Over the past few weeks, there has been a burst in the media with news about the New Zealand trust and tax laws, specifically addressing foreign trusts and how the local market has not benefited from the laws put in place earlier. Professionals from all sectors have issued their opinions with others like Geoffrey Cone analyzing the situation to single out the problems that are barring many people from excelling in their cases.
Commercial litigation is a broad area that comes with complex laws that cannot be overlooked when reviewing the state of trust laws. There have been challenges among local firms getting certifications to operate internationally simply because New Zealand is not considered a tax haven.
Geoffrey Cone intervened with vital information that will shine some light and in some way send a message to the government to consider reviewing some laws to make it easier for individuals to have their cases resolved more easily. The most affected in the mix are the wealthy and influential individuals who want to transfer their ownership rights across jurisdictions.
OECD issued a list of countries that are considered tax havens and New Zealand has never made it to be one of them. There are reasons behind this and among the issues reviewed is the fact that counties that qualify to rank as tax havens are run on nominal taxes and there is transparency across all levels. Additionally, there is no seamless transfer of information between governments, which makes it difficult for the country to be ranked among thriving tax havens.
All these requirements are in line with the 2002 Model Agreement on Tax Matters that offers support to international exchange of information for the enforcement of domestic tax laws. New Zealand was among countries that were supposed to be placed in the list and the country over the past one decade has shown progress in handling foreign trusts despite lacking the full capacity to rank as a tax haven.
Geoffrey Cone is a New Zealand lawyer who has pursued tax and trust laws as well as LLB. He is an experienced professional in the field as he began working in 1980 and over the years has worked with clients from different countries. Having garnered a lot of experience along the way, Geoffrey Cone founded a law firm, Cone Marshall, which has dedicated its services to working on international trust and tax laws.