UK Opposition Questions Non-Dom Tax Status of Finance Minister’s Wife

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Britain’s main opposition Labour Party has urged finance minister Rishi Sunak to explain why his wife has claimed non-dom status, which allows her not to pay tax in the UK for her foreign income.

Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty, whose father is an Indian billionaire, is an Indian citizen and holds non-dom status, which means her permanent home is considered outside of the UK.

Though she is still liable for UK tax on income made in this country, her non-dom status allows her not to pay UK tax on foreign income unless it is brought into the UK.

Labour said on Wednesday that Sunak must “urgently explain how much he and his family have saved on their own tax bill at the same time he was putting taxes up for millions of working families.”

A spokeswoman for Murty confirmed she holds non-dom status and 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.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said on Thursday: “The chancellor has imposed tax rise after tax rise on working people. And he’s said time and again there’s no alternative, we’ve got no option.

“If it now transpires that his wife has used schemes to reduce her own tax then that’s breathtaking hypocrisy, and only goes to show it’s more evidence of just how out of touch this chancellor is. And I think he’s got very, very serious questions to answer in relation to these schemes.”

Speaking to Sky News on Thursday morning, Labour’s shadow climate secretary Ed Miliband acknowledged that it is “legal” for Sunak’s wife to claim non-dom status, but asked if it is “right” for her to do so.

“He is the UK chancellor asking people to pay more in taxes. Is it right that his immediate family is sheltering from UK taxes? I think Rishi Sunak and his family should reflect on that.”

In response to Labour’s questions, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told Sky News it was “completely unfair” to scrutinise the tax affairs of Sunak’s wife, who is not a politician.

Also speaking on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to comment on Murty’s tax status.

“I think it is very important in politics if you possibly can to try and keep people’s families out of it,” he said when asked about the issue during a visit to Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Alexander Zhang

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