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Rishi Sunak made £1.8mn in capital gains last year, his largest in four years, according to figures that highlighted the UK prime minister’s wealth as he tries to win the support of a British public concerned about the cost of living.
Downing Street on Friday published a summary of Sunak’s tax return for 2022-23 that showed he paid just over £500,000 in tax to HM Revenue & Customs on over £2.2mn of total income and capital gains.
As well as the capital gains, Sunak reported £276,000 of income from dividends. Both related to a “single, US-based investment fund”, according to his accountants, Evelyn Partners.
Sunak also earned £84,000 from his salary as a MP, an additional £55,000 ministerial wage, £13,204 in interest on investments, and £3,985 in bank interest in the year.
The prime minister, who was previously a financier, placed his investments in a blind trust upon entering government. He is married to Akshata Murty, whose father founded Indian software giant Infosys.
Labour has sought to use Sunak’s personal wealth — his family has an estimated net worth of £730mn — to paint him as out of touch with voters. The main opposition party is leading in the polls ahead of a general election expected this year.
On Monday, Sunak was criticised after he agreed to a £1,000 bet in a TV interview over whether his government would send asylum seekers to Rwanda before the election. Sunak later said he was “taken by surprise” by the wager.
Sunak in 2023 published a summary of three years of his tax returns going back to the 2019/20 tax year. The summary showed a total of £3.75mn in capital gains over the three years.
Dan Neidle, a tax lawyer and founder of Tax Policy Associates, said the capital gains Sunak reported suggested the prime minister’s trust manager had made significant disposals in the past three years.
Neidle said the relatively small amount of dividends suggested Sunak was weighted heavily in equities.
He added that the premier’s effective tax rate of 23 per cent was largely the result of the UK’s treatment of capital gains over dividends.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt also on Friday revealed that he paid £117,000 of tax on £415,000 of income and capital gains in 2022-23, an effective tax rate of 28.5 per cent.
For additional rate taxpayers, most capital gains are taxed at 20 per cent, while dividends are taxed at 39.35 per cent in the current tax year.
Murty, who holds a stake worth more than £500mn in Infosys, benefited from “non-domiciled” tax status, which enabled her to pay tax only on any income earned in the UK.
After controversy over her non-dom status in 2022, she vowed to pay UK tax on all her worldwide earnings.
In August last year, Sunak was censured by the parliamentary commissioner for standards after he failed to correctly declare his wife’s financial interest in a child minding agency.
Murty in January donated her shares in Koru Kids, a company that registers child minders, to charity.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer released a summary of his tax return last year that showed he paid £67,000 of tax on income and capital gains of £211,000 in 2021/22. He is expected to publish his most recent return in the coming days, according to people familiar with the matter.