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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

Belgian Lawmakers Approve New Tax On Securities Trading
Monday 22/2/2021
At a plenary session on February 11, 2021, Belgium's parliament adopted a draft law for a new annual tax on securities accounts.

US Tax Season Begins
Monday 22/2/2021
The Internal Revenue Service launched tax season for individuals on February 15, 2021, highlighting the various supports available for taxpayers when preparing their returns.

Dutch Senate Approves 2021 Tax Changes
Tuesday 22/12/2020
The Dutch Senate has approved the 2021 Tax Plan package, which introduces a lower rate of corporate tax for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Bermuda Consults Industry On New Conduct Of Business Regime
Wednesday 13/1/2021
The Bermuda Monetary Authority on December 15, 2020, released a new consultation paper on its proposal for a conduct of business regulatory regime to better protect retail investors.

UK Eyeing VAT Rule Changes For Sharing Economy
Tuesday 22/12/2020
The UK Government is inviting input on the tax challenges associated with the rise of the sharing economy.

French Legislature Considering 2021 Finance Bill
Thursday 10/12/2020
France's Senate is considering the country's 2021 Finance Bill, following approval in late November by the National Assembly.

UK May Double Capital Gains Tax Burden
Tuesday 17/11/2020
More closely aligning UK capital gains tax (CGT) rates with income tax rates could raise significant revenues for the UK, a government-commissioned review has concluded.

Malta Releases 2021 Budget
Monday 2/11/2020
Malta's 2021 Budget, announced on October 19, 2020, included tax breaks for individuals and an increase to the VAT registration threshold.

OECD Indicates New Focus On Virtual Currency Tax Issues
Tuesday 20/10/2020
The OECD has released a new report on countries' tax rules for virtual currencies, alongside an announcement that the Common Reporting Standard will be expanded next year to newly cover virtual currency assets.

UK Updates Brexit VAT Guidance For Imported Goods
Tuesday 20/10/2020
On October 5, 2020, the UK tax authority added considerably to its Brexit guidance for businesses on the value-added tax rules that will apply to goods entering Great Britain from outside the UK.