Rishi Sunak’s accountants urge retention of non-dom status

Rishi Sunak’s accountancy firm, a wealth management company that argued against removing non-domiciled status, has welcomed the government’s tax breaks for wealthy savers and promises to minimise clients’ capital gains tax.

Evelyn Partners signed off on the three-page summary of the prime minister’s tax affairs which Downing Street released this week, showing that Sunak made around £5m in the last three years, mostly through his US-based investment fund.

That statement was released after months of delays and in the middle of Boris Johnson’s testimony to parliament about Partygate, giving a sense of the sensitivity of the issue for the prime minister. Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, are the wealthiest ever occupants of Downing Street, and the prime minister has faced accusations that he is out of touch with the cost-of-living crisis facing millions of British voters.

His accountancy firm calls itself a “global network for global clients” promising to help manage their offshore assets and take advantage of the UK’s tax code by using capital gains tax. It also promises to help set up “complex tax-advantaged investments” for its clients.

This week, the Guardian revealed the prime minister had benefited by £300,000 over the last three years from a decision the Conservatives took in 2016 to reduce CGT from 28% to 20%.

Last week, staff from Evelyn Partners wrote a long post on the firm’s website analysing the effects of the budget for its clients but also making clear the firm’s own views on policy. It cautions against Labour’s policy of abolishing non-domiciled tax status, from which Murty benefited until she gave it up amid public outcry.

The day after the budget, the firm welcomed the fact that the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, had not changed non-dom status, saying: “For the UK’s domicile rules to remain competitive in Europe, we would prefer not to see further tinkering with the system, increasing complexity and decreasing confidence.”

It also welcomed the government’s controversial decision to scrap the tax-free limit on lifetime pension contributions, which handed a significant tax break to the country’s wealthiest pension savers. The firm argued this was “a positive set of announcements for those looking to save for the future via a pension”.

A spokesperson for the firm said it had also argued against Conservative policy decisions in the past. For example, in one article it called Hunt’s decision last year to cut the amount of tax-free income people can claim from share dividends a “Viking-like raid on shareholders”.

The spokesperson added: “In respect of changes to taxation and pensions, our role is to assess the impact on our clients and provide them with advice according to their circumstances.

“As experts in these areas, we will of course express our professional views on whether policy measures are positive or negative for our clients’ finances, irrespective of whoever is in government. We are strictly apolitical.”

Downing Street did not respond to a request for comment.