STEP Wealth Structuring News Digest wrap-up – October’s top stories


Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in the STEP Wealth Structuring News Digest throughout October. In case you missed them, here are the worldwide industry news stories most viewed by our readers.

IFCS group publishes new trust regulation standards: The Group of International Finance Centre Supervisors has issued a new standard on the regulation of trust and company service providers, introducing a new benchmark for businesses administering international trusts.

Mass signing of automatic exchange agreement: The new OECD/G20 standard on automatic exchange of tax information was endorsed by 51 jurisdictions, including most major international financial centres, at this week’s annual meeting of the Global Forum on Tax Transparency. Information exchange will begin in September 2017 for early adopters with others to follow in 2018.

Switzerland prepares for vote on lump-sum taxation: The Swiss Federal Council has summarily rejected campaigners’ demands to abolish the lump-sum tax concession for wealthy foreign residents.

Reporting rules for taxpayers linked to foreign trusts: An expert at Baker Tilly discusses at length the tax reporting requirements for Americans with ties to foreign trusts.

Estate tax dilemma for foreign homeowners: An expert at Boston law firm Rackemann Sawyer & Brewster describes the estate tax regime imposed on foreign individuals who own US residential property. The 35 per cent tax rate is charged on the entire value of the property that exceeds USD60,000.

Savings directive to be repealed as agreement reached on automatic exchange: This week, European finance ministers agreed a revision of the Administrative Cooperation Directive mandating the full automatic exchange of tax information between all EU member states. As a result, the European Commission has abandoned long-standing plans to amend the Savings Tax Directive and is proposing to repeal it instead.

The Bartlett legacy: John Harper TEP looks back at one of the most important trust cases of the past 35 years.

EU accuses Gibraltar of unfair tax practices: The European Commission unexpectedly announced this week it is including Gibraltar in its intensive review of jurisdictions alleged to have given unjustified favourable tax treatment to foreign companies. The Commission says the evidence has been supplied by the UK authorities.

UK prepares attack on ‘double Irish’ tax planning: The UK government is to introduce a targeted anti-avoidance rule aimed at foreign multinational technology companies that hold intellectual property in a low-tax jurisdiction without treaty protection. Details will be announced in the December autumn statement, but it is thought to affect companies where there is significant UK activity but little UK tax base and where IP assets are hived off with no clear justification.

Swiss banks urge US government to amend conditions to bank amnesty: Lawyers representing 73 of the 100-plus Swiss banks that enrolled in the US Justice Department’s (USDoJ) bank amnesty programme have written to the USDoJ complaining that it has added new conditions that were not in the original agreement. In particular, banks are now being required to ‘cooperate fully with any other domestic or foreign law enforcement agency in any investigation’.

The STEP Industry News Digests provide a round-up of relevant industry news for trust and estate practitioners and other professionals in the wealth management sector. They provide brief summaries of topical news stories gathered from news providers internationally, providing a quick reference for busy practitioners to all the relevant news and issues. The News Digests also feature job listings from our recruitment site and list local STEP branch events and conferences. STEP’s digest services include twice weekly UK and Wealth Structuring (international) editions as well as a bi-weekly North America Digest focusing on the US, Canada and Mexico, and a Latin America Digest.

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