The tax situation in New Zealand has been described as one of the most glamourous things in New Zealand by the media. The media has portrayed the tax in the country as one with wealthy people, beautiful lands and a nation that has held executive financial transactions. According to Lawyer Geoffrey Cone New Zealand is not a tax haven, it has never been, and it is not about to be among countries that are a tax haven. The OECD maintain a list of the nations that are a tax port and the features that the country must possess. Some of the features include, the nation must impose no or minimal tax on their citizens, it must not be transparent, and the laws must hinder the exchange of information with other governments. Cone urges that New Zealand does not have the characteristics required to be a tax haven.
2002 OECD Model Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters is the gold standard for transparency. The model agreement supports the international exchange of information that manages the domestic tax law. New Zealand was among the first countries to be included in the OECD white list f or their efforts in implementing the agreed international tax standard. New Zealand can be described as a country that has well demonstrated its tax leadership by the way they have handling their foreign trust as well as trustees.
In 2006 Mike Cullen did an extensive research on New Zealand taxation and introduced new rules and regulations. The rules states that every New Zealand resident trustee of foreign trust must submit their Foreign Trust Disclosure forms (IR607) as required by the IRD and keep them in New Zealand for the purposes of the government taxation processes.
The documents to be included includes trust deeds, their details of settlements as well as distribution, details of trust assets as well as liabilities, and the income and expenditure of the foreigner. The rules also requires every foreigner who has a business in the country to include information about their accounting system as well as their accounting charts and codes. All the documents are required to be in English and must be preserved in New Zealand.
Geoffrey Cone is a lawyer who holds a degree in LLB and a Diploma in tax and trust law from the University if Otago New Zealand. After his graduation, he started practicing his career in Auckland in 1980, and he later moved to Christchurch. In Christchurch, he was a partner and the chairman of partners in a leading law firm. He has served as a commercial litigator and a tax and trust advisor and has also appeared in court as a council. Cone started his firm in 1999 after working in West Indies for two years. He started Cone Marshall limited which is described as the only law firm in New Zealand that offers tax and trust. The firm also provides trust and trustee management services.