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Introduction: Development Of Professional Competence In The Jurisdictions

When offshore trusts began to be used in a major way, they were usually set up by professionals in the home jurisdiction of the settlor, reflecting the lack of professional expertise in the few offshore jurisdictions that were then available. Eventually the main professional firms began to set up offices in the jurisdictions, and a gradual process began which has resulted in the emergence of sophisticated, multi-disciplinary firms offshore. When these firms work for the corporate sector, they can be referred to as 'corporate service providers', a term which implies a blend of tax, legal and financial expertise.

In parallel with the growth of professional expertise, and sometimes in competition with it, those jurisdictions which encouraged banking usually saw the development of 'fiduciary' companies, often run as departments of banks, which specialised in the setting-up and running of trusts. The banks after all, which were and are rapidly developing their private banking sides, had a ready supply of wealthy clients for a trust business.

In most jurisdictions, professional competence ran ahead of legislative controls, and in many jurisdictions the wall of money that hit offshore from illicit sources in the '90s may have found it all too easy to burrow unseen into the layer of anonymous trusts, IBCs (International Business Companies) and bank accounts that makes up the asset base of offshore. The response of the legislators, sometimes with quite a lot of pushing from the international bodies that have been trying to clean up 'offshore', has usually been to pass a 'Banks and Trusts Act' or similar, which establishes a licensing and 'know your customer' regime for the trust sector.

The horror of 9/11 has of course enormously accelerated this process, and faced with extremely sharp-toothed US legislation, the major offshore jurisdictions have raced to become cleaner-than-clean in terms of their anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist funding regimes, to the point that many of them are by now far 'cleaner' than the very OECD countries which began the anti-offshore process in the mid-90s.

The Report

Offshore Trusts Guide: Introduction

Offshore Trusts Guide: Jurisdictions

Bahamas Barbados Bermuda British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Cook Islands Cyprus Gibraltar Guernsey Isle of Man Jersey Liechtenstein Madeira Malta Mauritius Monaco Nevis New Zealand Panama Seychelles Turks & Caicos Vanuatu


Offshore Trusts News

Ukrainian Corporate Tax Reform Plans Shelved
Friday 14/12/2018
Ukraine has reportedly postponed consideration of a bill that would reform the country's corporate tax system to shift the burden of tax from company profits to distributions.

UK Urged To Drop Plan To Extend Offshore Tax Limitations Period
Friday 30/11/2018
The UK Parliament's Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee has proposed that provisions should be stripped from the Finance Bill that would extend the time limit on assessing offshore tax to 12 years.

UK Urged To Push Back Making Tax Digital Agenda
Friday 30/11/2018
In a new report released on November 22, 2018, the UK's Economic Affairs Committee called for a one-year delay to the implementation date of Making Tax Digital for VAT.

Germany's Bundestag Approves VAT Reforms
Friday 16/11/2018
Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, has approved the introduction of new value-added tax rules for online marketplaces.

UK To Shutter Second Home Tax Avoidance 'Loophole'
Friday 9/11/2018
The UK Government has announced its intention to tackle the use of a commercial property tax (business rates) exemption, intended only for small businesses, by second-home owners to avoid paying residential property tax (Council Tax) on those homes.

UK Announces Digital Tax, Corporate Tax Reforms In New Budget
Friday 2/11/2018
The UK's 2018 Budget includes changes to tax rules for companies, and notably for multinational groups to conform with the EU's Anti Tax Avoidance Directive. Most significantly, the UK has decided to move ahead of the EU in announcing that it will apply a tax on the turnover of certain digital businesses.

Jersey Tables Legislation For New Economic Substance Rules
Monday 29/10/2018
The Jersey Government has announced that it will release for public consultation guidance notes on the introduction of a new economic substance requirement for certain taxpayers to access Jersey's tax regime.

Australian SME Tax Cuts Now Law
Monday 29/10/2018
Legislation to reduce Australia's small business tax rate received Royal Assent on October 25.

Canada To Push Ahead With Carbon Tax Plans
Monday 29/10/2018
Canada's federal Government has announced that it will impose a carbon price in Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan in 2019.

EU Tells Italy To Revise 2019 Budget Plan
Friday 26/10/2018
On October 23, 2018, the European Commission issued a request to the Italian Government that it revise its draft budgetary plan for 2019 because it breaches European Union fiscal rules.