On 13 July New Zealand's Finance Minister Bill English and
Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse announced the government will
act on all recommendations from the Shewan Inquiry into foreign
trust disclosures rules.
Following the Panama Papers data leak, the New Zealand
Government appointed tax expert John Shewan as an independent
adviser to review the country's foreign trust disclosures
registration and disclosure of
information to government agencies (not publicly searchable);
increased information sharing between
government agencies, and
anti-money laundering rules.
As the government is also committed to preventing anti-money
laundering, there will be more comprehensive requirements for
lawyers, accountants, and real estate agents among others.
These changes will be consistent with New Zealand's
commitment to global transparency initiatives and will protect its
strong and well-deserved reputation as an active member of the
The registration, information disclosure and reporting points
will be addressed during the August 2016 tax bill. Legislation will
then be introduced later in 2016 and is expected to be passed in
the first half of 2017.
The majority of the new disclosure rules are expected to align
with the new disclosure requirements under the Common Reporting
Standard, an international reporting convention to which over 100
countries have already committed.
Allowing foreign trusts to establish in New Zealand is
consistent with the government's policy of maintaining an open
economy which welcomes foreign investment and active financial
services sector; this stance is unlikely to change.
Trustees, professional advisers and back office service
providers to New Zealand Foreign Trusts will need to be aware of
the new disclosures and be ready to provide the additional
information as required.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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