William Grant & Sons chairman becomes UK's second highest taxpayer

William Grant & Sons chairman Glenn Gordon was Britain’s second highest taxpayer in the last financial year, according to the Sunday Times Tax List.

Bet365 chief executive Denise Coates took top spot for the second consecutive year after being handed a £573 million bill for 2019/20 from the Treasury.

Gordon, the billionaire businessman who chairs the Glenfiddich and Hendricks producer, was second on the list. He and his family had a tax liability of £436 million on wealth of £3.19 billion, according to the Sunday Times Tax List.

This came about due to tax paid on an exceptional £982.5 million in dividends to shareholders at William Grant.

Gordon was considerably ahead of the third largest taxpayers, Betfred owners Fred and Peter Done who paid £191 million. Wetherspoons owner Tim Martin paid £39 million, leaving him 17th on the list.

Just 17 of the 50 top taxpayers in the UK paid more in 2019/20 than they did the previous year. The total paid only increased because of the exceptional dividends at William Grant a change in the list’s methodology, which now counts gambling duties paid by gambling companies.

“These numbers illustrate that when some wealthy people prosper our public finances do feel a benefit,” said Robert Watts, who was in charge of compiling the list. “After the pandemic has passed, the Chancellor will need to maximise income from these individuals without driving them or their businesses away from the UK.”