Rishi Sunak's wife Akshata to pay UK taxes on overseas income amid row
- Akshata Murthy, has avoided up to 20 million Euros in UK tax
- She is being targeted by the Opposition over her not paying taxes
- Now, she has told the BBC that she will be paying UK tax on "all worldwide income"
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak's wife, Akshata Murthy, has agreed to pay UK taxes on all worldwide income. The couple has faced backlash after it was revealed that she has avoided up to 20 million Euros (around Rs 197 crore) in UK tax.
The daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, Akshata is being targeted by the Opposition over her not paying taxes because she has non-domicile tax status. Now, she has told the BBC that she will be paying UK tax on "all worldwide income."
Akshata, Sunak's wife, has done nothing illegal by the laws of Britain; she is entitled to not pay certain UK taxes under British law. Although, she earns tens of millions of dollars, yet pays zero taxes on much of it, which creates a negative perception. It made the front pages of several British newspapers.
The Finance minister has accused the opposition of launching a “smear campaign” against his wife.
In a statement before his wife's announcement, Sunak told The Sun that "it would not be reasonable or fair to ask her to sever ties with her country just because she is married to me."
"She loves her country. Like I love mine. Every single penny she earns in the UK she pays UK taxes on," he added.
Akshata said in her statement explaining her decision to pay UK taxes on overseas income said she did not want her non-domiciled status to be a "distraction" to her husband.
She emphasized that she was making the change "because I want to, not because the rules require it", adding that the change will take place immediately.
Akshata Murty owns around 0.93% share of the Bengaluru-based Infosys, valued at almost $1 billion at current prices, according to Bloomberg. She receives around 11.5 million Euros (Rs 11.56 crore) in annual dividends from her stake in the company.
The latest controversy comes at a time when Sunak’s popularity is at an all-time low. In the past few weeks, he faced enormous backlash for his mini-budget, which was widely criticised for not doing enough to address the cost of living crisis in the country, sparked by soaring energy and fuel prices and the Coronavirus pandemic.
The couple also faced questions about Infosys’ presence in Russia at a time when the UK was imposing stringent sanctions on Russia amid the war in Ukraine. Subsequently, the tech giant decided to shut its Russia office.