The recent coverage of the nation’s media in favor of making foreign trusts sound like a lucrative deal for others to come in capitalize like a hot comb of honey has managed to turn quite some heads in the legal community.
Breaking silence on the matter prominent lawyer Geoffrey Cone said in a statement that New Zealand wasn’t a tax haven and would never feature as one in the books of OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). In order to qualify as a tax haven, there is no imposing of nominal taxes by the country and that no information in respect to their investors is shared with other governments.
New Zealand became one of the very first countries to implement and enforce domestic tax laws after the 2002 OECD Model agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax matters came into effect. The government has been strict in implementing this to effect. Under this, any New Zealand Trustee of a foreign trust is required to submit a Foreign Trust Disclosure Form and keep documents handy for tax purposes like details of settlements and distributions, details of the assets and liabilities of the trust to name a few. Failure to comply with this attracts heavy penalties by the New Zealand government.
New Zealand boasts of more than 39 double tax agreements and 20 different tax information exchange agreement with other countries. One of the few reasons for the growth of foreign trusts is the fact that the country is highly safe with a good judiciary in place and a world-class legal and professional infrastructure. Ending the discussion Cone said that the real fight was not against tax havens but jurisdictions themselves like US, Britain, and Singapore which have a transparent tax system and similar taxation principles in relation to their foreign trusts.
Geoffrey Cone is a partner at Cone Marshall and has with more than 16 years of experience in the legal field. Karen Marshall has experience managing trusts and her role extends to that of a director in the role of a trustee. Cone Marshall was founded by Geoffrey and Karen Marshall in the year 1999. The law firm specializes in International Trust and Tax Planning plus also providing trustee and trust management services through their affiliates.
Cone Marshall has been working with international families and their advisors and has been instrumental in setting up of numerous trusts, partnership, and companies. They have a wide array of services under their belt like succession, structuring advice and handling commercial litigation on behalf of their clients.