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New Zealand To Review Foreign Trusts' Transparency

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The New Zealand Government has appointed tax expert John Shewan to conduct an independent review of disclosure rules covering foreign trusts registered in the country.

Finance Minister Bill English said that, in light of the "Panama Papers" leak, "it's worth looking at whether the disclosure rules are fit for purpose and whether there are practical improvements we can make."

"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," the Minister said. "In addition, we have a strong tax treaty network with the express purpose of discovering and preventing tax avoidance."

Shewan has been asked to review foreign trusts' disclosure rules as they apply to record keeping, enforcement, and the exchange of information with other tax jurisdictions, and has been asked to report back to the Cabinet by June 30.

"We will certainly consider any issues raised there and we're prepared to look at changing the disclosure rules if Mr Shewan's review finds this is warranted," Michael Woodhouse, New Zealand's Revenue Minister, said.