New Zealand is one of the best and safe places to base your assets. This is because it is a stable jurisdiction with the well-regarded judiciary and solid legal and professional infrastructure. The country has never been and is not a tax haven. What are the features of tax havens? They do not impose tax and if they do nominal tax only, there is no transparency and the laws and procedure impede the exchange of information with other governments. New Zealand (NZ) was among the first countries to implement the tax standards that have been agreed internationally. The gesture earned it a place on the OECD white list.
The island nation demonstrates transparency in how it handles foreign trusts and the requirements placed on trustees. There are rules by Michael Cullen which dictates that a New Zealand resident trustee of a foreign trust should present Foreign Trust Disclosure forms and keep records for purposes of NZ tax. The records include details of trust’s assets and liabilities, trust deed, details of settlement and distribution, money that the trustee receives and spends and financial records. All files must be recorded in English and be kept in NZ.
New Zealand has double tax agreement totaling to 39 that are meant to assist in prevention of tax evasion and avoidance. It has an additional over 20 tax information exchange agreement with other nations. It has also signed a Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. Most foreign trustees/ service providers in NZ are accountants and lawyers who are members of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. The lawyers and accountants have enhanced the reputation of NZ among taxation experts and OECD.
Geoffrey Cone is a New Zealand long-serving tax expert. He grew up in South Canterbury, NZ and attended the University of Otago for his LLB and post graduate diploma in trust and tax law. In 1980, he began practicing in Christchurch NZ. He practiced commercial litigation and also did tax and trust advisory. Cone worked as a litigator in British West Indies and later established Cone Marshall Limited in 1999. The law firm was the first in NZ to specialize in foreign trust and tax planning. Over the years, it has become the leader in offering trustee and trust management services.
Geoff Cone expertise includes international and domestic tax law, commercial litigation, trust law and banking law among others. He has been a contributing author to International Trusts Guide, World Trust Survey, Law of Offshore Jurisdiction and International Trust Disputes. Cone has published articles in New Zealand Law Journal and Trust and Trustees. He offers consultancy advice on tax planning, trust assets, trust management, tax treaties and mutual investment structures. His success story includes establishing investment trusts in the Bahamas, Bermuda and Dominican Republic. He is married to Sarah Cone, and he is famous for actively defending the New Zealand’s reputation with foreign trusts.