The non-dom status of MPs has come increasingly under the microscope after the tax affairs of Rishi Sunak and his wife came to light.
Now Sajid Javid, the health secretary, has been drawn into the “non-dom” controversy after admitting he held the status for six years while a banker, allowing him to legally avoid tax on overseas earnings.
The senior cabinet minister, a former chancellor, gave a statement to the Sunday Times saying he had held non-dom status, thought to be on the grounds that his father was born in Pakistan.
He also admitted to holding wealth in an offshore trust until he became a minister in 2012, dissolving it and paying 50% tax on the wealth he brought into the UK.
“I have been domiciled in the UK for tax purposes throughout my entire public life,” he said. “Given heightened public interest in these issues, I want to be open about my past tax statuses. My career before politics was in international finance. For almost two decades I constantly travelled around the world for work.”
Before he became an MP in 2010, Javid said, he spent some years as a non-dom, giving this up in 2009.
In response to this news Jim Pickard, chief political correspondent at the Financial Times, wrote a blistering thread that will make Javid squirm in his seat.
He wrote: “t’s always intriguing when a cabinet minister stonewalls for several days over legitimate questions of public interest: on this occasion it’s health secretary Sajid Javid.”
“on Sunday @ShippersUnbound had the excellent scoop that Javid used to be a non-dom, following on the heels of Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty “Javid said he was entitled to this because his father was born in Pakistan.”
“At the weekend Javid issued a statement to Sunday Times pointing out that he was an international banker working all around the world.”
“Javid gave up non dom status before he entered Parliament in 2010 – the problem is that tax experts have told the @ft the fact the UK health secretary was an international banker and his father was born in Pakistan would not be enough to entitle him to the perk.”
“Tax experts said that to have maintained non-dom status Javid would have had to assert he did not intend to live in UK indefinitely and furthermore demonstrate to HMRC that he had stronger “personal links” to the country of his chosen domicile than he did to the UK.”
“It’s not entirely clear the basis of his non-domicile status,” said Dan Neidle, former head of tax at Clifford Chance, the law firm. “On the face of it, it seems a bit racier than Mrs Sunak’s claim.”
usually when we have these kind of questions a spokesperson sets out an alternative case, provides useful information, gives some guidance, or a quote, or even a “no comment” – but Javid’s media special adviser has ignored 10 WhatsApp messages (all read) & 6 calls
other tax experts expressed scepticism to our tax correspondent @EmmaAgyemang Nimesh Shah, ceo at Blick Rothenberg said there was “a question mark” over Javid’s non-dom status. “He was born here, he’s lived here most of his life.”
another tax expert told us: “It is an absolute joke that Sajid Javid claimed non-dom status”