In the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak Minister of Finance at the heart of a media and tax storm


UNITED KINGDOM – After the strong criticism concerning the millions saved in taxes by his extremely wealthy wife, the setbacks are linked for the British Minister of Finance Rishi Sunak, whose tax provisions go badly this Saturday April 9 in full crisis of the power of purchase.

Rishi Sunak has been accused of hypocrisy after admitting that until last year he had a US “green card” granting him permanent resident status in the United States, where he has filed tax returns while a British minister.

According to his spokesperson quoted by the BBC, “he continued to use his green card to travel. When he first traveled to the United States as a minister, he spoke to the American authorities in order to make the right decision”. In October 2021, he waived this card.

The problems began earlier this week for the minister when the press revealed that his wife Akshata Murty, an Indian billionaire whose fortune exceeds that of the Queen of England, benefited from a privileged tax status allowing her not to pay taxes to the tax authorities of his Majesty on his income received abroad (status known as “non-dom” for “non-domiciled”).

Lack of transparency

This statute was introduced in 1799 by Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, to allow wealthy plantation owners in the colonies to shelter the resulting income from the tax authorities. It now typically applies to foreign-born taxpayers who spend most of their time on British soil but nevertheless consider their permanent residence to be abroad.

Taxpayers with “non-dom” status must apply for an exemption if their overseas income exceeds 2,000 pounds sterling (2,200 euros). Akshata Murty, of Indian nationality, had to pay 30,000 pounds to continue to benefit from his status.

If she announced on Friday that she would give up her benefits so as not to be a “distraction” for her husband, Rishi Sunak “has tried several times to cover her tracks” concerning her family’s tax arrangements, Labor MP Louise Haigh denounced on Saturday. at the microphone of the BBC.

Akshata Murty didn’t break any laws but “the problem is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not been transparent (…) about his wife’s tax status. He was not transparent about the fact that he held a green card in the United States and filed tax returns there. Not just when he was a member of parliament but when he was finance minister,” she pointed out.

The old fallen darling

Friday, the British newspaper The Independent also revealed that Rishi Sunak was one of the beneficiaries of trusts in the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands – two tax havens – set up to manage his wife’s tax affairs.

According to a spokesperson close to the Sunak family, “no one in Akshata’s family is aware of the existence” of these trusts. “Dirtying my wife to get at me is awful”, denounced the minister in an interview with the tabloid The Sun on Friday, adding that his wife, who is of Indian nationality, had “paid tax in the UK on every penny she earned” in that country.

Be that as it may, the cascading revelations concerning the minister and his wife go wrong at a time when British households are strangled by major price increases.

Still a little darling of the Conservatives, the popularity of the eloquent 41-year-old minister collapsed after he announced aid measures deemed far from commensurate with the historic fall in purchasing power . When Prime Minister Boris Johnson was mired in his “partygate” business, these parties organized while the country was in confinement, Rishi Sunak was cited as one of his possible replacements at 10 Downing Street.

See also on The HuffPost: Johnson Apologizes for Lockdown Downing Street Party


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