New Zealand: A Brief Tax Lesson

There’s a lot of misconceptions regarding New Zealand. Namely, that it’s ideal for those seeking a lifestyle with minimal taxes. But, in short, New Zealand is not such a “tax haven” after all. Not even close, according to Geoffrey Cone.

Geoffrey Cone is essentially an expert on all things taxes. Cone, who is currently a partner at law firm Cone Marshall, has a post graduate diploma in tax and trust law and has been working as a tax and trust adviser in Auckland City, New Zealand for over 18 years now. In short, he knows what he’s talking about.

So, while New Zealand isn’t exactly a tax haven, it does have an impressive record of maintaining transparency, being among one of the first countries to implement an internationally agreed-upon tax standard that would allow for the easier exchange of information internationally, which helps each country enforce their own tax laws locally.

New laws were introduced in 2006, legally requiring trustees of foreign trusts to submit the proper paperwork and maintain accurate financial records for tax purposes. These financial records include the trust deed, details of any settlements and distributions, including names and addresses of all involved, a detailed description of the trust’s assets, and must specify the amount of money that the trustee receives and spends.

To avoid incurring a fine, the trustee has to make sure that, in addition to being very detailed, the records are all in English, as of 2011.

New Zealand has several tax agreements in place with other countries, all which help minimize the likelihood of successful tax evasion. While New Zealand is certainly not a tax haven, it is a pioneer internationally when it comes to safely enforcing solid laws, an ideal location to maintain and keep track of one’s assets.

Internationally, New Zealand-based tax lawyers and accountants are known for their exceptional ability to keep track of and maintain foreign trusts on behalf of clients living abroad. This puts New Zealand on par with Singapore, Britain, and the United States, as all of these also have similar tax laws and require complete transparency. This, New Zealand’s impressive reputation, is hard-earned, and well-deserved.