Category Archives: Lawyers

Lawyer Geoffrey Cone Response on New Zealand Foreign Trusts and Taxes

New Zealand’s foreign trusts were recently reported in the media in a way that paints a totally different picture than what is on the ground. Lawyer Geoffrey Cone took the time to address the state of affairs on the ground in an article that was widely circulated in most social networks. Cone disputed the claims that New Zealand was a tax haven, and explained that it does not appear on the list of all tax havens that is kept by OECD. Further, he explained that in tax havens there is no transparency and minimal or no taxes, a situation that is totally different in New Zealand.



Tax Transparency and Foreign Trusts



New Zealand appears on the white list of OECD for having implemented the 2002 OECD Model Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters. New Zealand was in fact among the first countries to appear in this list. New Zealand also demonstrates its leadership in as far as tax transparency is concerned on the way it handles its foreign trusts and the strict requirements placed on the trustees. The measures above are all meant to aid in the exchange of information with governments that make such requests.



Rigorous Regime



New rules were introduced in 2006 by Michael Cullen after lengthy consultations. A resident trustee from New Zealand in a foreign trust is supposed to fill and submit an IR607 (Foreign Trust Disclosure Form), as well as keep records and financial for tax purposes in NZ. These include details of all assets and liabilities of the trust, and the money the trustee gets and spends. If they carry on a business, the trustee ought to keep information on the accounting systems, codes and charts of the account. The records must be kept in NZ and in English language to escape heavy penalties. In 2011, the powers were enhanced when the world standard money laundering legislation was enacted.



About Geoffrey Cone



Cone studied in the University of Otago, NZ and was awarded with LLB honors and a post graduate diploma in tax and trust law. Cone started off practice in Auckland, NZ from 1980 before moving to Christchurch. He became a Partner and Chairperson of all the Partners in a chief law firm. He specialized in commercial litigation and advisory work in tax and trust matters, as well as appearing before all courts as the lead counsel, the Privy Council included. Having worked in the British West Indies for about two years he returned to Auckland in 1997. In 1999, Cone established Cone Marshall Limited, his practice that specializes in international tax and trust planning. It is the only Law firm in New Zealand that specializes in these services and offers management services of trustee and trust through a number of affiliated companies.

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Foreign Trusts Cannot Use New Zealand As a Tax Haven

New Zealand is nothing close to a tax haven, no matter that many supposed experts have at times claimed the island country to be. According to Geoffrey Cone, who is a partner at the law firm of Cone Marshall, all the recent news stories about New Zealand being a good place for foreign trusts. The media has sensationalized these trusts as if they are the direct path to great wealth, exotic locales, and involved with many multi-faceted finance projects.

Karen Marshall LLC is one of those firms who has exposed the truth about these deals. They point to the OECD Model Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters that was enacted in 2002. This major international agreements enables countries sharing tax information with different countries so they are able to enforce any domestic tax laws that might apply. The actual tax situation, according to them, is a horse of a different color. The country of New Zealand has never been listed on the OECD’s list of tax havens. There is no plan to ever add the country to the list. Since the country is now officially listed as a first country on the OECD’s “White List,” which specifically makes the country not a tax haven.

The renowned lawyer, Geoffrey Cone has stated that with so many tax agreements with double tax riders, 39 in all, imposed by New Zealand in deals with other countries, it is amazing that anyone could even try to claim NZ as any kind of tax haven. The country simply does not match the required elements that other countries that do function as tax havens always have. These characteristics include the following:

Tax havens impose little or no tax
Transparency in tax laws
Laws that help information exchange with foreign governments

These tax agreements facilitate each country in applying their particular revenue review process and laws. They give codified ways to report revenues to the appropriate tax authorities enacted in investors’ nations. With a level playing field assured, Cone says there is more reason for long term investments in the thriving country of New Zealand. This is true even though it is no tax haven.

A Review of the Legal System of Brazil

Brazil is a civil law controlled country and its system traces origin to Roman law as implemented during the colonial period by the Portuguese. Such a system is structured in the form of codes and legislation that is enacted by the federal government and legislatures from the states and municipalities.
Brazil applies the federal system of governance and the system was created by the indissoluble union encompassing states, municipalities and the Federal District. Therefore, the government is made up by the legislative, judicial and executive branches.

Levels of the Brazilian court system
The highest court in the land is the Federal Supreme Court, which is tasked with safeguarding the country’s constitution and conducting reviews to the laws therein. The court can apply original jurisdiction in which case it decides actions of unconstitutionality of state or federal regulations. Although Brazil does not apply the principle of stare decisis, the 2004 amendment to the constitution made it possible to apply the same only in special situations where decisions are binding.

Federal justice
The federal justice system is made up of regional tribunals which apply original jurisdiction when hearing cases brought up against federal judges, criminal reviews and actions of annulment, writs of mandamus, conflicts of jurisdiction and habeas corpus. The federal justice is made up of seven judges that are chosen by the president and must be aged above 35 years and below 65 years.

Ricardo Tosto de Oliveira Carvalho
Having created a strong profile as the most prominent lawyer and a leader in the market, Ricardo Tosto de Oliveira Carvalho has gone further and engaged his wit in supporting the business world to get a clearer picture of the legal system and how it affects their industry. He has authored journals touching on banking, business and entrepreneurship and the legal implications that come with certain actions.

He also regularly reviews the legal system apart from emerging as a highly qualified lawyer willing to stand in for clients facing demanding cases. Ricardo Tosto de Oliveira Carvalho has perfected his skills in international electoral laws and has taken part in many Acquisition Reviews and business restructuring workshops. He also deals with bankruptcy and credit recovery cases.

Dodd-Frank Changes The Way SEC Whistleblowers Are Protected

The 2008 economic slowdown caused much concern and many changes to the rules and laws of the U.S. based financial industry, including the introduction of a much more extensive SEC whistleblower program. Jordan A. Thomas is one of the names attached to the writing of the Dodd-Frank Act and has now moved to lead an SEC whistleblower program at Labaton Sucharow, which includes the chance to find the best possible options to protect the individual or group who are seeking to bring their evidence of financial issues to the attention of the SEC.

One of the aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act that has been much discussed and appreciated is the development of the SEC whistleblower program that is intended to make sure those with concerns about the financial industry have the confidence to report them to the proper authorities within the SEC. The whistleblower program has been developed to make sure those expressing their concerns are confident their career and personal financial future will be protected following any investigation based on the information provided.

The SEC whistleblower program at Labaton Sucharow has been developed to make sure any person looking to become involved in the SEC whistleblower program understands the protections and assistance they are given under the Dodd-Frank Act; the development of the program is also designed to make sure the financial assistance the SEC whistleblower program provides is available to the individual with concerns about the actions of some in the financial industry. Jordan A. Thomas understands how important it is for individuals to have their employment protected when they enter the SEC whistleblower program and put their own future at risk.

Alongside the need to protect the employment of each individual whistleblower contacting the SEC the Dodd-Frank Act also seeks to make sure each person entering the program is rewarded for bringing their concerns to the attention of the public. The Labaton Sucharow group also ensures the dedicated team they have assembled to assist SEC whistleblowers has the chance to investigate any claims made before bringing them to the attention of the SEC, but also fights to ensure a whistleblower is provided with their 10 to 30 percent portion of any fines levied by the SEC reaching over $1 million.

Learn more about the lawyers at SEC Whistleblower Advocate

Support Animal Shelters in New York City

The latest press release from Ross Abelow discusses his latest venture: fundraising for animal shelters. With GoFundMe’s resources, the donation covers food, medical care, and blankets for the lonely animals in New York City. When the shelters have adequate resources, they can assist animals in their care. It is definitely a start; however, he encourages everyone reading this to assist in his cause.

Since Mr. Abelow runs a law firm in New York specializing in family and matrimonial law, supporting a member of the family – the pet – comes naturally to him. His noble cause keeps animals alive in shelters and off dangerous streets. He also specializes in commercial litigation and entertainment law. Prior to opening his law firm, he defended clients for a living at Abelow & Cassandro, where he was a law partner for 26 years. Before the partnership, he earned his law license in 1990. A year before that he earned his law degree from Brooklyn Law School. Prior to that, he earned his bachelor degree in Political Science from the State University of New York at Albany. A long-time New York resident, he uses his law expertise to share his knowledge on guest blogs and his personal blog. He is also very active on social media.

As a result, more animals are on the streets. Homeless, sheltered, and vulnerable animals need your help. If you want to assist in the fundraiser or learn more information about this, go to the GoFundMe page or Ross Abelow’s website. He is speaking up for the animals that cannot speak for themselves, so let this motivate you to donate to your local animal shelter.