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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

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New Zealand's Inland Revenue on September 7, 2020, announced the release of updated guidance on the tax treatment of crypto-assets in New Zealand, including virtual currencies.

UK Reviewing VAT Group Rules
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The UK Government has recently issued a call for evidence from UK VAT groups on future policy reform.

COVID-19: Netherlands Clarifies Rules For Payment Of Deferred Tax Liabilities
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The Dutch tax authority has issued a clarification of the repayment requirements for taxes deferred during the COVID-19 health crisis.

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Panama's parliament is presenting considering changes to income tax rates for small- and medium-sized businesses, included in Bill 358.

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Cayman Rules Out New Taxes In Response To COVID-19
Tuesday 18/8/2020
The Government of the Cayman Islands has ruled out the introduction of direct taxes or new indirect taxes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Greece Approves Tax Breaks For Foreign Pensioners
Friday 7/8/2020
Greece has published in its Official Gazette a law to introduce a special tax regime for foreign pensioners relocating to the country.

Greece Planning Tax Perks For Expat Retirees
Friday 24/7/2020
Greece is set to introduce a special seven percent flat rate of tax on the overseas income of retired foreign nationals who shift their tax residence to Greece.

Singapore Launches Consultation On Income Tax Reforms
Friday 24/7/2020
Singapore's Ministry of Finance has launched a public consultation on proposed corporate tax and income tax breaks.

Malta Extends Individual Tax Deadlines
Friday 24/7/2020
Malta's Commissioner for Revenue has extended the deadline for submitting income tax returns.