Rishi Sunak faces a 'whole list of concerns' amid tax row
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The Liberal Democrats have called for an inquiry into whether Mr Sunak breached US immigration regulations after he admitted to holding a green card while already working in Government. The party argues US residents are banned from “running for political office in a foreign country”.
Mr Sunak’s permit granted him permanent residence in the US until October 2021 – more than a year after moving into No11.
He initially obtained the green card while working in America but handed it back when seeking official guidance ahead of his first official trip as Chancellor.
Layla Moran, the Lib Dems’ foreign affairs spokeswoman, has now written to White House officials urging them to launch an inquiry based on US documents that state “running for political office in a foreign country” and “voting in foreign elections” constitutes “evidence indicating abandonment of [US] residence”.
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In a letter to Alejandro Mayorkas, the American Secretary of Homeland Security, and Charles Rettig, the US Commissioner of Internal Revenue, she asked the Biden Administration to investigate whether or not Mr Sunak should have held the permit when seeking to become the MP for North Yorkshire in 2015 and, later, when he took the job as Chancellor.
According to the Treasury, Mr Sunak followed “all laws and rules”.
Ms Moran’s request also addresses the financial affairs of Ms Sunak’s family as it points out how the Chancellor and his wife, Akshata Murty, “continued to file tax returns in the United States while he was in apparent breach of these rules”.
Ms Murty, who owns £700million in shares of the Indian IT giant Infosys, founded by her father, last week announced she would start paying UK tax on her overseas earnings.
She received £11.6million in dividend income from the company last year.
While she will now pay tax on her overseas earnings, her domicile remains India, where she has said she intends to eventually return.
Mr Sunak said he had informed the Cabinet Office when he first became a government minister in 2018 of his wife’s non-dom status.
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Sunak's wife Akshata Murty will pay UK tax on overseas income
The label applies to anyone who is a tax resident in the UK but does not have to pay UK tax on income and capital gains earned overseas — including on company stocks or cash made from selling a second home — unless they bring their money into the UK or deposit it into a UK bank account.
In the wake of the controversy over Ms Murty’s tax affairs, Mr Sunak’s family has moved out of Downing Street, with removal vans seen outside the flat, above No10, on Sunday.
The Chancellor is expected to spend weekdays in Downing St while returning to his family in Kensington at weekends.
Further, on Monday, Mr Sunak referred himself to the Government’s ethics watchdog for Lord Geidt — Boris Johnson’s adviser on ministers’ interests — to check if he followed the rules.
He asked the peer to determine whether all his interests were “properly declared”.
A spokeswoman for Mr Johnson said: “I can confirm that the Prime Minister has agreed to the request from the Chancellor for Lord Geidt to undertake this work.
“The Prime Minister has full confidence in the Chancellor.”
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