NZ to Review Foreign Trust Disclosure Rules

Bill English

Bill English

Picking up on the reverberations of the massive leak from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, the Auckland government has now launched a review of disclosure rules covering foreign trusts registered in New Zealand.

Reports in the New Zealand media have implied that New Zealand's foreign trust regime allowed Mossack Fonseca to create trusts in New Zealand to protect controversial assets on behalf of anonymous clients.

The reports claim that New Zealand has registered 12,000-plus offshore trusts with unidentified beneficiaries and privately held accounts, though that information can be demanded by New Zealand's own regulators.

Detailed Financial Records

The New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English has now announced a new independent review of the country’s trust rules. It will be led by tax expert John Shewan, formerly of PricewaterhouseCoopers, to assess whether the existing foreign trust rules, enacted in 2006, require any 'practical improvements' regarding record-keeping, enforcement and the exchange of information with other tax jurisdictions.

«Our rules require foreign trusts to be registered and to keep detailed financial and other records, which can be requested by Inland Revenue and passed on to tax authorities in other countries,» said English. 

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