There is something known as the tax-free day. It is a different day for each individual depending on their income. It is tallied by calculating the amount of days you must work in order to pay your tax bill for the year. For many, it can be distressing to learn that you must work for months in order to pay the government its share of taxes before you keep any money for yourself.
Now what if I told you that wealthy individuals can dodge taxes altogether? And when I say wealthy, I mean mega-wealthy; in the billions. These individuals can hire lawyers to examine tax loopholes and hide their money from the government in order to avoid taxes altogether. They do this by using tax haven countries.
Unless you’re a billionaire, you are probably pretty uncomfortable reading this information. You would probably like to express your anger towards these tax haven countries. But according to tax lawyer Geoff Cone, you shouldn’t get mad at New Zealand.
A recent New Zealand Herald article said that New Zealand was a tax haven for foreign trusts. Cone says that can’t be farther from the truth. In fact, he says, New Zealand was the first country to achieve a gold standard for transparency from the Organization for Economic Communication and development.
Transparency, he says, is the essential deterrent for wealthy people wanting to hide their money from their own government. All their own government has to do is call up the New Zealand government and ask for assistance in their investigation. New Zealand has a deal with 20 countries that allows for this free and easy communication.
Cone points to other factors that indicate New Zealand is not a tax haven, including New Zealand’s own tax system and well-regulated banking industry. People looking to hide their cash in a foreign trust inside of New Zealand must deal with these shadow bank-killing regulations.
Cone has been working on foreign trusts since 1990. He quickly moved to Auckland after achieving a postgraduate degree in trusts and tax law at the University of Otago. His work ethic earned him a partnership at a major law firm in Christchurch.
He now runs Cone Marshall, a trust and tax law firm in Auckland. His legal expertise even earned him a two-year stint in the British West Indies working as a litigator. But now he is committed full time to trusts and tax law on the North Island.