Geoffrey Cone a lawyer and partner at Cone Marshall law firm commented about New Zealand foreign trusts. He says they sound exciting but like most accounts that have to do with taxes they can be mundane.
New Zealand is not known as a tax haven said Mr. Cone. A tax haven is defined as imposing minimal fees or no fees and having laws that prohibit exchange of information with other governments.
New Zealand is one of the first country’s to be placed on the white list by the OECD Model Agreement on Exchange of Information in Tax Matters. It has implemented this law on the tax standard very well. New Zealand has showed leadership in the way it handles tax transparency with its foreign trusts. It has requirements that trustees must follow when other governments request information.
New Zealand residents of foreign trusts are required by the IRD to submit a foreign trust disclosure form. They have to keep financial records for taxes in New Zealand. Trustees must keep records of assets, liabilities, settlements, and distributions for foreign trusts. If the trust is used for a business the trustee must keep track of accounting and records.
These records must be recorded in English and kept in New Zealand. The New Zealand double tax agreement is designed to reduce taxes used for trade and reduce the amount of tax evasion and avoiding payments. New Zealand have over 20 different agreements about taxes concerning the tax information exchange. Most of these rules are to keep people from avoiding paying taxes.
Foreign trusts are used to protect assets and for planning inheritance succession. They are not used for tax planning. The recent growth of the foreign trust is because New Zealand is recognized as a stable and high quality region for foreign trusts We have an excellent judiciary system, and stable legal and professional infrastructure. It a safe place to place your assets said Geoffrey Cone.
The majority of the service providers are lawyers and accountants that are members of the International Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. Geoffrey Cone graduated from the University of Otago in New Zealand with an advanced degree in tax and trust law. He has practiced commercial litigation, and been involved for years in tax and advisory work. In 1997 he established his own law practice in Auckland called Cone Marshall Limited.
His firm specializes in international trust and tax planning. He also provides trustee and estate planning services through its affliate companies for clients.