Rishi Sunak questioned about his wife’s tax status as a non-dom

24/09/2020. London, United Kingdom. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak holds a Covid-19 Press Conference in 10 Downing Street. Picture by Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street.

LONDON, (Parliament Politics Magazine) – After it was revealed that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife benefits from a tax-saving plan, he has been urged to “come clean” about his family’s financial affairs.

Akshata Murty has non-dom status, which means she is exempt from paying UK tax on income generated outside the country.

Ms Murty makes money from shares she owns in an Indian software conglomerate that her billionaire father found.

Her representative said that she pays all UK taxes due, but Labour demanded full transparency.

Non-dom status can be given to those who live in the UK but plan to return to their home country under the laws.

Ms Murty is an Indian citizen with strong family links to the country. According to the BBC, she has stated that she would like to return to the country in the future.

According to the laws, if she stayed in the UK for 15 years, she would automatically lose her non-dom status, but she has refused to identify when this happened.

Mr Sunak has very serious questions to answer concerning his family’s finances, according to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

If it turned out that his wife exploited tax avoidance tactics while he raised taxes on working people, that’s astounding hypocrisy, Sir Keir remarked.

It only went to demonstrate how out of touch this chancellor was at a time when millions of people’s taxes were rising, he added.

The chancellor was written to by the Labour, asking if he had profited financially from Ms Murty’s tax status.

Sunak now needed to open up about the country his family pays tax in abroad to and if it was a tax haven, said Christine Jardine, spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats Treasury.

The Lib Dems have pushed Mr Sunak to close a “loophole” that allows ministers’ partners to claim non-dom status.

Mr Sunak was backed by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who said it was absolutely unreasonable to investigate Ms Murty’s tax affairs because she “is not a politician.”

He also dismissed suggestions from the opposition that Ms Murty was “sheltering” from UK taxes.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson responded to Mr Sunak’s criticism of his wife’s tax troubles by saying, “I think it’s very important in politics to keep people’s families out of it.”

Mr Sunak told the BBC last week that seeing his wife being criticised in the media was extremely hurtful because she was not an elected official.

He thinks she had been very open, the chancellor had been very transparent, and that non-dom status had been part of the UK tax system for more than 200 years, he told BBC Breakfast.

Kourtney Spak

Kourtney Spak is an american journalist and political commentator. Her journalism career focuses on American domestic policy and also foreign affairs. She also writes on environment, climate change and economy.