One of the principals of the New Zealand tax law firm, Cone Marshall, has set out to set the record straight with regards to New Zealand’s status as an offshore tax haven. Geoffrey Cone, one of the founders and principal at Cone Marshall says that the press is wrong to consider New Zealand as a possible offshore tax haven. Here is why from the tax attorney.
Geoffrey begins by describing what a real tax haven looks like. They do not charge any taxes or have such small taxes that they are almost negligible. New Zealand charges taxes for foreign trusts and money deposited in the country from oversees. The tax rate is also not negligible but significant. This negates the notion of a New Zealand offshore tax base for people trying to launder or hide money.
Another reason why the media has it wrong on New Zealand’s tax status is the fact that New Zealand has numerous tax agreements with other nations. This includes double tax agreements with over 39 different countries. Additionally New Zealand has tax information exchange agreements with an additional 20 nations. A real tax haven would be opaque when it comes to this matter. They would not share financial information with a foreign government. New Zealand does share and share information openly. This is yet a further negation of the idea that New Zealand has somehow become an offshore tax haven for foreigners to store money.
Tax havens also often have a secretive and unregulated private banking industry which attracts foreign money, money launderers and tax evaders. While New Zealand’s banking industry has become increasingly deregulated, it is still a far cry from being considered secretive and unregulated like that found in offshore tax havens. Plenty of protocols are in place to ensure that records are kept of foreign trusts in New Zealand. Legislation also states that they comply with all rules and regulations within New Zealand or face stern penalties. These rules and regulations prevent money from being laundered and tax evasion.
Working alongside Geoffrey Cone at tax law firm, Cone Marshall is fellow principal and managing director Karen Marshall. Mrs. Marshall joined the law firm in 2005 after working as a commercial litigator in the United Kingdom.