Rishi Sunak pays just 22% in tax
Rishi Sunak released his long-anticipated tax returns on Wednesday, revealing only 22% of his total income went towards the government.
The prime minister’s personal finances were revealed during a particularly busy news day, as MPs were voting on his Windsor Framework and Boris Johnson was publicly defending himself over partygate (again).
His tax returns showed Sunak earned a whopping £4.76 million over the last three years, with just £410,000 came from his salary as an MP and a minister.
The rest came from interest, dividends and capital gains from his US-based investments.
Overall, he paid just over £1 million in UK tax over three years (a rate of 22%), and an extra $51,648 (£41,930) to the US in non-resident tax on the dividends.
Sunak’s accountants explained these investments are held under a “blind management arrangement”, so he did not receive the gains as income but still paid tax on them.
This is all completely legal and does not indicate any tax avoidance, but has still raised eyebrows.
Discussing the release on Thursday, Sky News’ Kay Burley pointed out: “I’m sure I pay more tax than that.”
It’s worth pointing out that the most working people in the UK currently face the highest tax burden in 70 years, due to measures brought in under the Conservatives.
Speaking to Burley, Dan Neidle from the Tax Policy Associates, replied: “You probably pay at least twice as much as that.
“And it’s not because he’s done anything very clever, or because he’s avoiding tax, it’s because in this country, we tax employment income at up to 47%, but capital gains on investments at only 20%.
“That’s why his effective rate is so low. Whether that is a fair result, whether the law should be like that, is a very very fair question.
″And weirdly, Mr Sunak, who benefits from that low rate, is also the man who has the power to change it.”
#KayBurley - Rishi Sunak's effective tax rate is 22%... I'm sure I pay more tax than that?
Dan Neidle(tax policy association) - "You probably pay twice as much as that... Sunak benefits from that low rate, but he's the man that has the power to change it."#BBCBreakfastpic.twitter.com/deGk1tXz6b
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) March 23, 2023
Sunak is the wealthiest person to ever sit as the UK’s prime minister – although he has maintained that it doesn’t matter what is in his bank account while he sees the country through the current cost of living crisis and potential recession.
Murty, daughter of a billionaire, was particularly scrutinised last April over her own tax returns when it was revealed that her “non-dom” status meant she did not have to pay the UK on her overseas earnings.
After some rather embarrassing backlash, Murty ended up publicly announcing she would start paying UK taxes on her overseas income.