Akshata Murty takes extraordinary step amidst controversy over tax evasion, goes public with clarification; Rishi Sunak retweets wife’s thread


Akshata Murty, wife of British Chancellor Rishi Sunak has taken an extraordinary step by going public with her clarification on the controversy over her alleged tax evasion. Daughter of Indian business tycoon Narayana Murthy, Akshata has been grabbing media headlines for not paying British tax on her capital gains from Infosys running into hundreds of millions of pounds.

Akshata on Saturday took to Twitter to write a long thread, promising to pay the British tax on her capital gains from India in the future. Her husband Rishi Sunak was quick to retweet her Twitter thread.

This is what Akshata wrote, “Since arriving in the UK, I have been made to feel more welcome than I ever could have imagined, in both London and our home in North Yorkshire. This is a wonderful country.

“In recent days, people have asked questions about my tax arrangements: to be clear, I have paid tax in this country on my UK income and international tax on my international income.

“This arrangement is entirely legal and how many non-domiciled people are taxed in the UK. But it has become clear that many do not feel it is compatible with my husband’s role as Chancellor.

Also Read: Who is Akshata Murthy and why is her wealth causing political turmoil in United Kingdom?

“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. For this reason, I will no longer be claiming the remittance basis for tax.

“This means I will now pay UK tax on an arising basis on all my worldwide income, including dividends and capital gains, wherever in the world that income arises. I do this because I want to, not because the rules require me to.

“These new arrangements will begin immediately and will also be applied to the tax year just finished (21-22). Until now, I have tried to keep my professional life and my husband’s political career entirely separate.

“Since Rishi entered parliament, he has not involved himself in my business affairs and I have left politics to him. When I met him we were 24 year old business school students, living in another country, and had no idea of where life would take us.

“Rishi has always respected the fact that I am Indian and as proud of my country as he is of his. He’s never asked me to abandon my Indian citizenship, ties to India or my business affairs, despite the ways in which such a move would have simplified things for him politically.”

“He knows that my long-standing shareholding in Infosys is not just a financial investment but also testament to my father’s work, of which I am incredibly proud.

“My decision to pay UK tax on all my worldwide income will not change the fact that India remains the country of my birth, citizenship, parents’ home and place of domicile. But I love the UK too.

“In my time here I have invested in British businesses and supported British causes. My daughters are British. They are growing up in in the UK. I am so proud to be here.”

What’s the controversy?

The bone of contention is Akshata’s 0.9% stake in Infosys, a software giant that her father Narayana founded. It’s believed that her 0.9% stake in Infosys is worth £500m but she has not been paying tax in the United Kingdom on her financial gains from India.

Akshata Murthy has in her defence that she was not liable to pay tax on her wealth parked in India due to her non-domicile status, which exempts her from paying any UK taxes on her international income.

What appeared to irk the opposition parties in the UK was Sunak’s decision to levy additional tax on the British population when his own wife was using loopholes in the UK tax law to avoid paying taxes on her international income.