Tax experts have criticised the “disingenuous” explanation given by the wife of chancellor Rishi Sunak for claiming non-dom status.
Akshata Murty, who married Sunak in 2009, owns a stake in Indian technology company Infosys, founded by her father, and thought to be worth more than £500mn.
Her spokesperson confirmed on Thursday that she holds non-domiciled status in the UK, which allows her to earn money abroad without paying tax in Britain for a period of up to 15 years.
The row comes after Sunak’s political standing tumbled following the Spring Statement. According to ConservativeHome, a grassroots party website, the chancellor has become one of the least popular members of the cabinet.
Arun Advani, assistant professor at the University of Warwick, who recently published research on the UK’s non-dom population, said Murty’s reported statement seemed “disingenuous”.
He tweeted: “Citizenship has nothing to do with whether you choose to/not to claim remittance basis in the UK. Most non-citizens are not claiming it, and some citizens are claiming it (and, to be clear, this is allowed).”
Murty’s spokesperson said that, as a citizen of India, she is unable to hold citizenship of another country, after the story about her tax status was first reported in the Independent.
“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,” they said.
The statement suggested that Murty did not have a choice in her non-dom status, which is incorrect, according to tax experts. Under the UK tax rules, even if she is considered to be non-domiciled based on her connections to India, she would have actively had to claim the status by ticking a box on her tax return and paying a fee.
“It implied she was forced to be non-domiciled. That is a total nonsense,” said a partner in an accountancy firm and non-dom status specialist.
As well as allowing Murty to…
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