Why is Rishi Sunak’s wife allowed to avoid tax by claiming non-dom status?

Slimy: Sunak.

Insult upon injury: remember the indirect income Rishi Sunak was getting via his wife’s interest in a company connected to Russia? It seems she wasn’t even paying tax on it!

So Sunak has saved millions of pounds from his own family’s tax bill while piling massive tax hikes on the hard-working people of the UK.

What a shocking betrayal of his duties as Chancellor.

Here are the facts as they are understood at the time of writing:

Rishi Sunak’s millionaire wife has claimed non-domicile status in order to save on her tax bill while her husband was chancellor.

Akshata Murthy, whose family business is estimated to be worth around £3.5bn, has continued to use the valuable tax status even after Mr Sunak was put in charge of setting taxes for the country in February 2020, according to two people familiar with her financial arrangements.

So-called ‘non-dom’ status is entirely lawful and can save an individual from paying UK tax on income from dividends from foreign investments, rental payments on property overseas or bank interest. The status also means that you avoid UK inheritance tax.

The decision to pay less tax through non-dom status is optional.

It is not known exactly how much has been saved by Ms Murthy but sources told The Independent it could have saved her millions of pounds in tax on foreign earnings over several years.

In a statement issued after publication, a spokesperson for Ms Murthy claimed that she had to use non-dom status because of her Indian citizenship.

The spokesperson said: “Akshata Murty is a citizen of India, the country of her birth and parent’s home.

“India does not allow its citizens to hold the citizenship of another country simultaneously. So, according to British law, Ms Murty is treated as non-domiciled for UK tax purposes. She has always and will continue to pay UK taxes on all her UK income.”

Doesn’t look good, does it?

The Independent article provides an analysis of what Ms Murthy could have saved, in comparison with what a UK citizen would have paid, on her Infosys income:

Dividends from Infosys calculated from Ms Murthy’s stake in the company, of 0.93 per cent – worth approximately £725 million based on recent market valuations – suggest the payments could have totalled around £11.6 million in the past year.

As a non-dom, Ms Murthy would not have had to pay tax on these dividend payments in the UK. That compares to an ordinary UK resident, who, paying tax on dividends at the so-called ‘additional rate’ (for all dividend payments over the personal allowance) would have to pay tax of 38.1 per cent on the payouts.

The special status could therefore have saved her a bill of around £4.4m in tax, although she may have incurred tax liabilities overseas.

There you have it.

Sunak seems to have enjoyed huge – indirect – tax breaks through his wife while inflicting the highest tax burden in more than 70 years on the rest of us.

If she’s only allowed to be Indian, is it time Ms Murthy slunk back there, taking her slimy husband with her?

Source: Revealed: Rishi Sunak’s millionaire wife avoids tax through non-dom status | The Independent

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