Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Good riddance

It appears that even National's weak reforms of trust laws are too much for foreign trusts:

The number of foreign trusts registered in New Zealand has plummeted by about three-quarters since a clampdown was ordered in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.

Inland Revenue said fewer than 3000 foreign trusts met a deadline last week for them to provide more information about their structures and activities.

There were 11,645 registered in April last year, in the immediate aftermath of the hacking of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

About 3000 trusts had told Inland Revenue they didn't want to be part of the new regime, a spokesman said, and the tax department hadn't heard from the balance of about 5000 trusts, meaning they also could no longer legally operate in New Zealand.

All National requires of these trusts is a declaration about ultimate beneficiaries and annual financial statements. And if that's too much for them, then the natural conclusion is that the money flows they are hiding are not legal, and that they really are just vehicles for tax evasion, money laundering, and concealing corrupt payoffs. And if that's the case, we are well rid of this industry, and should have evicted it sooner.