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New requirements for foreign trusts in NZ

27 July 2004

The government will introduce legislation imposing new information requirements on foreign trusts set up in New Zealand, the Minister of Revenue announced today. The measure is intended to help New Zealand meet its commitments to full disclosure of information with other tax jurisdictions. For more information see the government's media statement.


Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister of Revenue

MEDIA STATEMENT

New tax requirements for NZ-based foreign trusts

To ensure New Zealand can meet its international commitments to full disclosure with other tax jurisdictions, the Tax Administration Act will be amended to impose new requirements on foreign trusts set up here, Revenue Minister Michael Cullen said today.

"Foreign trusts will be required to have an IRD number, keep records for New Zealand tax purposes, provide certain information when they are first set up in New Zealand or appoint New Zealand trustees, and provide information to Inland Revenue on a regular basis.

"Under New Zealand law, foreign income derived by non-residents is outside the New Zealand tax base, and rightly so. The government has no intention of changing that.

"Because they are not taxed here, foreign trusts that are set up here do not have to file New Zealand income tax returns or keep records if they receive only foreign-sourced income.

"But this means that we may not be able to provide full information on foreign trusts operating here when foreign tax authorities request it – as many are entitled to do under a double tax agreement they have signed with New Zealand.

"The law change will provide an effective mechanism for obtaining information on these trusts. New Zealand will collect, store and transfer the information to the relevant foreign tax authorities on request, and to Australia on an annual basis – as it has requested.

"The change will be included in the taxation bill planned for introduction in November and will apply from 1 April 2005," Dr Cullen said.

Contact: Patricia Herbert [press secretary] 04-471-9412 or 021-270-9013. E-mail patricia.herbert@parliament.govt.nz
Technical inquiries to Helen Mackenzie [tax advisor, Dr Cullen’s office] 471-9728.