Rishi Sunak's Family Tax Status 'Offended Sense Of Fair Play,' Minister Admits

A Whitehall inquiry is reportedly under way over how the chancellor's wife's non-dom status was revealed to the media.
Malthouse defended Sunak and his wife, saying he believed they had 'complied with the absolute letter of the law, where tax is concerned'
Malthouse defended Sunak and his wife, saying he believed they had 'complied with the absolute letter of the law, where tax is concerned'
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A government minister has admitted Rishi Sunak’s family tax arrangements had to be changed because they “offended a sense of fair play”.

Kit Malthouse said the current cost of living crisis meant it was “not a brilliant time” for the chancellor’s tax affairs to be made public.

The Independent revealed earlier this week that Sunak’s billionaire wife, Akshata Murty, had “non-dom” status — allowing her to avoid UK tax on her vast foreign income, which she derives from her father’s Indian firm, Infosys.

Following a significant backlash, Murty said she would now pay UK tax on all her worldwide wealth, saying she did not want the issue to be a “distraction” for her husband.

It has been reported that a Whitehall leak inquiry has been launched to find out who passed on Murty’s non-dom status to the media.

Speaking to the BBC1’s Sunday Morning programme, Malthouse said the U-turn over Murty’s tax status came about after the couple “recognised that it offended against the sense of fair play”.

“Obviously it is not a brilliant time for it to come out,” he added.

“We are all struggling with the choices in government we are having to make around the balance between assisting with the cost of living crisis and funding critical services like the NHS.”

He added: “People’s tax affairs are private and should be private and should not be revealed unless they want them to be revealed.

“Obviously in this circumstance it is has been distressing and difficult for them as a family. I think he would naturally want to understand how their personal confidential information was accessed.

“We need to think about the integrity of our tax system.”

Murty’s non-dom status was perfectly legal and she paid UK takes on the income she earned in this country, but the revelation that his wife had managed to avoid tax at a time her husband was increasing it for millions of workers caused controversy.

As well as the furore over his wife’s non-dom status, Sunak is also in hot water after it was confirmed that he continued to hold a US green card 18 months into his role in No. 11. Green cards require holders to declare the US as their permanent residence.

A spokeswoman for Sunak said “all laws and rules have been followed and full taxes have been paid where required in the duration he held his green card”.

The Independent then also reported that the chancellor had been listed as a beneficiary of tax haven trusts linked to Murty in the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands.

The revelations rounded off a tough few weeks for Sunak who had struggled to get a good reception to his spring statement.

Instead, the chancellor was criticised for not doing enough to tackle the soaring energy bills and rising inflation that is hammering household finances.

Asked by Sky News whether the controversy meant Sunak’s political career was “toast”, Malthouse replied: “Rishi Sunak has been a remarkable force for good in this country over the last two years.

“He put in place some incredible support schemes during the pandemic at enormous speed.

“He is a smart, clever, committed politician who came into parliament with me and I have been deeply impressed by him ever since.

“I’m a big fan.”


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