HomeBussinessHow a non-dom shake-up risks triggering ‘a second Brexit moment’

How a non-dom shake-up risks triggering ‘a second Brexit moment’


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The businessman bought a £2m property in West London and decided to become one of Britain’s thousands of “non-doms”.

Now, he is preparing to leave.

“There’s no point making financial investments in the UK because taxes are very high. Abolishing the non-dom tax scheme will not help the situation.”

Non-dom status was introduced in 1799 because aristocrats were terrified that a tax to fund the Napoleonic war would hit their assets in the colonies. In recent decades it has become increasingly politically toxic, with opponents claiming it’s an unfair tax break for the rich.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife, Indian billionaire heiress Akshata Murty, was forced to give up her tax status after being revealed as a non-dom, in a sign of how even those on the Right recognise its politically damaging implications.

However, tax advisers point out that non-dom status helps to attract wealthy people to Britain. While they may not pay tax on their overseas investments, these people boost the economy in other ways: buying property, investing in companies, working in high-profit businesses such as hedge funds and spending money on everything from dinners out to entertainment.

“It’s attracted foreigners to come into the UK and, from the UK perspective, we get business owners, we get finance professionals attracted to coming into the UK to work and live here,” says Nimesh Shah, chief executive of tax advisory firm Blick Rothenberg.

The regime we are abolishing “has been really the envy of most of the world,” Shah adds.

Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, often labelled Italy’s version Tony Blair, introduced non-dom status in his country as part of a pro-business tax regime to boost foreign investment.

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis then copied Renzi by rolling out a similar measure, using the reform as a peg for a broader package of pro-business tax cuts.

In both cases, introducing non-dom rules were seen as a way of signalling to the world that Italy and Greece were open for business.

“It has changed my view of Britain and it means I likely need to leave,” a senior executive based in London who claims non-dom status says of the changes here in the UK.

“It will damage Britain. This coupled with the UK leaving the EU makes it less attractive. I’m considering Cyprus, Italy, Portugal.”

Stroll around Mayfair or Marylebone and you are more than likely to be a mere stone’s throw from a non-dom.

According to a 2018 study, most are either Indian or American, with a smaller smattering of Europeans among their number.

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