The Shewan Review into New Zealand’s trust laws have been released. The review was a part of the Government’s response to the Panama Papers, which showed that New Zealand is a tax haven. The review states what we’ve known all along; ”the existing foreign trust disclosure rules are inadequate.”
The review recommends that all information on a trust, including the trust's settlors, protector, non-resident trustees, and beneficiaries should disclose their name, email address, foreign address, country of tax residence, and tax numbers at the time of registration. The report recommends that this information is either in a searchable but not in a public database, or made publicly available.
From talking with experts into this matter, they inform me that to ensure there is transparency in our trust system this information should be made public. If we’re able to get these recommendations put into practice, we can rid wealthy overseas interests from exploiting our trust system to dodge tax. This is why we need to fight hard to make sure the Government adopts the recommendation to make this information publically available.
So far the Minister of Revenue, Michael Woodhouse, has said the Government are open to enacting these recommendations but won’t make a decision for a month - meaning this is our moment to act. If we want to ensure the Government adopts all the recommendations, including a publicly searchable database of these trusts, then we need to match our response to when the Panama Papers were released, that pushed the Government into having to announce the review in the first place.
Once we get down to the detail of this issue, beyond the headline of New Zealand being a tax haven, the solutions get a bit technical. That’s why we need to make it crystal clear to the public how we can solve this problem through a simple set of explainer videos from issue experts and then funds to push this information out to the public. To do this, I need you to be one of 200 people that chips in $10 in the next 24 hours. This will fund a filmmaker, get an issue expert to explain the solutions and help these videos reach out to over 100,000 people in the public through paid advertising, so click here to chip in $10 now.
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