New Zealand foreign trust registry will be closed to general public

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Bill English, New Zealand’s Finance Minister has officially accepted all the recommendations of the “Shewan Inquiry” into foreign trust disclosure regulations in New Zealand.
One key measure of this enquiry is an obligatory register, detailing all foreign trusts that will be available to all New Zealand based law enforcement agencies. This was imposed as a result of the Mossack Fonseca scandal last month after concerns were raised about potential foreign trusts in held New Zealand for corrupt purposes.

The reports suspected that there were in excess of 12,000 offshore trusts on the island with privately held accounts and anonymous beneficiaries. This type of data could already be requested by New Zealand’s own regulators as per their current foreign trust legislation that was set out in 2006. However it was not immediately obtainable by authorities, as Trustees are were not obligated to file their records with on an on-going basis.

From now on, each fiscal year Trustees must report any amendments to the information provided at registration, along with the trust’s annual fiscal statements and the quantity of any paid or credited distributions as well as the recipient’s full details.

The Inland Revenue Department will hold all this information for their own purpose, which will be passable to the police and the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs; not for general public disclosure or use.

Overseas trusts have currently not satisfied these requirements and will not be allowed the usual tax exemption from the New Zealand government on externally sourced income.