From the Editor - Aileen Barry introduces STEP Journal August/September 2013 issue

Sunday, 01 September 2013
Aileen Barry reveals this issue’s regional concentration, professional development focus and feature highlights.

I am writing this month’s editorial in the sweltering heat of late July, following the announcement of the birth of Prince George. I wonder what sort of world he will grow up to live in. Will we have resolved the problem of carbon emissions? Will governments of the world unite and work out mutually supportive legislation such that the transfer pricing of services, knowhow, sales, administration etc more accurately reflects the economic reality of the activities of the countries in which they are carried out? One thing is for sure: there will always be entrepreneurs and families in need of professional assistance to protect and manage their wealth.

I fear there is still mutual mistrust between HMRC and tax advisors, and this needs to be dissolved

There will be an increasing need for the organisation that is STEP; an organisation that provides technical assistance, training and fellowship to its members dedicated to the service of such individuals, families, charities and so on.

This month’s journal carries details of the further training on family offices available to current and prospective members, with an overview of the qualification routes in different jurisdictions, as well as the usual couple of technical articles to inform us or refresh our memories.

Part of STEP’s strength is that it has always been a global organisation. While the focus this month is on the Caribbean and Latin America, we can also learn about Russia’s succession regime, an interesting South African case showing how the court dealt with the racial prejudice of a testator, and share speculation on how same-sex marriage legislation will create new challenges while resolving others.

I was particularly pleased to see that we have an article from Jenny Cowles, Deputy Director of HMRC’s Tax Practitioners’ Steering Group and Head of Agent Strategy. I fear there is still mutual mistrust between HMRC and tax advisors, and this needs to be dissolved so we can work together to create a harmonious, tax-efficient and appropriate world for Prince George to grow up in (paying tax that is clearly understood, is as anticipated and feels fair). Jenny’s article will hopefully kick-start a process of consultation and sharing to really achieve a positive outcome this time.

Spearheading the Caribbean focus are a couple of general articles: a review of Latin American countries’ developing stance on anti-avoidance and an analysis of conflicting trust and estate issues and traps arising from the legislative derivation from Roman, French and Spanish origins. The BVI’s Premier is interviewed by our own Hannah Downie, we have an overview of Anguilla’s trust regime, and we can learn of the pitfalls and solutions for Latin American expats to the US. Again, thinking of how the world will develop, it seems that the flee clauses popular in Caribbean trusts are fraught with practical difficulty and may cause more problems than they resolve,
so they should perhaps be dispensed with in new trust drafting.

Transparency and information sharing between jurisdictions are ever-present difficulties STEP members need to keep abreast of. We have a summary of the G8 summit commitments, and a thought provoker from Martyn Gowar, who argues that the cost burden of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act compliance outweighs the anticipated tax, and that the destruction of the right to privacy cannot be measured. Nicholas Le Poidevin suggests that courts may pierce the corporate veil to establish beneficial ownership for the purpose of giving effect to divorce settlements.

By the time you read this, I hope the weather is as balanced and enjoyable as you find this issue.

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Aileen Barry

Aileen Barry TEP is Director of Tax Investigations at DLA Piper.

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