They seem to be missing a word in the headline

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The NZ Herald has joined in with the Media party pile on regarding the Panama Papers.

Hamish Fletcher has joined the other idiot journalists clutching at straws. and decided to call NZ a tax haven and talk about tax evasion schemes.

New Zealand is complicit in tax avoidance schemes, says an academic.

“It’s shameful for New Zealand to be caught up in international tax avoidance,” Deborah Russell from Massey’s School of Accountancy said this afternoon.

“The loophole in our laws that allows New Zealand foreign trusts to escape taxation has been known about for years, but nothing has been done to shut it down. This makes us complicit in schemes to avoid tax,” she said.

Another tax law expert has also said that the rules around the what foreigners with New Zealand trusts must disclose to Inland Revenue are “weak”.

[…]   

University of Auckland professor and tax law specialist Craig Elliffe said, for instance, a wealthy South American family could settle $200 million in a New Zealand trust, which then invests those funds in a Panamanian company.

“The question is, does the South American country have any right to tax their residents where they’ve settled a foreign trust? And often the rules will be such that the answer to that question is ‘no, they don’t have the right’,” Elliffe said.

While New Zealand doesn’t have any specific secrecy laws blocking another country getting information about foreign trusts, the rules around what these trusts must disclose are “weak”, Elliffe said.

“In fact it is so weak that it is actually almost dangerously weak,” he said.

Elliffe said it was hard for a foreign government investigating the affairs of one of its citizens to find out about a New Zealand trust unless they knew one existed and what it was called.

“We don’t know or, more importantly, foreign revenue authorities have no way of effectively exchanging information with New Zealand revenue authorities in a meaningful way which will expose whether this [the use of a New Zealand-based trust] is blatant tax avoidance or clever tax planning,” he said.

Nice of the NZ Herald to talk about tax evasion and tax avoidance.

That’s why I think they left a word out from their headline because one of the biggest cases current before the courts with IRD is the tax avoidance schemes of APN the owner of the NZ Herald:

The Herald has been running a series on multinationals, and the low level of tax they pay in NZ.

But there is one multinational they have ignored.

That is APN, which by coincidence owns the NZ Herald.

The Herald keeps looking at tax paid in relation to revenue, so we should do the same for APN. What are the stats?

Revenue – 2014 $843.1 m, 2015 $850.0 m
Tax paid – 2014 $9.2m, 2015 $19.8m
Tax as a percentage of revenue – 2014 1.1%, 2015 2.3%
But that isn’t the real shocker. Here’s the real hypocrisy.

The 20 companies being targeted by the Herald have all paid the amount of tax they are legally bound to pay. APN HAS NOT.

Look at their annual report:

The Company is involved in a dispute with the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) regarding certain financing transactions. The dispute involves tax of NZ$64 million for the period up to 31 December 2014. The IRD is seeking to impose penalties of between 10% and 50% of the tax in dispute in addition to the tax claimed. The Company has tax losses available to offset any amount of tax payable to the extent of NZ$48 million.

On 22 February 2013, the Adjudication Unit of the IRD advised that it agrees with the position taken by the IRD. Accordingly, the Company was issued with Notices of Assessment denying deductions in relation to interest claimed on certain financing transactions. In response to this step, the Company has commenced litigation in the High Court of New Zealand to defend its position in relation to this matter.

APN, the owners of the Herald, are tax dodgers. The IRD has pinged them for $64 million of tax, and penalties of up to 50% (which they generally only do if they think it is in bad faith). And APN are fighting this in court.

How on earth does the Herald have the gall to lecture other companies on the amount of tax they pay, when their own parent company has been found by the IRD Adjudication Unit to have illegally dodged $64 million of tax.

The Herald has been involved in other tax avoidance schemes, including dodging paying around $137.5 million in GST.

So while they sanctimonious deride other companies and people, who incidentally they provide no evidence of wrong doing, there is ample evidence of their own dodgy tax affairs.

This is why the media is broken in this country. They are outrageous hypocrites.

 

– NZ Herald


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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