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Offshore Trusts Report: Liechtenstein

Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Liechtenstein is the only civil law jurisdiction which has adopted largely anglo-saxon trust legislation (contained in the PGR Code), although, unlike the common law trust, there is no bar against accumulation of income, nor against perpetuities.

Liechtenstein is home to a thriving business in trust management. Although other local corporate forms offer partial substitutes for the trust, it remains a highly effective means of asset protection, and non-anglo-saxon clients are often more comfortable with Liechtenstein as a jurisdiction than they might be with, for instance, an ex-British colony.

A Liechtenstein Trust is set up by a written agreement (Trust Deed) between the trustor (settlor) and trustee(s), or by a written Declaration of Trust by the trustor, matched by a written Acceptance of Trust by the trustee. The legislation in fact does not speak of 'trusts' but of 'trusteeship'.

The Trust Deed does not have to contain the names of beneficiaries. If the Trust Deed is deposited with the Registrar of Trusts, it will not be publicly available, and later instruments (eg naming beneficiaries) will not have to be revealed; if the Trust Deed is not deposited within 12 months, details of the trust must be placed on the public register, comprising:

  • a description of the trust;

  • the date of formation;

  • the duration of the trust;

  • the name (or trade name) and address of the trustee.

A registration fee is payable on registration. A trust under foreign law is a Liechtenstein Trust and subject to local taxation. Liechtenstein Trusts are taxed annually on their capital value at 0.075% if capital is between SFr 2m and 10m, and 0.05% if capital is over SFr 10m (at the time of writing). Payments to non-resident beneficiaries of a Trust are free of withholding tax.

The trustor can make quite specific arrangements in the Trust Deed covering the identification of beneficiaries, and future procedures of various types; the trust property must be separated from the trustor's other assets, and the trustee can take action to enforce this against the trustor under contract law. The Deed must not bind the trustee to the trustor's continuing directions, or the trust will lapse into ordinary contract law.

   

The Report

Offshore Trusts Guide: Introduction

The History of Offshore Trusts
Development of Professional Competence in the Jurisdictions
What Future for the Trust?
The New Age of Transparency
The Swiss Association of Trust Companies
The Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners

Offshore Trusts Guide: Jurisdictions

Bahamas

Bahamas: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bahamas: 2006 Private Trust Companies Legislation

Barbados

Barbados: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Barbados: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Bermuda

Bermuda: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bermuda: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
British Virgin Islands: Special Trusts Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: The Trustee Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: :Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees
British Virgin Islands: New Laws on Private Trust Companies
British Virgin Islands: New Private Trust Company Regulations

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cayman Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cook Islands

Cook Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cook Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cyprus

Cyprus: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cyprus: Supervision, Licensing and Tax

Gibraltar

Gibraltar: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Gibraltar: Legislation, Regulation and Supervision

Guernsey

Guernsey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Guernsey: Trusts Law 2007

Isle of Man

Isle of Man: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Isle of Man: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Isle of Man: Uses Clients and Tax Treatment

Jersey

Jersey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Jersey: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Jersey: Trusts Amendment Act 2006
Jersey: Foundations

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Liechtenstein: Regulation Supervision and Transparency
Liechtenstein: Characteristics of Liechtenstein Trusts
Liechtenstein: Foundations

Madeira

Madeira: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Malta

Malta: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Malta: The Trust and Trustees Act 2004

Mauritius

Mauritius: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Mauritius: Characteristics of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Additional Provisions of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Tax Treatment

Monaco

Monaco: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Nevis

Nevis: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

New Zealand

New Zealand: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
New Zealand: Review of the Law of Trusts
New Zealand: Taxation of Trusts

Panama

Panama: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Panama: Requirements for Acting as Trust Company in Panama

Seychelles

Seychelles: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Turks & Caicos: The Voidable Dispositions Ordinance

Vanuatu

Vanuatu Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

 


Liechtenstein News

Guernsey Welcomes Migration Of First Foreign Foundation Wednesday 8/10/2014 Guernsey's company registry has approved the first ever migration of a foundation from another jurisdiction to Guernsey.

Liechtenstein, Malta Sign DTA Friday 4/10/2013 Liechtenstein's Foreign Minister Aurelia Frick and her Maltese counterpart George Vella have recently signed in New York a bilateral double taxation agreement between the two countries in respect of taxes on income and on wealth.

Liechtenstein Congratulated On Successful Tax Policy Thursday 19/9/2013 Standard and Poor's has maintained Liechtenstein's triple A rating, alluding to a stable outlook and highlighting the fact that the Principality's fiscal and financial policies have very much contributed to Liechtenstein's reputation and strength as a safe, reliable, and attractive economic location.

Austria Eyes US FATCA Deal Friday 10/5/2013 Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has announced plans to enter into talks with the US and with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, aimed at combating tax fraud and tax evasion.

Austria Willing To Negotiate With EU On Banking Secrecy Wednesday 1/5/2013 Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and Deputy Chancellor Michael Spindelegger have recently confirmed Austria's willingness "to participate constructively" in negotiations between the European Union and third states on an automatic exchange of banking information.

LGT Headquarters Middle East Business In Dubai Tuesday 19/2/2013 LGT Group, the international private banking and asset management group, owned by the royal family of Liechtenstein, has chosen Dubai as the headquarters of its new subsidiary, LGT (Middle East) Limited, following regulatory approvals to operate in the Dubai International Financial Center.

Liechtenstein, Austria Close To Tax Agreement Friday 18/1/2013 Liechtenstein’s Prime Minister Klaus Tschütscher has confirmed plans to conclude a tax package with Austria shortly.

Austria To Agree Swiss-Style Tax Deal With Liechtenstein Tuesday 15/1/2013 During an upcoming working visit to Vienna, Liechtenstein’s Prime Minister Klaus Tschütscher is due to hold talks with key ministers from the Austrian chancellery and from the finance ministry, with the discussions focussing on the "imminent conclusion" of a bilateral tax agreement between the two countries.

Liechtenstein, UK DTA In Force Wednesday 2/1/2013 Following the exchange of relevant notifications, the agreement pertaining to the avoidance of double taxation and tax evasion in the area of taxes on income and on wealth between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Principality of Liechtenstein has now entered into force.

Liechtenstein, Austria Eye Swift Conclusion Of Tax Deal Wednesday 12/12/2012 Negotiations between Liechtenstein and Austria on a tax deal aimed at resolving the issue of Austrian citizens' undeclared bank accounts in the Principality are said to be in full swing.