Construction’s biggest taxpayers revealed

Construction has more entries than any other sector in a list of the largest individual taxpayers in the UK, an analysis has found.

The Sunday Times Tax List, which examines financial accounts to establish the biggest amounts of tax paid by individuals and families, said 12 building-company shareholders and executives joined its new top-100 ranking.

They accounted for £481.6m of the £5.35bn shelled out in tax by the top 100 payers. The analysis is based on the last financial years of companies owned by shareholders. The next-highest sectors were property and retail, with nine entries each.

Some £118.1m was paid by John Bloor, owner of Bloor Homes as well as motorcycle company Triumph. He was ninth on the overall list and first among building-company shareholders.

JCB owner Lord Bamford and his family were 17th overall, paying £67.8m.

The highest-placed contractor shareholders were J Murphy & Sons’ Kathy and John Murphy in 24th place with £48.2m paid, just ahead of Sir James Wates and his family in joint 27th with £43.6m.

They ranked higher than both Harry Potter author JK Rowling in 31st and pop star Ed Sheeran in joint 32nd place.

The Murphys dropped from 19th in the previous edition of the list, when their tax payment was analysed as amounting to £59.8m.

Murphy’s latest accounts saw pre-tax profit drop by £17.1m to £44.6m, on turnover of £1.5bn.

The Wates family was up from 38th in the 2023 list, when its tax payment was £37m.

Company chair Sir James Wates said in the company’s latest annual report: “Our commitment to being a good corporate citizen is reflected in the emphasis we put on our responsibilities to paying tax in the UK.”

Most companies from all sectors on the list paid less tax in their latest accounts than their prior ones, which mostly reflected lower profits generating smaller corporation tax bills, the newspaper said.

The analysis considers that an individual or family’s share of a business’s taxes is the same as the percentage of the company they own.

The Kirkland family, owners of Bowmer & Kirkland, were in 54th place with £21m in tax paid, while FM Conway chief executive Joanne Conway and her family came in 63rd with £18.5m.

Keltbray’s executive chairman Brendan Kerr was 90th on the list, having paid £11.9m.

Other construction-related names on the list included kitchen manufacturer Wren’s Malcolm Healey (21st) with £52.1m; Redrow ex-boss and major shareholder Steve Morgan (34th) with £36.2m; Portakabin owners the Shepherd family (35th) with £35.1m; FP McCann shareholder Eoin McCann and his family (77th) with £14.4m; and Walters Group owners Dai and Richard Walters (80th) with £14.2m.

The Sunday Times analysis was based on accounts filed up to 16 January and includes corporation tax, dividend tax, capital gains tax, income tax, employer’s national insurance tax, and gambling and alcohol duties. Full coverage of the tax list can be read here.

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