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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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On June 24, 2020, the Belgian Ministry of Finance issued a clarification of tax payment deadlines for non-resident individuals after the tax authority issued tax statements with the wrong due dates.

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The French Government has presented to the Council of Ministers a third amendment to the Finance Bill for 2020, which provides additional support for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Italian Tax Agency Summarizes New COVID-19 Tax Support Measures
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On May 21, 2020, the Italian Revenue Agency issued a summary of additional tax measures in Decree 34/2020, which are intended to further support taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 virus.

US House Passes COVID-19 Stimulus Bill With Tax Measures
Thursday 28/5/2020
On May 15, 2020, the United States House of Representatives approved the HEROES Act, which amends previous COVID-19-related stimulus legislation by changing loss carryback rules and providing further tax support for businesses and individuals.

Switzerland Launches New Tax Burden Calculation Tool
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The Swiss Federal Department of Finance has announced the launch of a new online tool for individuals taxpayers, which is being developed also for legal entities.

No New Tax Announcements In New Zealand's 2020 Budget
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New Zealand's new 2020 Budget, announced on May 14, highlighted recently enacted tax measures and announced the creation of a new NZD50bn COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

France Announces COVID-19 Tax Support For Wine Industry
Friday 15/5/2020
On May 11, 2020, the French Government presented a COVID-19-related economic support package targeted at the nation's wine industry, which includes relief from social contributions.

Malaysia Issues FAQs On COVID-19 Tax Residency Issues
Friday 15/5/2020
The Government of Malaysia has issued new FAQs on international tax issues relating to COVID-19 travel restrictions.