Category Archives: Tax Law

Taxation of Foreign Trusts Explained by NZ Attorney Geoffrey Cone

In an article written by Atty. Geoffrey Cone for the NZ Herald, the lawyer has thrown light regarding the issue that New Zealand is a tax sanctuary for foreign investors.

As per Cone’s words, the country is far from becoming such, even though it has gained international recognition as a nation with fair laws. A real tax haven, according to him, is a place where organizations are not required to make vital tax details known to public or be communicated with various governments, and there are minor to nil tariffs imposed to alien business owners.

All the transactions that take place in New Zealand need to defer to the transparency regulations within the land. The mentioned guidelines which are grounded on the 2002 OECD Model Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters have one objective – to help diverse global administrations gather information concerning financial deals.

The people who become foreign trustees in the country are those who have extensive understanding about taxation laws (e.g. lawmakers and bookkeepers). Due to their knowledge in the subject, they assist global investors greatly and provide the said financiers an idea that New Zealand is a secured location for entrepreneurial ventures.

Advancements With The Transparency Rules
After much deliberation, Michael Cullen spearheaded the implementation of new transparency provisions that local trustees in New Zealand have to comply with. These comprise of submitting a complete Foreign Trust Disclosure form to the IRD, maintaining physical confirmations of the trust’s arrangement, assets and liabilities, deeds, and financial accounts. Under the same rules, the documents need to be in the English language and cannot leave the country by any means.

It will not be wise to challenge these requirements, as the consequences enforced by the New Zealand government to the law offenders have been further strengthened through the formation of a global legislation against money laundering in 2011.

Currently, the country has signed 39 double taxation treaties and 20 transparency agreements with diverse countries. This is their way of bringing potential tax evaders to a standstill.

About Geoffrey Cone

Geoffrey Cone is an international tax and trust lawyer who owns a law firm called Cone Marshall in Auckland, New Zealand. He received his degree from the University of Otago and centered his practice in tax and trust consultation and commercial court cases. From 1980 up to 1998, he has become a respectable partner in some of the prominent institutions in Christchurch, New Zealand and the British West Indies. Later on, he concentrated on his own firm which majors in international wealth planning.

When he is not busy at work, Geoffrey likes to stay with his wife Sarah in their 2.5-hectare land in Uruguay where a Kiwi-inspired contemporary home is built.

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