Akshata Murthy, wife of Britain’s former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak and daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy and chairperson Sudha Murthy has been in the spotlight after Rishi Sunak’s lead in the upcoming prime minister elections in Britain.
Akshata, a fashion designer, met Rishi Sunak while studying at Stanford. The two got married in a two-day ceremony in Bengaluru, in 2009. The 42-year-old also came under scrutiny earlier this year due to her wealth, tax status, and links to Russia. She had a non-domicile status and did not pay taxes on her income outside Britain. Following the controversy, she said she would no longer avail of the non-domicile status and would pay taxes on her income outside Britain.
Akshata’s Russia connection?
It is reported that before becoming the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak transferred some of his company shares to Akshata’s name. Akshata has a stake in her father, Narayan Murthy’s company Infosys, now worth almost 80 billion dollars. The company has offices in Russia.
Once Russia invaded Ukraine, UK businesses that earned from Russia were frowned upon. Sunak was pulled for his wife’s income on that account to which he said, “I’m an elected politician and I’m here to talk to you about what I’m responsible for.” He denied he or his family were profiting from any business with Russia.”
Later a spokesperson for Infosys told a news channel, “Infosys supports and advocates for peace between Russia and Ukraine. Infosys has a small team of employees based out of Russia, that services some of our global clients, locally. We do not have any active business relationships with local Russian enterprises.”
Akshata’s non-domicile status?
Akshata is an Indian citizen which entitles her to not pay taxes on her overseas income in the UK. In her case, this income runs into millions. With just a 0.93 percent stake which is worth around £690 million in her father’s tech company Infosys, her dividends come close to £11.6 million.
Normally on dividends, one would pay tax to the treasury, of which her husband is in charge. Technically, her non-dom status relieved her of that tax.
This did not go down well with the UK tax-payers, especially not in line with the position her husband held.
In a statement, she said, “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.”
“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.”=-This is just the beginning, as Rishi Sunak begins his five-week countrywide campaign to woo Tory voters.