For so long, the media coverage has illustrated New Zealand foreign trusts as complex systems involving affluent individuals and multifaceted financial transactions. However, Geoff Cone has debunked these perceptions and hinted that just as other things associated with tax, foreign trusts are a little more mundane. If New Zealand maintains its current taxing laws and systems, there are slim chances of it appearing on the OECD’s tax havens list.
How to identify tax havens
- They administer no or solely nominal taxes
- They are unaccountable
- They do not exchange information with other countries or governments.
According to Cone, none of those grounds can be used to describe New Zealand. Additionally, the country has an open financial sector. It featured on the OECD’s white list as one of the top nations after it implemented the globally agreed tax standard.
New Zealand is a hub of tax accountability
The nation has led by an example by handling foreign trusts in an open and genuine way. It ensures all information on registered trusts is readily available to other governments. The rules imposed in 2006, requires trustees to submit the IR607 form. The trustees are also required to maintain detailed financial and other valuable records. All records and document should be filed in English and kept in New Zealand. After the implementation of the global standard money laundering law in 2011, these rules became more effective.
Geoffrey Cone earned his honors degree in law and a higher diploma in Trust law from the New Zealand-headquartered University of Otago. He began his law career with Russell McVeagh and eventually the Christchurch-based Lane Neave Ronaldson. After serving as a corporate litigation professional for British West Indies for a span of two years, he relocated to New Zealand. Following a short stint at the Simpson Grierson law firm, he began Cone Marshall (his private practice) in 1999. Cone Marshall prides itself as the only law company headquartered in New Zealand that provides tax planning and foreign trust service.
Before venturing into private practice in 1999, Geoff Cone was a specialist in tax, trust, and commercial litigation. He handled cases at various levels of courts in New Zealand. Geoff Cone is a talented writer who has published articles in internationally recognized trust magazines and journals search as Trusts &Trustees, New Zealand Law Journal, and Rothschild Trust Review. He has played an instrumental role in the authoring of World Trusts Survey, International Trusts Guide, International Trusts Disputes, and Trident Guide to Foreign Trusts.