Geoffrey Cone clarifies that New Zealand is not Tax Haven

New Zealand has always provided a safe environment for people to park their investments. Over the years, foreign trusts have become very popular. However, there have been some misconceptions about why people are choosing New Zealand for their estate planning. Geoffrey Cone took the task of explaining that New Zealand is not a tax haven as some people presume. Read more:

The country has never made the OECD list of tax havens and is unlikely to make it. Tax havens are regions that enforce every minimal taxes or none at all. They also make it hard for governments to get tax data as there is no exchange of information, not to mention transparency is not usually a concern. In fact, New Zealand was among the first ones to implement OECD’s 2002 Model Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters. The country also lacks a private banking industry.

Transparency Regulations

New Zealand has proven its commitment to transparency by instituting requirements for foreign trust and trustees regarding information sharing. Other governments that need information about a particular foreign trust can easily access it. The IRD requires a resident of the country who administers a foreign trust to keep records of financial transactions and present a Foreign Trust Disclosure form (IR607) for tax purposes. Other records that a trustee is compelled to have in hand include the deed of trust, the assets and liabilities of the trust, monies the trustee receives and spends, and details concerning settlement and distribution. These records have to be available in English and kept in New Zealand. A trustee who does not adhere to these regulations is subject to substantial penalties.

The country also has tax information agreements with different nations across the globe, not to mention 39 double tax agreements. These regulations are to ensure that people don’t use foreign trusts to avoid or evade paying taxes. New Zealand has a worldwide reputation as being a stable place to base assets. This standing is, in some part, made possible by lawyers and accountants who work with international clients.

About Cone

Geoffrey Cone is an international tax advisor with a practice in Auckland. Cone Marshall opened in 1999 and deals exclusively with international tax planning. The company, together with its affiliates, offers trust and trustee management services in the country. Cone has amassed considerable experience over the years since graduating from the University of Otago with LLB honors.

He started in Auckland the moved to Christchurch to work in a law firm. Before starting the firm with his partner Karen Marshall, he worked as a litigator in the British West Indies for two years. He appeared as leading counsel in all types of court cases. Besides commercial litigation, he did trust and trust advisory work.

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