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07th Apr 2022

Rishi Sunak’s millionaire heiress wife claims ‘non-domicile’ for tax purposes

Danny Jones

Rishi Sunak's wife claims non-domicile status to avoid paying tax

Her non-dom status means she avoids major UK tax payments

The Labour Party has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to “urgently explain” how much his family has saved on tax bills already after his wife claimed non-domicile status.

Both shadow climate secretary Ed Milliband and deputy leader Angela Rayner have blasted the declaration and are arguing for a proper inquest to be held. Milliband told GMB the decision was unfair and needs to be looked at; Rayner simply said, “Rishi Sunak is laughing at you”, adding that he has his own “important questions” to answer about holdings in his wife’s company.

The exact figure millionaire Akshata Murthy is said to have saved over the years is not yet known, however, it is thought that estimates could amount to millions of pounds in tax on foreign earnings, sources told the Independent.

Her non-domicile status would mean that not only will she have saved seemingly millions already, she also no longer has to pay UK tax on income from dividends from foreign investments, rental payments on property overseas – holding offices in India, America, China, the Middle East and across Europe – or bank interest.

It also means she personally avoids having to pay any UK inheritance tax, being the heiress to the fortune of billionaire, Narayana Murthy, one of the richest men in India and the world. Her own personal wealth is currently thought to be upwards of £430 million – more than Queen Elizabeth II.

Murthy’s Indian-based tech firm, Infosys, was put under the spotlight following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with pressure leading her to close the company’s offices in Russia.

A spokesperson for Ms Murthy said: “Akshata Murthy 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.”

Tory MPs like Sir John Redwood says “It’s a great shame people result to these tactics against a public figure”, adding that he believes Murthy has “behaved honourably”, and business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said her treatment in the media has been “completely unfair”, insisting she has always been “transparent” with her business dealings.

Nevertheless, as the former Labour leader Milliband put it, “There is a question for the chancellor to answer about his immediate family and them shieling themselves from UK taxes because at a time when the chancellor is raising taxes on families across our country, I think there are real questions to answer.”

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