The chancellor of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, questioned about the ‘non-dom’ tax status of the millionaire wife

British Chancellor Rishi Sunak is facing lawsuits to answer “very serious questions” about his family’s finances after it emerged his wife has tax-reducing non-domiciled status.

Kshata Murty, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of euros, confirmed the arrangement, which means she is not legally required to pay tax in Britain on foreign income.

Murty, the fashion designer daughter of a billionaire, who married the chancellor in 2009, insists she pays tax on all UK income and said the facility is necessary because she is an Indian citizen.

However, experts questioned it.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng defended the deal as “in order” while criticizing the scrutiny of Ms Murty’s finances as “completely unfair”.

But he couldn’t rule out whether the status is being used to cut taxes.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined to comment on the revelation.

He said it’s important to keep families out of politics “if possible.”

But Labor Party leader Sir Keir Starmer demanded answers, saying Sunak could be guilty of “stunning hypocrisy” if his wife cuts her own tax bill while the chancellor increases national insurance for millions of Britons.

Ms Murty confirmed her non-dom status after the Independent website first reported the deal on the day the UK national insurance hike came into effect on Wednesday.

It means that their permanent home is considered to be outside the UK even though the Sunaks live in Downing Street.

Kwarteng said the chancellor’s wife pays taxes “offshore,” but could not say where when asked if she pays all foreign taxes in India or in a tax haven like the Cayman Islands.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today program if Ms. Murty is a tax evader, Mr. Kwarteng replied, “I don’t know anything about her tax affairs.

“What I do know is that she has been very clear about the fact that she is an Indian citizen. Once she has lived here for 15 years, the non-domiciled status disappears, so that will happen in a few years, I don’t know when. As far as I’m concerned, that’s good enough for me and I think we can move forward with that story.”

Mr. Starmer Keir said: “The Chancellor has imposed one tax increase after another on workers and has said over and over again that there is no alternative, we have no choice.

“If it now transpires that his wife has used schemes to cut her own taxes, then that is shocking hypocrisy and further evidence of how out of touch this chancellor is, and I think he has very, very serious questions to answer in relation to these schemes. .”

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband argued it’s “legitimate” to ask questions when Sunak said he’s raising taxes to pay for utilities while “his immediate family (is) shielding a large part of their income from UK taxes.

“I think there’s a legitimate public question about whether that’s the right decision because he’s the guy asking us to pay more taxes,” he told BBC Breakfast.

Mr. Kwarteng dismissed the accusation as false, saying “‘taking refuge’ sounds like you’re avoiding things.”

“I think she has been very clear, she has been very transparent, the chancellor has been very transparent and this non-dom status has been part of the UK tax system for over 200 years,” he told BBC Breakfast.

A spokeswoman for Ms Murty confirmed that she has non-dom status after the reports surfaced.

“Akshata Murty is a citizen of India, the country of her birth and the home of her parents,” the spokeswoman said.

“India does not allow its citizens to hold the citizenship of another country simultaneously.

“So, under UK law, Ms Murty is treated as non-domiciled for UK tax purposes.

“She has always paid and will continue to pay UK tax on all her UK income.”

Professor Richard Murphy, the University of Sheffield academic who co-founded the Tax Justice Network, disputed his statement, insisting that being a non-dom is a “choice” that he can give up.

“Domicile has nothing to do with a person’s nationality,” he said.

“In other words, the claims made in the statement issued by Ms Murty are incorrect and, as evidence, the fact that a person has Indian citizenship will never automatically give them non-dom status in the UK.”

Mr Sunak is understood to have declared his wife’s tax status when he became minister in 2018 and the Treasury was also in the loop to be able to handle any potential conflicts.

Ms. Murty is listed on LinkedIn as Equity Director at private equity firm Catamaran Ventures, gym chain Digme Fitness, and menswear outfitters New & Lingwood.

It is also reported that he has a 0.91% stake in Infosys, which was founded by his father, now a billionaire.

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