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Rishi Sunak Admits He Had A US Green Card Until 18 Months After Becoming Chancellor

Rishi Sunak Admits He Had A US Green Card Until 18 Months After Becoming Chancellor
3 min read

Rishi Sunak has confirmed that he had a green card, which permitted him full residency in the United States, until late 2021. He was made chancellor of the exchequer in February 2020.

The chancellor has been under pressure to explain why, as Sky News reported last night, he had held a green card while serving in the highest levels of UK government. Holders of these cards must pay US tax on their global income and vow to make the US their permanent home.

Sunak was elected in 2015, and took up his first ministerial position as under-secretary of state for local government under Theresa May's government in 2018. He became chief secretary to the treasury in 2019, before being promoted to chancellor, one of the highest posts in government, in February 2020. 

Sunak's spokesperson confirmed on Friday that the chancellor possessed a green card while holding each of those positions, including for nearly two years after replacing Sajid Javid in Number 11. He gave it up when he made his official first trip to the US in October 2021. The spokesperson insisted Sunak had not broken any rules.

"Rishi Sunak had a green card when he lived and worked in the US," the spokesperson statement said. 

“Under US law, you are not presumed to be a US resident just by dint of holding a green card. Furthermore, from a US immigration perspective, it is presumed that permanent resident status is automatically abandoned after prolonged absences from the US.

“At the same time, one is required to file US tax returns. Rishi Sunak followed all guidance and continued to file US tax returns, but specifically as a non-resident, in full compliance with the law.

“As required under US law and as advised, he continued to use his green card for travel purposes. Upon his first trip to the US in a Government capacity as Chancellor, he discussed the appropriate course of action with the US authorities. At that point it was considered best to return his green card, which he did immediately.

“All laws and rules have been followed and full taxes have been paid where required in the duration he held his green card".

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference this afternoon, Boris Johnson said his understanding was that Sunak "has done absolutely everything he was required to do".

Pat McFadden, Labour's Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said Sunak's announcement raised questions like why he kept the green card for "so long" after being as a Conservative MP in 2015, and whether there were tax advantages for Sunak in doing so.

Sunak's tax affairs have come under the spotlight this week after The Independent reported that his wife, Akshata Murthy, saved millions on her tax bill through her non-domicile status.

 

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