A lot of debate has been going on regarding New Zealand’s position when it comes to the establishment of foreign trusts. There are many people that have put forward the notion that the country could be becoming a tax haven for foreigners that have something to hide away. Well, the reality, according to Geoffrey Cone is that New Zealand is the furthest thing away from a tax haven. Geoffrey is the founder and senior partner at Cone Marshall LLC. The company, which he established in the 90’s now deals exclusively with foreign trusts and estate law.
Arguing out his case, Geoffrey states that the country has put in place measures to make sure that foreigners do not just sneak in and start investing in the economy. To be a foreign trust holder, there are countless rules and regulations one must comply with. These include filling out a tax disclosure form and handing it to the IRD. In addition, one must always keep a record of all the transactions they are taking part in, assets and liabilities, returns, income and expenditure and many others. All this information should be written in English and available on demand. The failure to comply with the rule leads to heavy penalties.
He states that these aren’t the practices that take place in tax haven because in tax haven, people just walk in and start putting money away. In addition, taxation on foreigners is not a serious affair and when it happens, it is a nominal amount, not related to the amount they are making.
The OECD is the body that regulates the international relations among the countries with regard to tax reporting. Geoffrey states that the body has long since awarded a white list status to New Zealand. This is an indication that the country is doing really well when it comes to reporting on tax. If the status of the country was not good, they would probably be talking about the country being on the blacklist.
Cone started his practice in 1999 after spending many years in litigation. After six years at the helm of the company, he was joined by Karen Marshall, who was previously a litigator in London. Karen became a partner the following year and the company got the name Cone Marshall. The firm specializes in foreign trusts and tax laws. They have moved from a small company to one of the most successful firms in New Zealand.