Rishi Sunak's tax return raises political and personal questions too

Rishi Sunak's tax return raises political and personal questions too

British Prime Minister Sishi Sunak at a business strategy meeting at 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister's Office.Photo by Yui Mok/Reuters

Sunak, 43, is the richest resident in the history of 10 Downing Street. His wealth, and that of his much wealthier wife, provides him with a comfortable life, but is a major political handicap. The British Prime Minister is expected to provide financial transparency. As the House of Commons enters its half-term recess, its tax advisers, Evelyn & Partners, have published a summary of Sunak's tax returns for the 2022-2023 financial year.

This showed that the Prime Minister paid the equivalent of €191,303 in income tax and €420,678 in capital gains tax. His total income, largely a return on investments, was €2.61 million, meaning he paid taxes of 23%, well below the top tax rate of 45%. Only 7% of his total income comes from his current salary as Prime Minister.

Finished by the author
Patrick van Ijzendoorn is the Great Britain and Ireland correspondent De Volkskrant. He has lived in London since 2003 and has written several books, including on Brexit.

A large portion of his income is subject to tax in the United States, where he invests in an American investment fund. Furthermore, capital gains tax in the UK is less than 20 percent.

Tax returns are fodder for progressive pundits. In a press release, a trade union questioned why Sunak increased income tax and health insurance contributions, but left capital gains tax unchanged. This tax strategy means that business taxes become heavier than property taxes.

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Al-Yassar newspaper Watchman He wondered why Sunak kept all this wealth in the US and not in the UK, the country where he was born and which he rules.

Goldman Sachs

His relationship with the United States, where he studied and met his wife, has been an Achilles' heel for the former Goldman Sachs banker for years. As finance minister, he still held a so-called green card, and after his premiership, he aspired to settle again in California, where he owned a house. He questions his loyalty to the country.

His wife Akshata, the daughter of an Indian billionaire, was subject to controversy because she appeared to be exempt from paying for her assets located in her native India.

Sunak is going through tough times. Although inflation is under control and the expected recession has not materialised, the Conservative government remains miles behind the Labor opposition in the opinion polls. Elections are likely to be held this fall.

In an interview with the British times Sunak hinted at the weekend that tax cuts were on the way, provided the economic situation allowed. He is under intense pressure from PopCons, an internal movement of populist conservatives led by his predecessor, Liz Truss.

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