Goeffrey Cone: New Zealand is a Tax Transparency Model

Geoffrey Cone is a graduate of Otago University in New Zealand. He has a post graduate diploma in trust and tax law and a Bachelor’s degree in Law. In 1980, he commenced his practice in Auckland, New Zealand. He then went on to Christchurch where he became a partner and the Partner’s Chairman in a Law Firm. He practiced trust and tax advisory as well as commercial litigation. Geoffrey has appeared in numerous court cases concerning tax and trust law as a chief counsel. For over two years, Geoffrey Cone worked as a litigator for the British West Indies Law Firm. Before moving out, he founded his law firm in 1999. The cone Marshall Limited, his law firm, is the only law company in the country that specializes in exclusive tax planning and international law. The company provides trust and trustee management services through their conglomerate of enterprises.


In a recent media release, the coverage portrayed New Zealand as one of the most prestigious places in the world for foreign trusts. For this reason, this news is mouth-catching. For any high-net-worth individual, it all sounds like the most attractive places to take your capital and work on the complex financial transactions. As a matter of fact, this news was misleading.


First of all, let’s look at the main question. We should understand that New Zealand is not a tax haven as the media recently displayed. The OECD has a list of tax havens maintained in their records. For this reason, New Zealand has no appearance in the list of tax havens. To the future, we do not expect the country to turn into a tax haven. Following the news release, the information was biased and misleading. The main characteristics of tax havens are that they never impose any taxes on businesses conducted in the countries. The countries lack transparency. According to OECD, the tax havens inhibit information exchange to enforce and administer domestic tax regulations. One of the first countries to appear on the whitelist of OECD is New Zealand. The country has enough implementation of the agreed international tax standard.


The transparency of tax information depicted in the country makes it the leader in tax transparency. For this reason, they have a set of procedures followed to handle trustee requirements and foreign trusts. Governments and state agencies can find any necessary information upon request. Michael Cullen, the former president of the country, introduced the present tax regulations in New Zealand. Under his rule, a resident trustee in New Zealand or a foreign trust should submit a Trust Foreign Disclosure form by the IRD. This helps the country keep the information about your business in the public records. They include distribution and settlement details, trust deed, and trustee liabilities and assets settlements.