Acting Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Panama Papers: IRD probes NZ clients of Mossack Fonseca

Inland Revenue is trying to get information on New Zealanders who have dealt with Mossack Fonseca - the Panamanian law firm at the centre of a global scandal over how the wealthy hide their assets.

According to The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, an 11.5 million document leak from the law firm shows its services appear to have been used to "facilitate massive money laundering, tax avoidance and criminal activity, including drugs and arms dealing".

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New Zealand has been named by the ICIJ as a "tax haven" used by Mossack Fonseca and details have emerged of local trusts with links to the Panamanian firm.

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Tax authorities in the Australia and United Kingdom are taking a keen interest in the document leak, according to the Guardian. Australian tax officials are also investigating 800 wealthy clients of Mossack Fonesca.

New Zealand's Inland Revenue is also seeking access to the documents.

"We are working closely with our tax treaty partners to obtain full details of any New Zealand tax residents who may have been involved in arrangements facilitated by Mossack Fonseca," IRD international revenue strategy manager John Nash said.

"We have a very active compliance programme focused on those who engage in abusive offshore arrangements and don't meet their tax obligations," Nash said.

"We also exchange information regularly with tax treaty partners, including responses to requests received relating to foreign trusts established in New Zealand. We would encourage any New Zealand tax residents who may have been involved in offshore arrangements that do not comply with our tax laws to come forward voluntarily rather than face more severe action later should we identify participation in tax evasion or avoidance," he said.

Listen to CNN's Richard Quest discuss the Panama Papers with Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking:


Mike's Minute: Panama Papers

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- NZ Herald

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