The OECD is the body that is mandated with the task of checking the different countries and their tax reporting practices. The countries that are seen as more responsible and open are white listed while those that are seen to be secretive are black listed. The recent assertion that New Zealand could be becoming a tax haven has therefore been met with different reactions from different quarters.
On one hand, there are people who feel that the assertion could be right. But looking at the issue from the expert eyes of a Lawyer that has been specializing in tax and trust laws, things may not be as simple. For instance, Geoffrey states that there are laws that have been put in place to make sure that everyone that comes into the country with cash or the intent to invest fully discloses their status. First, they have to fill in a disclosure form and hand it to the IRD. The information that is contained in this form includes ones income and expenditure, a list of their assets and also their liabilities, the cash flow statements and other documents.
Geoff emphasizes that these documents are supposed to be in English, regardless of the language that the trust holder speaks and that failure to hand in this information normally leads to heavy taxes. This is a law that was passed in 2006 and has been operational since. It has helped the country become more open to other governments and more cooperative on cases of tax reporting.
The assertion that the country could be a tax haven is therefore completely fallacious. Geoffrey notes that in countries that have poor tax reporting laws do not even tax the foreign trust holders and when they do, it is only a nominal amount. He states that in New Zealand, one has to pay the entire needed fee and at times, the foreigner may lose trusteeship if they act in contravention of the laws.
In 2005, the company got a new addition, Karen Marshall who had a lot of experience in the UK especially on tax laws. In 2006, Karen became a senior partner and thus Cone Marshall was born. Geoffrey is a graduate of the University of Otago School of law. He is one of the most learned and experienced lawyers in the country when it comes to issues connected to taxes, estates and trusts. He states that understanding these laws that govern trusteeship in New Zealand will reduce cases of contravention.