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


Having trouble keeping up with worldwide private wealth developments? Don’t be left out in the cold. Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in the STEP Wealth Structuring News Digest throughout January 2015. In case you missed them, here are the worldwide industry news stories most viewed by our readers.

Full text of AML Directive: The agreed texts of the EU’s Fourth Money Laundering Directive and its associated regulations are now available. The mandatory register of trusts applies only to taxable trusts and it will not be public. For companies and foundations, however, the register will be publicly available to those with a ‘legitimate interest’.

Resident risks deportation after tax evasion conviction: A 73-year-old Italian resident of the US has admitted failing to disclose a Swiss bank account containing money inherited from his family. Gabriel Gabella escaped a jail sentence by pleading guilty and paying heavy penalties but now faces the possibility of deportation.

Failure to give up unwanted US citizenship can cost dear: An expert on US taxation examines the case of Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, who has been forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in US tax, penalties and interest for selling his London home. Johnson has reportedly tried to give up his US citizenship but found it was too expensive.

Courier firms’ records to be searched for tax evasion correspondence: The US Internal Revenue Service has obtained judicial authority to force various international courier services to identify the correspondents of a Panama-based investment services company. The IRS claims its ‘John Doe summonses’ against FedEx, DHL, UPS, Western Union and others will show that unnamed US taxpayers used the Panama firm to set up secret offshore bank accounts and shell companies.

A momentous decision: John Greenfield discusses a decision in the Royal Court of Guernsey that looks set to colour trustee cases in the future.

French forced heirship law can be sidestepped by Brussels IV: An expert at law firm Stone King explains how foreign owners of property in France can circumvent the country’s forced heirship rules when the so-called Brussels IV succession regulation comes into force in August.

New guidance signals action against cross-border tax avoidance: China has announced a new policy against cross-border tax planning, enabling the authorities to ‘adjust’ tax avoidance transactions taking place on or after 1 February this year.

Guidance for trustees where trust’s beneficiary is subject to foreign matrimonial order: Two Royal Court of Jersey judgments published last week give guidance to trustees of Jersey law trusts when a beneficiary of the trust is divorcing in a foreign court – in particular when the trustees should submit to the foreign court’s jurisdiction, or make a distribution to a beneficiary to pay a former spouse pursuant to the foreign court’s order.

Consultation opens on minimum claim period for non-doms: The British government has published a consultation paper on its plan to set a three-year minimum period for non-domiciled residents’ election to be taxed only on income remitted to the UK. The aim is to prevent non-doms arranging their tax affairs so as to only pay the remittance basis charge occasionally.

Taxation of trusts started on 1 January: Portugal has introduced a new 28 per cent tax on distributions received by residents from fiduciary structures such as trusts. The measure, which was announced on 17 December and took effect on 1 January, places a duty on trust settlors to declare distributions and pay the tax, according to tax advisors Blevins Franks.

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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