Rishi Sunak and his family have potentially saved tens of millions of pounds in tax thanks to his wife’s non-dom status, Labor has said as it seeks to keep the pressure on the Chancellor.
Akshata Murty announced on Friday that she would pay UK tax on all of her worldwide earnings as she did not want her financial arrangements to be a “distraction” for her husband.
The dramatic move came after Mr Sunak previously slammed the disclosure of his wife’s tax status as “libel” by opponents intended to harm him politically.
Labor and the Liberal Democrats have called on millionaire Ms Murty, who remains an Indian citizen, to pay the back taxes she saved by not having to pay UK tax on her overseas earnings.
Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said although the arrangement was legal, Mr Sunak had not been transparent about his family’s tax status at a time when he was raising taxes for millions of people.
“The Chancellor was not transparent. He has come out a number of times to try to cover his tracks and cover up,’ she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“Clearly it was legal. I think the question many people will ask is whether it was ethical and whether it was fair that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, while imposing 15 separate tax increases on the British public, enjoyed a tax scheme that allowed his household to pay far less to the tune of potentially tens of millions of pounds less.
In a statement, Ms Murty, who is to keep India as her ‘place of residence’, said she had done nothing wrong but acknowledged that some people did not see her tax status as compatible with the position. from her husband.
“I understand and appreciate the British sense of fairness and I don’t want my tax status to be a distraction to my husband or affect my family,” she said.
“I’m doing this because I want to, not because the rules require me to.”
His announcement came just hours after Mr Sunak admitted he had continued to hold a US green card – granting him permanent residence in the US – for a period while he was chancellor.
He first obtained the permit while working in the United States, and a spokeswoman said he continued to use it for travel purposes until he was notified that he was to give it up on his first official visit to the United States as chancellor.
While the spokeswoman said ‘all laws and rules’ had been followed, the revelations have led some Tory MPs to question the political judgment of a man who many believe harbors ambitions to enter at No. 10.
It comes at a time when Mr Sunak has come under heavy criticism for his failure to do more to help families struggling with the soaring cost of living, as he raised taxes to their highest level in years 1950.
While the Chancellor has publicly blamed Labor for the revelations, some around him see the hand of Downing Street amid reports of renewed tension between Boris Johnson and the man he put in charge of the nation’s finances.
At a joint press conference on Friday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Prime Minister was forced to deny claims No 10 was responsible for the briefing against Mr Sunak, insisting he was making a “ remarkable work”.
An ally of the chancellor, Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake, dismissed suggestions that his leadership credentials had been damaged, pointing to his record of supporting the economy during the pandemic.
“It takes incredible skill and incredible judgment,” he told the Today show.
Mr Hollinrake also denied Ms Murty’s non-dom status was a ‘tax dodge’, saying it was a policy backed by the Conservative and Labor governments.
“It is a deliberate policy to attract wealthy people from other countries around the world to the UK on the basis that they create jobs and create wealth in the UK which benefits everyone,” he said. he declared.
It has been estimated that Ms Murty, a fashion designer and daughter of an Indian billionaire, potentially saved up to £20million in UK tax through the arrangement.
She reportedly owns a 0.91% stake in Infosys, an IT company founded by her father, and received £11.6million in dividends from the Indian company over the past year.
Non-dom status means she would not have to pay UK tax at the rate of 39.35% on dividends.
India sets the rate for non-residents at 20%, but this rate can drop to 10% for those who are eligible to benefit from the UK tax treaty with India.
Labor also questioned whether she would use her Indian citizenship and a 1950s treaty with the UK to avoid paying inheritance tax – a move that could save tens of millions of pounds.