Jose is resident in Argentina. In 2002 his father died while residing in Spain and left Jose an account in Switzerland of $120 million. He did not declare it in Argentina, because he was not sure he could trust the Government at that time (The Hostile world from an Argentine perspective), but can he trust them now?
In May 2016 Mauricio Macri, the new President, offered Argentine residents a tax amnesty if they declared their offshore assets before 31st March 2017. Those who declare will pay a penalty of between 0 – 15%, in addition to the tax, but will escape criminal prosecution. Jose is not alone in having an account offshore; it is estimated that a whopping $500billion is owned by Argentine residents outside the country on which tax has not been paid, but if he declares now, will the Government change its mind later and go after him for more taxes?
Chile had an amnesty this year. For those who declared, no interest or penalties were payable. It raised CLP 160billion in extra revenue, ten times more than expected. However, Chile sacrificed CLP41.5billion ($62.3 million) in interest and penalties to do so.
There are numerous countries who have offered or who are about to offer tax amnesties; Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia and coming soon is Brazil. For many, however the issue is much more complex than non-payment of tax or even whether to trust the Government of their country; in short they are suspicious of anyone who has or could have details of their private wealth.
Jose came to see me last week having read my Note ‘A Hostile World from an Argentine Perspective’. If he were to put his inheritance into trust would he not be losing control of his assets? The monies in trust would no longer be Jose’s, what was to stop them absconding with his money?
‘It depends who the trustee is.’ I told him ‘There are many trustees who are regulated and professional with an excellent track record, alternatively you can set up your own private trustee company provided it is in a suitable jurisdiction which will regulate it. This is often called a PTC.’
Jose can then appoint the people he trusts to be Directors of his PTC who will take the decisions on the trust assets and its distribution to his family. Jose will however need to take care as to who owns the PTC, because this person or entity will determine which Directors of his PTC can be removed and who is to replace them. I recommend an Executive Entity to hold the PTC. This is an entity I created through specific legislation in the Bahamas which is designed for this task [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahamas_Executive_Entity ]. It gets around any problem of succession if someone in power dies unexpectedly. It also enables a wayward or difficult Director to be removed and replaced where necessary.
The only major snag with a PTC, is that as from September 2017 its Directors will be treated as people of significant influence and will be reported to the country of Jose’s residence; Argentina. Most people Jose knows and trusts do not want their privacy compromised in this manner. Even if the PTC will not have to report, the bank where it holds an account will need to do so with effect from 1st January 2017.
Jose came to Garnham FOS because he read its book ‘When you are Super Rich who can you Trust’. He did his homework, Garnham FOS is independent, does not provide trustee services, has advised many of the wealthiest people in the world for more than two decades and has an excellent track record.
It was also one of the first independent advisors two decades ago to look for an effective and efficient solution on how to incorporate corporate governance principles into family wealth holding structures thereby maintaining control for the family and is now focussed on delivering for its clients privacy protection.
If you would like to contact Caroline or any one of her team, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 020 3740 7423.
(Caroline’s book ‘When you are Super Rich who can you Trust’ can be bought on Amazon or on our website where the rest of Caroline’s weekly blogs can be read on www.garnhamfos.com. )