Rishi Sunak has been cleared by a standards watchdog over his wife’s non-dom status and his US green card.
The Chancellor faced difficult questions over his tax affairs after admitting he held onto his US residency card for years after becoming a government minister.
He and his wife, Akshata Murty, held green cards while they lived in America in the 2000s, and kept their status after returning to the UK.
They were reported to have continued declaring themselves ‘permanent US residents’ for tax purposes.
Concerns were also raised over Ms Murty’s tax status and her shareholding in Indian tech firm Infosys, while living in Downing Street.
These questions continued to follow the Chancellor around as he took interviewes with reporters.
But today Lord Geitdt, the advisor on ministerial standards today cleared him of wrongdoing.
In advice to the Prime Minister, Lord Geidt wrote: ‘I advise that the requirements of the ministerial code have been adhered to by the Chancellor and that he has been assiduous in meeting his obligations and in engaging with this investigation.
‘In reaching these judgments, I am confined to the question of conflicts of interest and the requirements of the ministerial code.
‘My role does not touch on any wider question of the merits of such interests or arrangements.’
As stories of Sunak’s tax affairs began to emerge early this month, a spokesman confirmed he kept his US residency until 19 months after becoming Chancellor.
He was said to have returned it immediately after seeking guidance from officials on his first trip to the US in an official capacity in October 2021.
The status will not have exempted Mr Sunak from paying taxes on money earned in the UK, and will have required him to pay some taxes to the US government on income earned abroad.
Giving up his green card will have affected his tax requirements in the US, although whether it would have made him worse or better off depends on details of his financial arrangements which remain unknown.
Holding a green card amounts to committing to make the US your ‘permanent home’ – which is at odds with his decision to stand for Parliament.
Sunak has been an MP since 2015 and a minister since 2018. The Chancellor and his wife own a £5.5 million penthouse holiday home in California, where they usually spend parliamentary recess.
The admission shone the spotlight on his wife’s non-dom status, which allows her to avoid paying UK tax on foreign earnings as she one day planned to return to live in India.
She is thought to have saved some £4.4million in taxes thanks to her status, which ministers say ensures money earned abroad by foreigners is not double-taxed.
Ms Murty, 42, paid £30,000 a year to register as based in India, insisted she hasn’t ‘done anything wrong’ and accused critics of ‘smearing her to get at him’.
She later said she would pay UK tax on her worldwide income in a move to save her husband’s career that will likely cost her millions per year.
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