Do not come to New Zealand if you plan on hiding your wealth or laundering money, according to tax lawyer Geoff Cone. The man runs Cone Marshall in Auckland, a law firm that specializes in trusts and New Zealand tax law. Learn more: http://www.conemarshall.com/cone-marshall-offices.html
One of the ways many foreigners hide money in another country is through a trust. The foreigner transfers a certain amount of wealth to a trustee in that country. Many times this trustee is a lawyer, such as Cone, or a third-party bank. The money is then managed by the trustee. Oftentimes, the money is used for investments in order to grow wealth.
Any New Zealand resident that serves as a trustee must file a disclosure form with the IRD. Furthermore, that trustee must keep all records of liabilities, assets and expenditures, including any money that the trustee receives or spends. And if the trustee uses any of this money in business, that New Zealand trustee must keep detailed records of accounting systems, charts and codes.
Failure to do any of this comes with heavy fines. These penalties were even enhanced by the New Zealand government in 2011 when world standard money laundering legislation took effect. In the end, New Zealand is a terrible place to stash your cash illegally.
All of this information comes in reaction to an article that ran in the New Zealand Herald. The article called New Zealand a tax haven country for wealthy people who set up trusts. Cone, who has been setting up foreign trusts since 1990, refutes this claim by pointing to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The OECD is a watchdog when it comes to tax havens around the world. They identify tax havens by examining a countries tax laws. Tax Haven Governments enforce little to no taxes, have a complete lack of transparency, and are unwilling to assist foreign governments who investigate the whereabouts of its citizens money. New Zealand has never qualified under the standards and Cone believes the country never will.
New Zealand has achieved OECD’s gold standard for transparency since 2002. The country levees taxes on foreign trusts and New Zealand is open for communication with other governments.
Cone has decades of trust and tax law experience, working in both Auckland and Christchurch. He has been practicing since studying at the University of Otago, graduating with a post graduate degree in trust and tax law.