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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

EU Takes Action Against Spain Over Rules On Reporting Of Assets
Thursday 13/6/2019
The European Commission is taking Spain to the Court of Justice over the imposition of "disproportionate" sanctions for failure to report assets held abroad.

Hungary Announces Tax Cut Plan
Wednesday 5/6/2019
On May 31, 2019, the Hungarian Ministry of Finance announced numerous tax cuts as part of an economic growth plan.

Belgium Begins Accepting Personal Income Tax Returns
Friday 10/5/2019
On May 2, 2019, Belgium's finance ministry confirmed that the Tax-on-web portal has been opened for personal and corporate income tax returns for the 2019 fiscal year.

Austria To Cut Corporate Tax To 21pc By 2023
Friday 10/5/2019
Austria's Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, has announced plans for significant tax cuts for businesses and individuals.

HMRC Loses High-Profile IR35 Case
Friday 10/5/2019
The UK tax agency, HM Revenue and Customs, has lost a significant ruling concerning the application of the IR35 intermediaries legislation.

NZ Accountants Welcome Tax Reform Decisions
Monday 29/4/2019
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) has given a guarded welcome to the New Zealand Government's response to the recommendations of the Tax Working Group.

Barbados To Slash PIT Rates Through Indirect Tax Grab
Monday 15/4/2019
Barbados's 2019 Budget includes proposals to remove VAT input tax credits for various supplies, reform the personal income tax regime, and generate more revenues from property taxes and the gaming sector.

Denmark Seeking To Modernize Labor Tax Rules
Friday 5/4/2019
On March 25, 2019, the Danish Tax Ministry announced that it is studying ways in which the tax system can be adapted to new forms of employment and ways of working, with an emphasis on technological developments.

UK's Making Tax Digital Initiative To Cover Only VAT Until 2021
Tuesday 26/3/2019
British businesses have welcomed confirmation from the UK Government that Making Tax Digital will not be rolled out to other taxes and more businesses in 2020.

Canada Launches Tax Filing Season
Tuesday 26/2/2019
On February 19, the Canada Revenue Agency officially opened the 2019 tax filing season.