Category Archives: Global Attorney

Geoffrey Cone Invalidates the Tax Haven Claim about New Zealand

Published / by TheHI


Geoffrey Cone has responded to media reports claiming New Zealand is a haven for foreign trusts. According to an interview published in the New Zealand Herald on November 2012, Cone waft off claims that New Zealand is a tax haven by asserting that the country has never been listed as such by various OECD rankings. He noted that key characteristics of a tax haven included; nominal or lack of tax imposition, entrenchment of laws forbidding information sharing at the government level and evidential lack of transparency. In the first instance, New Zealand doesn’t operate a secretive banking sector. Cone added that New Zealand is in fact party to the 2001 OECD Model Agreement on Exchange of Information such as taxes. Most analysts see the OECD parameters as the benchmark for transparency.


On foreign trusts and trustees, the country continues to handle the issue with utmost transparency based on the rules crafted in 2006 by Michael Cullen. The transparency rules in New Zealand were further bolstered by the enactment of international legislation’s to curb money laundering in 2011. Under the Cullen rules several restrictions apply, including; need to produce IRD to fulfill the demands of the Foreign Trust Disclosure form; details about assets and liabilities and full personal details about the parties in the settlements. The trustee is also required by law to keep records of the accounting system, account codes and charts, if the trust is mandated to run a business. Since these rules apply to New Zealand and its citizens, stiff penalties are accessed on parties that fail to follow the guidelines.


About Geoffrey Cone

Geoffrey Cone is an authority on international tax and trust matters as well as a specialist in wealth planning. According to, his law practice Cone Marshall Ltd maintains an office in Auckland and Switzerland. Karen Marshall, LLB is a lead partner at the firm. The rules applying to taxation of trust are highly complex because they involve a range of intricate issues, including tax administration, tax avoidance and trust residence. Wealth management, on the other hand, focuses on areas like estate and business tax planning, fiduciary investment and administration of trusts and estates.


The multifaceted nature of tax and trustee issues means only an attorney with the full knowledge of the law and experience can handle related issues competently. According to the International Comparative Legal Guide, Geoffrey Cone holds an LLB Hons and Postgraduate Diploma in tax and trust law from the prestigious University of Otago, New Zealand. His career in law kick started back in 1980 in Auckland before moving to Christchurch, New Zealand. His initial areas of practice included; tax and trust advisory and commercial litigation. Cone is married to Sarah Cone, both love traveling and outdoor adventures.