British finance minister Rishi Sunak's wife agrees to pay more tax on foreign income

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Updated: Apr 09, 2022, 12:48 PM(IST)

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (R) pose with his wife Akshata Murthy (L) for pictures during a reception to celebrate the British Asian Trust at The British Museum on February 9, 2022 in London. Photograph:( AFP )

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Sunak's wife Akshata Murthy, daughter of Indian billionaire NR Narayana Murthy, was apparently able to save millions of pounds in tax on dividends, which are collected from her family's IT business

British finance minister Rishi Sunak's wife, Akshata Murthy, has agreed to pay more tax on foreign income.

"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," she said.

"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".

Murty stressed that she was making the change "because I want to, not because the rules require me to", adding that the new arrangements will begin "immediately".

Sunak's wife Akshata Murthy, daughter of Indian billionaire NR Narayana Murthy, was apparently able to save millions of pounds in tax on dividends, which are collected from her family's IT business. 

Last year, she earned a dividend payment worth 11.6 million pounds ($15.1 million) as she owns about 0.9 per cent of Indian IT giant Infosys. 

Also read | UK's Rishi Sunak uses Will Smith- Chris Rock Oscar slap in remarks on wife's Infosys-Russia link

Since 2015, she has received 54.5 million pounds ($71 million) in dividends from the family company as per an estimate by 'The Guardian' newspaper.

It claimed that her status allowed her to avoid paying 20 million pounds of tax to the British exchequer.

Sunak has accused critics of mounting a "smear" campaign against his wealthy Indian wife. He told Friday's edition of The Sun newspaper that "to smear my wife to get at me is awful".

His popularity has plummeted in recent weeks after a surge in consumer prices. The public anger over Murthy's tax status has been heightened by her husband's decision to increase payroll taxes.

Rejecting criticism against Sunak, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Rishi is doing an absolutely outstanding job." 

Britons are currently facing the biggest cost-of-living squeeze since records began in 1956.

(With inputs from agencies)

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