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Rishi Sunak hasn’t paid tax bill penalty, Downing Street says five hours after being asked

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Rishi Sunak never paid a fine over his tax matters – Downing Street previously suggested the matter was “confidential”.

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The government was feeling the heat when Tory chairman Nadim Zahawi settled an estimated £4.7 million bill with HMRC as chancellor.

During the morning briefing of journalists based in Westminster, the Prime Minister’s press secretary would not say whether Sunak had ever paid the penalty to HMRC.

But after Labor said Kir Starmer never paid the fine, Number 10 issued a statement – five hours after the initial brush off – saying: “The Prime Minister never paid the fine to HMRC.”

Sunak’s finances are under renewed scrutiny following Zahavi’s revelations.

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Starmer sought to tackle Sunak’s current furor over Prime Minister’s Questions and draw a link between his billionaire wife Akshata Murthy, who has non-domiciled status that could reduce his UK tax bill.

The Labor leader said: “We all know why the Prime Minister was reluctant to ask his party president questions about family finances and tax evasion.”

A spokesman for Starr added to the pressure by saying that the labor leader never paid the tax penalty.

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Earlier in the day, Sunak’s press secretary said he would publish his tax return “in due course”, but would not say whether he had ever paid a fine to HMRC.

“You wouldn’t expect me to get involved in the Prime Minister’s tax matters, they are confidential,” she said.

“The tax affairs of a person, whoever they are, are confidential.”

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She will not commit to publishing six years of her tax returns, as David Cameron did when he was prime minister.

In the past, the press secretary has repeatedly declined to say whether Sunak had private healthcare as the NHS strains under a range of pressures.

He argued that it was not “in the public interest” to reveal the prime minister’s health care system.

But earlier this month, Sunak said under pressure that he was registered with an NHS GP but had used “independent” healthcare in the past.

A Labor spokesman told reporters that Sunak should reveal whether he has ever paid a tax penalty.

He said Starr himself never made the payments.

(tagstotranslate) Keir Starr

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