Foreword - June 2017
The special focus in this edition of the STEP Journal is careers. Most of us spend a large part of our week ‘pursuing a profession or occupation chosen as our life’s work’. At any rate, that is what one dictionary definition of ‘career’ tells us. Over the years, employer-employee relations and conditions have changed dramatically, moving away from the employer having the upper hand and the welfare of employees being mainly left to the personnel officer. Jenni Hutchinson, Gemma Copestick and Laura Keith emphasise in their excellent article the importance of employers supporting their employees and how this contributes in a multitude of ways to the overall well-being and satisfaction of all concerned in a working environment, as well as helping the bottom line. For those at the beginning of their careers, Claire Weeks, crowned Young Practitioner of the Year at the STEP Private Client Awards 2016/17, provides some inspiration and tells STEP what she’s been up to over the past year. Meanwhile, STEP’s top-scoring students worldwide are celebrated.
The European regional focus brings together many varied contributions from writers originating from several EU Member States. Ruth Annus and Turgay Kuleli TEP’s article about Estonian e-residency shows how digital technology can offer an easy, efficient and innovative way to do business remotely. Pedro Amat and José Luis Gaudier write about Spain’s special tax regime whereby, subject to certain conditions, qualifying individuals are taxed as if they were non-resident taxpayers.
Ownership of French real estate, and the taxes involved, has always been a hot topic, so Alejandro Verdu de Haro’s article is very welcome. It provides helpful, basic tax information for non-residents and resident taxpayers who are considering owning French real estate. Although some jurisdictions are making it less attractive for foreigners to reside in them, others are trying to do the opposite. Italy is a case in point. Andrea Tavecchio TEP and Riccardo Barone explain the Italian ‘visa for investors’ regime, approved within the framework of the 2017 Budget Law, while Niklas Schmidt TEP and Cynthia Pfister detail Austria’s incentive for individuals whose relocation to the country nobly serves the promotion of science, the arts or sport, and is thus in the public interest.
Earlier in 2017, the Swiss public voted against a proposed corporate tax reform. Christoph Niederer and Nadia Tarolli give a comprehensive summary of the background of the vote and the reasons the reform was rejected. A new proposal is now being drafted that will have to be sensitive to all relevant players (both political and corporate).
A large proportion of STEP Journal readers originate from civil-law jurisdictions and are accustomed to forced-heirship rules and the lack of testamentary freedom. In his article, James Aspden illustrates how testamentary freedom is alive and well in England and Wales. Interestingly, the case of Ilott v The Blue Cross and Others is the first time the UK Supreme Court has ever had to consider the operation of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, which empowers courts to override the contents of a testator’s will in certain circumstances. In that case, the Supreme Court held that testators are, in general, free to leave their property however they wish.
There are two interesting contributions from the Cayman Islands in this edition. The first, from Jo-Anne Stephens TEP, considers the enforceability of foreign divorce proceedings on a Cayman trust and the circumstances in which the Cayman trustee may seek directions of the Grand Court. The case is interesting, because it not only gives support to Cayman trustees by giving them guidance, but also confirms the Cayman Islands’ so-called ‘firewall provisions’, whereby a foreign judgment against a Cayman trust is unenforceable. The second Cayman article, by Bernadette Carey TEP, describes the repeal of a piece of legislation known archaically, but undeservedly, as ‘Cayman’s secrecy law’ and its replacement with the modern, internationally compliant Confidential Information Disclosure Law, 2016. The latest developments in mental capacity law are not neglected, with both Jersey and Northern Ireland covered by Donna Withers TEP and Michael Graham TEP respectively.
Editorial space does not permit a consideration of every article in this issue. Suffice to say, each contribution is a testament to the diversity of our members and the jurisdictions from which they are writing, and well worth taking the time to read.
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