Geoff Cone Views about the New Zealand Tax Haven

A renowned tax expert in New Zealand has affirmed that New Zealand is not a tax haven and does not feature among the countries listed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Those are the sentiments of Geoffrey Cone, a New Zealand based tax consultant and partner at Cone Marshall Limited. In an article published by the New Zealand Herald on November 9, 2012 Cone has decried the media portrayal of New Zealand as the land of foreign trusts, wealthy people and big financial deals. Because the model of a tax haven is well documented in a blueprint published in 2002 by the OECD. The true characteristic of a tax haven is a land where no taxes are imposed and if they do, it’s only nominally.

The other characteristic is existence of support structures, including laws and regulation that forbid the sharing of private financial information with the government. In the case of New Zealand, none of these policies are observed; majorly because the country’s private banking sector operates openly. Cone added that the country is indeed at the forefront of implementing the internationally agreed tax standards as evidence in the transparent manner in which the country handles foreign trusts and issue of trustees when it comes to information sharing. A law introduced in 2006 by Michael Cullen, mandates all trusts to submit a Foreign Disclosure Form or (IR607) by IRD to ensure tax records are made available when needed.

The records must also be extracted in English as reiterated by the enactment of money laundering legislation in 2011. Failure to follow these guidelines will attract stiff penalties. Part of the reason why New Zealand has become highly attractive to those who want to set foreign trusts include the existence of prudence laws and stability. The other factors include the presence of a respectable legal and professional infrastructure. Due to these factors, a number of high profile lawyers and accountants in the country have been charged with overseeing various international trusts on behalf of their clients. Most of these professionals are also recognized by STEP, the International Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

About Geoff Cone
Geoffrey Cone is a corporate tax expert and partner at the Cone Marshall Law firm which deals entirely with trust and tax planning as well as providing trustee and trust management services through its affiliate parties. The New Zealand based barrister and solicitor also specializes in wealth planning with a focus on Spain, Italy and Latin America. Geoffrey Cone also has a solid academic history. According to a brief published on the International Comparative Legal Guides, Cone holds An LLB honors and a post graduate diploma in tax and trust law from the prestigious University of New Zealand.