IRD to take action after Paradise Papers leak

The IRD today issued a statement saying it wants to hear from any New Zealand taxpayer with exposure to Bermuda law firm Appleby.

Inland Revenue will assess the data leak known as the Paradise Papers in the same way it considered the Panama Papers in 2016. 

The same journalists' consortium that studied the leaked Panama Papers has now released data from Bermuda law firm Appleby, including information relating to trusts linked to the Queen.

The IRD today issued a statement saying it wants to hear from any New Zealand taxpayer with exposure to Appleby.

The agency’s international revenue strategy manager John Nash says, “we have a strong focus on international tax compliance by New Zealand taxpayers. It would be prudent for anyone involved to come forward and explain their position to us so we can assess whether the correct amount of tax has been applied.

“We will examine any intelligence we receive about New Zealand taxpayers and check whether it aligns with their previous tax return positions and disclosures.”

Tax secrecy rules mean the IRD can’t publicly discuss the affairs of any taxpayer revealed in the data.

New Zealand’s trust regime came into the spotlight during the Panama Papers release, when 11.5 million documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca, which suggested this country’s laws were being exploited as a tax haven.

An inquiry was then led by former PwC partner John Shewan, who was commissioned by the government to review New Zealand’s trust disclosure laws after the Panama Papers leak last year.

Mr Shewan’s report said this country’s disclosure rules for foreign trusts were light-handed and “not fit for purpose.”

It suggested new rules, which required people setting up or administering foreign trusts to reveal financial information and the identity of any beneficiaries.

The government adopted the recommendations and ordered all trusts to re-register with the IRD by June this year.

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