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

SCOOP COVERAGE: CHRISTCHURCH MOSQUES TERROR ATTACK


Fair Pay Agreements Good: CTU Releases Report On Sector Bargaining

The Council of Trade Unions has today released an independent report conducted by economic research company BERL into the validity of sector bargaining.

And the findings are clear - there is no economic reason not to implement sector bargaining but many social and individual wellbeing reasons to do so. More>>

 

Goldsmith New National Finance Spokesperson: Amy Adams To Leave Politics In 2020

Amy Adams has announced she will retire from politics at the 2020 election and as a consequence of that decision she has chosen to stand down from the spokesperson roles she holds in the Party. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Offensive Language, Misuse Of Pepper Spray

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that, following a pursuit in Auckland, a man was dealt with inappropriately and unprofessionally by a Police officer during his arrest. More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: Gender Inclusive Questions Introduced

More than 28,000 New Zealand households will be asked to take part in the upcoming Household Economic Survey. Starting this year, the survey will ask people to describe their gender – whether that is male, female, or if they see themselves another way, such as one of many non-binary genders. More>>

New Report: Are We Listening To Children?

A report released today is a sharp reminder that what children and young people say makes a difference, and that it’s time we paid more attention to their views, says Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft. More>>

ALSO:

The Nation: Canadian Euthanasia Practitioner Stefanie Green

The euthanasia debate is progressing, with the End of Life Choice Bill expected to have its second reading in Parliament on Wednesday. A similar bill was passed in Canada in 2016 ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Gun Buy-Back Scheme

Do gun amnesties and buy-backs save lives? Since it’s always difficult to exclude all of the socio-economic factors that may be operating in parallel, the die-hard denialists in the gun lobby will always be able to find a bit of wiggle room. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels