This content was published on Apr 07, 2022 – 13:41
Britain’s finance minister, Rishi Sunak, mired in a crisis over a rising cost of living, came under fire on Thursday after it emerged that his ultra-rich wife is in a position to avoid UK taxes.
Akshata Murthy, daughter of billionaire co-founder of Indian tech group Infosys, has “non-resident” (different from “non-resident”) status, which allows no taxes to be paid in the country on overseas income.
This means that her permanent address is considered outside the UK, although she and Sunak occupy an official residence in Downing Street.
According to the Independent newspaper, which published the information, this situation allowed him to save millions of pounds in taxes, including dividends from his stake in Infosys.
“Akshata Murthy is an Indian national, the country of her birth and her parents,” a spokeswoman said.
“India does not allow its citizens to hold the citizenship of another country simultaneously. Therefore, under UK law, Murthy is treated as a non-resident for UK tax purposes,” she added. “He has always paid UK tax on all his British income and will continue to do so,” he said.
That status is legal, but the news has been unwelcome by Britons, who are seeing their purchasing power dwindle amid historically high inflation, rising energy bills and, as of Wednesday, an increase in Social Security contributions.
Opposition Labor MP Ed Miliband denounced: “At a time when people’s finances are under pressure and Rishi Sunak is raising taxes, claiming they pay for public services, his close family keeps a large portion of their income from the British treasury.” BBC.
Richard Murphy, a professor at the University of Sheffield and co-founder of the NGO Tax Justice Network, questioned Murthy’s explanation.
“Domestic has nothing to do with a person’s nationality,” he wrote on Twitter.
The 41-year-old Conservative, at the time considered the front-runner to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister, came under fire in March for his new budget measures, calling them elitist and far from the real situation for the majority of Britons.
His popularity plummeted in the opinion polls.
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