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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

Netherlands To Split Tax Agency
Wednesday 15/1/2020
On January 11, 2020, Dutch Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra informed the House of Representatives about the Government's plans to restructure the tax authorities.

Switzerland Simplifies Process For German WHT Refunds
Wednesday 15/1/2020
The Swiss Government has said that from January 31, individuals and legal entitles domiciled in Germany will be able to use an online Swiss application to request a refund of Swiss withholding tax.

Korea Enacts 2019 Tax Revision Bill
Wednesday 15/1/2020
The Korean Government has announced that the 2019 Tax Revision Bill was enacted on January 6, 2020, with a number of new measures added to the existing proposals.

IRS Launches Gig Economy Tax Center
Wednesday 15/1/2020
On January 9, 2019, the United States Internal Revenue Service announced the launch of a new Gig Economy Tax Center, which is intended to help taxpayers meet their tax obligations through more streamlined information.

Nigeria Offers Grace Period For Obtaining Tax Clearance Certificates
Wednesday 15/1/2020
The Executive Chairman of Nigeria's Federal Inland Revenue Service, Muhammad Nami, has signed a notice providing companies with an extra 30-day window to obtain a tax clearance certificate.

German FinMin Outlines 2020 Tax Changes
Tuesday 31/12/2019
The German Ministry of Finance has outlined a number of tax changes that are due to take effect in 2020 and 2021.

Luxembourg's 2020 Budget Approved By Parliament
Tuesday 31/12/2019
On December 19, 2019, Luxembourg's Chamber of Deputies approved the Government's Budget for 2020, which among other measures includes important changes to the validity of advanced tax rulings.

Tax Extenders Passed In US Spending Package
Monday 23/12/2019
On December 17, 2019, the United States House of Representatives passed a year-end spending package, which includes legislation extending numerous expired and expiring tax provisions, and repealing certain taxes introduced to help fund the Obamacare health care reforms.

Nigeria To Begin Tax Enforcement Campaign
Monday 23/12/2019
On December 17, 2019, Nigeria's Federal Inland Revenue Service issued a seven-day notice to tax defaulters and announced that it will soon begin a nationwide tax enforcement campaign in order to pursue those with unpaid taxes.

Belgium To Expedite VAT Refunds For Start-Ups
Tuesday 31/12/2019
On December 18, 2019, the Belgian Federal Public Finance Service announced that start-up companies can request accelerated refunds of value-added tax credits from January 1, 2020.