HMRC pockets £8m from the enormous demand for Rolex watches

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Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has emerged as one of the surprise beneficiaries of the booming demand for Rolex watches after it was revealed that the brand’s UK subsidiary paid twice as much tax in 2017 as it did the year before.

Financial accounts for The Rolex Watch Company Ltd, filed with Companies House this week, show HMRC collected £8.06m from the business last year, 90% more than the £4.3m it took in 2016.

The increase is down to the unprecedented level of profit growth that Rolex enjoyed in the UK last year.

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Profits at the business almost doubled from £22m to £42m, with tax officials helping themselves to 19.25% of that figure.

Corporation tax in the UK was lowered from 20% to 19% back in April last year, and will reduce further to 17% from 1 April 2020, the report noted.

In the accounts, The Rolex Watch Company Ltd described itself as a “responsible tax payer who is committed to being compliant with tax law and practice in the UK”.

It stated: “The company has a strong reputation for trust and therefore looks to maintain this in its approach to tax compliance through paying the correct amount of tax at the correct time and to engage with HMRC in an open and transparent way.”

Rolex sales in the UK topped £329m last year as the business cited improvements in product mix, price and volume as key reasons for its enormous growth.

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Andrew Seymour

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