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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

Ecuador Introduces Amnesty And Taxes On Assets
Wednesday 5/1/2022
Legislation has been enacted in Ecuador to introduce new taxes on companies and wealthy individuals, to fund government efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Philippines DOF Says Wealth Tax Plan Would Be Self-Defeating
Monday 6/12/2021
The Philippines Department of Finance has issued a statement warning against the introduction of a new tax on the super wealthy.

US Hikes Thresholds For Tax-Privileged Retirement Arrangements
Tuesday 9/11/2021


Malta Announces Individual Tax Reliefs In 2022 Budget
Monday 1/11/2021
Malta's recently released 2022 Budget includes measures to support low-income workers and those working part-time or overtime, to improve the supply of affordable housing, and to introduce a new concessionary tax regime for artists and performers.

Indonesian Lawmakers Approve Tax Reform Plans
Monday 18/10/2021
Indonesia's lower house of parliament has signed off on a bill that provides for a two-stage hike to the headline value-added tax rate, the cancellation of a planned corporate tax cut, and the introduction of a new top rate of personal income tax.

Netherlands Announces 'Modest' 2022 Budget
Monday 4/10/2021
The Dutch Government has announced changes aimed at improving the tax system in its 2022 Tax Plan, released on September 21.

US Lawmakers Approve New Cryptoassets Reporting Rules
Wednesday 25/8/2021
The US Senate has approved the inclusion of new provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure bill to require intermediaries involved in cryptocurrency trading to report details about transactions.

Wyden Takes Aim At US Pass-Through Income Tax Break
Friday 6/8/2021
Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) has introduced legislation to overhaul the 20 percent deduction for pass-through income introduced into US tax law in 2017.

Hong Kong Explains COVID-19 Reliefs For Tax Debtors
Friday 6/8/2021
Hong Kong's Inland Revenue Department has explained COVID-19 tax concessions available for taxpayers struggling to pay their tax dues and has highlighted upcoming property tax obligations.

Mauritius Announces New Tax Reliefs In 2021-22 Budget
Friday 6/8/2021
Mauritius announced numerous tax relief measures for investors and for wealthy foreign individuals in its newly released Budget.