Recently Geoffrey Cone, founder of Cone Marshall Limited, Auckland New Zealand decided to set the record straight about rumors that New Zealand was a tax haven. Cone states, New Zealand, is not a tax haven and is unlikely ever to be one. He went on to explain his reasoning. In 1961 The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) an international economic organization designed to increase world trade and economic progress was founded. The OECD and its 35 member nations have a list of countries considered tax havens and New Zealand is not and never has been on the list. Read more: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10846049
There are certain characteristics that a country must have to be considered a tax haven. First, it has to be a nation that imposes little or no taxes in the first place. Secondly, there must be a lack of transparency, meaning the country will share little or no financial information with other nations. Lastly, the country has to condone a secretive private banking industry.
Part of the OECD agreement concerns transparency of the international exchange of information regarding the enforcement of domestic tax laws. New Zealand is more than willing to share relevant information with other governments and has demonstrated leadership in tax transparency. Going even further, New Zealand requires a foreign trust to have a resident trustee who keeps financial and other records for New Zealand tax purposes. Among the other documents that must be maintained by the administrator include details of settlements and distributions, trust deeds, assets and liabilities and any monies spent by the trustee. Records not kept properly face severe penalties to the administrator. For its willingness to implement the international tax standard New Zealand was one of the first nations placed on the OECD’s white list. New Zealand is anything but a tax haven.
Geoffrey Cone is the founder of Cone Marshall Limited, the only law firm in New Zealand to specialize exclusively in foreign trust and tax planning. Geoffrey attended the University of Otago in New Zealand where he graduated with a degree in tax and trust law. He opened his first law practice in Auckland in 1980. Later moving to Christchurch to become a partner in a leading law firm. During his tenure he participated in tax and trust advisory work and commercial litigation, often appearing in court as the lead counsel. For two years Geoffrey Cone practiced in the British West Indies, returning to Auckland in 1997 and opening his law firm in 1999. Geoffrey Cone has a family, lives in Auckland, New Zealand and believes in being charitable.