Akshata Murty, wife of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, said that she will pay taxes in the United Kingdom (UK) following a row over her non-domicile status, according to a BBC report.
Her non-dom status exempts her from paying UK taxes on her overseas income. She owns almost a billion dollars in Infosys, which was co-founded by her father.
However, after accusations of hypocrisy against her husband by the Opposition, she said that she would pay tax on her overseas income as many feel it is not compatible with her husband’s role as chancellor, adding that her tax arrangements had been completely legal.
This announcement came soon after opposition parties claimed that the chancellor’s family is benefiting while the cost of living is going up.
In her statement, she said that she will be paying UK taxes on her worldwide income, which includes dividends and capital gains, wherever in the world that income arises.
She said that she is not doing this because the rule requires her to. "These new arrangements will begin immediately and will also be applied to the tax year just finished (2021-22)," she added.
"I understand and appreciate the British sense of fairness and I do not wish my tax status to be a distraction for my husband or to affect my family."Akshata Murty
What Were the Opposition's Claims?
The 42-year-old owns shares worth almost a billion dollars in Infosys, according to the company's disclosure to the stock exchange. The couple owns at least four properties, including a five-bedroom house in Kensington in London which is worth 7 million pounds.
The Opposition had written to Sunak asking whether his wife had paid foreign tax in India or in a tax haven such as Cayman Islands. They had asked if the chancellor benefits from her tax arrangements.
Liberal Democrats had urged him to ban the partners of ministers from claiming a non-dom status, referring to it as a loophole.
However, since Akshata is a citizen of India and India does not allow its citizens to hold citizenship of two countries simultaneously, she is treated as a non-domicile citizen for tax purposes.
Angela Rayner, Labour party leader, questioned her tax arrangement while others were "feeling the pinch" of the cost of living crisis. "Once again… senior government ministers seem to be taking the public for fools," she said.
In response to this, the chancellor accused his Opposition of ‘smearing’ his wife in order to get at him.
(Sources: BBC and NDTV)