Senior Cabinet Office director Anand Aithal has non-dom status

One of the most senior Cabinet Office directors is a non-dom, the Guardian can reveal, in a disclosure which comes as Labour vowed to crack down on the favourable tax status.

Anand Aithal, a former Goldman Sachs managing director, is the lead non-executive director at the Cabinet Office, a role which a Whitehall source said meant he had significant responsibilities in the department and a close relationship with the Downing Street chief of staff, Steve Barclay.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said Aithal, who is domiciled in India, paid “all taxes on all of his income, both from the UK and abroad, in the UK”. Aithal was born in the UK but acquired the status through his Indian-born father.

The revelation is likely to lead to further questions about the criteria for holding non-dom status. Last week it was revealed that Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty, who receives about £11.5m in annual dividends from her stake in the Indian IT services company Infosys, declares non-dom status. She has since said she will pay tax on all overseas income in the UK.

Non-executive directors of government departments have been criticised in the past for being expressly politically-motivated appointments. Matt Hancock, the former health secretary, was last year found to have appointed his aide and lover, Gina Coladangelo, to the role at the Department of Health and Social Care.

Last year the Institute for Government found a fifth of Whitehall’s non-executive directors appointed to oversee the work of government departments have “significant political experience or party alignment” – almost all of them with the Tory party. Their appointments are not regulated in the same way as other senior Whitehall posts.

A person with non-dom status must demonstrate to HMRC that their domicile – at least for tax purposes – is in another country. Usually their domicile will be the country that their father considered their permanent home when they were born, and to which they intend to eventually return, perhaps when they retire.

Aithal’s government profile describes him as having lived and worked in the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica. After leaving Goldman Sachs he founded a data analytics firm providing data services on three continents before being acquired by Moody’s Inc. He has been on the board of the Cabinet Office since 2019.

On Wednesday the shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, hinted that Labour would propose a crackdown on non-dom status after it finalised its policy review on the tax system.

“I’m very clear, if you live in this country, you should pay your full taxes here and that goes on non-dom status, tax havens, trusts and all the rest of it,” she said.

“Gordon Brown cracked down on some of these rules and an incoming Labour government would go further. If you live in this country, you should pay your full taxes here, not just some of your taxes, and Labour would change the rules so that was the case.”

Chris Bryant, the chair of both the standards and privileges committees, said: “It feels like nobody in government understands how this looks to ordinary voters who cannot choose where they pay their tax or how much they pay. You would have thought by now they would realise this is a country where people expect everyone to put their shoulder to the wheel.”

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