

The word "TAX" is spelled out with individual letter blocks placed on top of stacked golden coins against a soft green background

Source: Nataliya Vaitkevich/Pexels

This decrease could indicate a variety of economic factors influencing the tax contributions of the UK’s wealthiest individuals, but Watts speculates to the BBC that it is the result of lower profits reported by businesses.


Akshata Murty's Tax Status

Akshata Murty, the wife of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, paid tax of about £4.8 million, per the Sunday Times’ calculations.

Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murty are photographed together at a formal event. The man is wearing a classic black tuxedo with a bow tie and has a cheerful smile. The woman beside him is wearing a traditional Indian dress with intricate embroidery and is also smiling

Source: Getty Images

However, she did not meet the £10 million threshold to be included in the list. In 2022, Murty, who is the daughter of an Indian IT billionaire, agreed to pay UK taxes on all her earnings after it was revealed she had “non-dom” status, the BBC reveals.


Tax List Demographics

Only eighteen women made it to the 2024 list. This includes Denise Coates, the boss of the gambling firm Bet365, who ranked 3rd.

A photograph captures a sprawling aerial view of London, with the Thames River winding through the city. The Tower Bridge is prominent in the foreground, and the Canary Wharf district's skyscrapers can be seen in the distance

Source: Benjamin Davies/Unsplash

The BBC reports that more than a quarter of the entries in the list are based in London, and eight from South-East England. Thirteen hail from the Midlands, 11 from South-West England, and 10 from Scotland, where the top rate of tax is set to increase from 47% to 48% starting April.


Wealth and Tax Discrepancies

The BBC notes that there is an interesting discrepancy between the Sunday Times Rich List and the Tax List.

Two older men are photographed up close, smiling at a formal event. Both are wearing traditional Indian attire and glasses

Source: Getty Images

Watts said, “We do know our readers like to compare the names on the Tax List with those with the Rich List and wonder why there are not more people who feature on both lists.” The Hinduja family, who topped the 2023 Rich List, did not appear on the Tax List. Watts explained that this is because their wealth comes from businesses that are not in the UK.