Nearly 70,000 people have used their non-resident status to cut their tax bill, according to the latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs.

In the tax year to 2021, 68,300 people used this benefit, compared with the pre-Covid figure of 76,500. The pandemic is considered as a possible reason for the decline.

The data comes amid growing interest in tax breaks following revelations about how it is used by top politicians and their families.

The hopeful Conservative Party leader, Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, used her status while residing in Downing Street when her husband was prime minister, The Independent revealed in April. Ms Murty later pledged to stop using the status.

Another former prime minister, Sajid Javid, used an offshore trust to maintain benefits of non-domic status as an MP and worked in the Treasury as an assistant minister. chief, The Independent reported earlier this month.

Arun Advani, an associate professor at the University of Warwick, said in response to the figures: “This is a reminder that, while the non-domestic regime is foreign to most people, the use of tax breaks is not. This is common among the richest people.

“The latest figures show that the use of this tax privilege continues to be high, continuing to cost the Treasury money during the cost of living crisis.”

Using a so-called non-resident status allows individuals to pay no tax on their worldwide income, unlike other common taxpayers who must pay income tax on any any income whether earned at home or abroad.

It can be claimed on a remittance basis on an individual’s tax return and is expensive to keep over time. A person must pay £30,000 a year if they have lived in the UK for at least seven of the previous nine tax years, up to £60,000 if they have been in the country for at least 12 of the previous 14 tax years .

Non-doms can reside in the UK for 365 days a year, although there are limits to how long they can use the status to cut their tax bill. The status should only be used on a tax return if an individual has lived in the UK for less than 15 in the last 20 years.

However, creating offshore trusts, often located in tax havens, can allow individuals to maintain some of the tax benefits that come with using non-resident status.

There is no clear evidence of how much tax benefits cost or how much of the total tax the UK collects.

A new analysis from the London School of Economics and the University of Warwick finds one in seven billionaires on the Sunday Times Rich List (STRL) 2020 is unlikely to reside in the UK for tax purposes.

However, among STRLs living full-time in the UK, almost a third, 28% (251 people), are likely not dom. That compares with 0.1% of the UK population.

Andy Summers, an associate professor at the London School of Economics’ Institute of Inequality, said: “About half of billionaires have significant connections abroad. But those lower on the list are more likely to be of British ancestry, with just a fifth living or coming from abroad. “

One in seven billionaires, 14%, live in zero or low tax jurisdictions, according to the study. Popular locations include Monaco, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Bahamas.

Hannah Tarrant, research officer at the LSE Inequality Institute, said: “Despite the substantial wealth in the UK, it’s astonishing to see that one in seven billionaires lives in a tax haven.” .