Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Review of foreign trust disclosure rules


Hon Bill English

Minister of Finance

Hon Michael Woodhouse

Minister of Revenue

11 April 2016
Media Statement

Review of foreign trust disclosure rules


Cabinet today agreed to appoint highly regarded tax expert John Shewan to conduct an independent review of disclosure rules covering foreign trusts registered in New Zealand, Ministers Bill English and Michael Woodhouse say.

“Ministers decided that in light of the ‘Panama Papers’ being released last week, it’s worth looking at whether the disclosure rules are fit for purpose and whether there are practical improvements we can make,” Mr English says.

“Our rules require foreign trusts to be registered and to keep detailed financial and other records, which can be requested by Inland Revenue and passed on to tax authorities in other countries.

“In addition, we have a strong tax treaty network with the express purpose of discovering and preventing tax avoidance.

“As we’ve said, we’re open to considering changes to disclosure rules if that is warranted. So we’ve asked Mr Shewan to take a thorough and independent look at the current regime to check that it’s fit for purpose,” Mr English says.

The terms of reference include reviewing foreign trusts’ disclosure rules as they apply to record keeping, enforcement and the exchange of information with other tax jurisdictions.

Mr Shewan has been asked to report back to the ministers by 30 June.

Mr Woodhouse says it’s important to keep the foreign trusts issue in context.

“Claims that New Zealand is a tax haven are wrong. We have a robust tax base and we’re operating under stronger disclosure rules introduced by the previous Labour government in 2006.

“As Michael Cullen said at the time, he sought to develop a policy that worked for all concerned - enabling New Zealand to cooperate with other tax jurisdictions, while not disrupting the legitimate financial transactions of foreign trusts.

“Just three years ago the OECD rated New Zealand as “compliant” in this area - the highest possible rating. It’s due to look at our tax transparency rules again next year.

“In the meantime, the OECD has called a specially-convened meeting in Paris this week to consider issues raised by the ‘Panama Papers’ and our Inland Revenue is sending a representative to that meeting.

“We will certainly consider any issues raised there and we’re prepared to look at changing the disclosure rules if Mr Shewan’s review finds this is warranted,” Mr Woodhouse says.

ENDS

FOREIGN TRUST DISCLOSURE RULES

Scope of review

In its combined Phase 1 and Phase 2 Peer Review Report of 2013, the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes rated New Zealand “compliant” – the highest possible ranking.

Given the release of documents known as the ‘Panama Papers’, the Ministers of Finance and Revenue would like you to review New Zealand's existing disclosurerules and practices in the following areas as they relate to foreign trusts:

• Record-keeping, including records required to be provided to the Government

• Enforcement

• Exchange with foreign jurisdictions.

The Ministers would like you to report on whether the existing rules, when considered alongside New Zealand’s:

• Commitment to the OECD action plan on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS)

• Commitment to the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters

• Commitment to implementing the global standard for the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) and

• Existing and planned bilateral tax treaty network (including tax information exchange agreements)

• Anti-Money Laundering framework

• Other related regimes

- are sufficient to ensure our reputation is maintained.

If not, the Ministers would like your report to provide options on enhancements to our disclosure rules and/or practices and any other matters.

Your report should be sent to the relevant Ministers by 30 June 2016.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Ellen Rykers on The Dig: Community Conservation – The Solution To The Biodiversity Crisis?

There are backyard trapping networks doing their bit for Predator Free 2050, farmers planting native trees along their waterways, and iwi protecting whenua rāhui. There are 62 biodiversity sanctuaries across 56,000 hectares, with around two-thirds of them community-led. There are citizen scientists counting birds in their backyards and landowners conserving habitat in 3,500 Queen Elizabeth II National Trust covenants.

It’s increasingly clear that a government agency alone cannot combat the biodiversity crisis successfully. These grass-roots initiatives are a growing resource in the conservation toolbox. More>>

Closing This Weekend! Have Your Say On The Issues For NZ's New Biodiversity Strategy

Scoop and PEP invite you to help decide how we should protect and restore our biodiversity over the next 50 years using Scoop’s online engagement platform, HiveMind. HAVE YOUR SAY HERE>>

Biodiversity HiveMind Preliminary Progress Report
Open data report summarising preliminary findings of the Biodiversity HiveMind. Read Progress Report Here>>

 

PM In Japan: Jacinda Ardern’s Remarks Following Abe Summit

Today we discussed a wide range of topics. Broadly the themes were: a deeper, high-value trade and investment relationship, greater cooperation in the Pacific; and strengthening our security partnership. More>>

ALSO:

Replacing All But Chair: Twyford Appoints Five NZTA Board Members

Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced the appointment of five new members to the NZ Transport Agency Board... There remain two vacancies on the NZTA Board which will be filled in due course. More>>

ALSO:

Climate Change: Adaptation And Risk Assessment Framework Released

“We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate such as coastal inundation and increasingly frequent and severe droughts, floods, fires and storms. This framework is an acknowledgement that we must start adapting”, James Shaw said today. More>>

ALSO:

Ihumātao: Mana Whenua Reach Decision On Land

Māori King Tūheitia says mana whenua have finally reached consensus over what to do with Ihumātao - they want it back. More>>

ALSO:

PM To Japan, New York: Ardern To Meet Trump During UN Trip

“I’m looking forward to discussing a wide range of international and regional issues with President Trump, including our cooperation in the Pacific and the trade relationship between our countries." More>>

PM's Post-Cab: "A Way Forward"

At Monday's post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a number of actions in response to the Labour Party's mishandling of sexual assault complaints. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Allegations Of Left Wing Media Bias

“Left wing bias” accusations date back at least to the mid 1990s... The charge of left wing bias was ridiculous then, and is ridiculous now. More>>

Next Wave Of Reforms: Gun Registration And Licensing Changes Announced

“The Bill includes a register to track firearms and new offences and penalties that can be applied extraterritorially for illegal manufacture, trafficking, and for falsifying, removing, or altering markings – which are a new requirement under the Firearms Protocol.” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels