Owen, Christopher: Offshore Survey – April 2005

  • Offshore Survey – April 2005 by Christopher Owen
    • UAE launches Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park Construction of a Dubai Biotechnology & Research Park (DuBiotech), the world’s first free zone dedicated to the biotechnology industry, was announced on 2 February. Incentives include a 100% exemption on corporate and personal tax guaranteed by the Dubai Government for 50 years. To be built in several phases on a 300-hectare area, the park development will provide over 30 million square feet of built area, including research and development facilities ? such as labs, clean rooms and incubators ? as well as office space and residential facilities. The first phase of DuBiotech will be ready by early 2006. The park will provide the same benefits enjoyed by companies in the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone. In addition to the tax exemption, it provides for full foreign ownership, full repatriation of capital and profits, no currency restrictions, support services, simplified incorporation and a fast-track visa service. To encourage new ventures, DuBiotech will provide funding and financial assistance to research initiatives, incubators and joint projects. An investment committee will be set up to make funding decisions after conducting due diligence on business plans. Launching the park, Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said: ?Dubai Biotechnology Initiative follows in the steps of Dubai Internet City, e-Government and Dubai Media City. Like them, it will spread the modern technology culture ? which put the UAE on the map as a role model for the region and the world and made it a pioneer in the field of Information and Communication Technology.? French Court recognises trust concept A French Court has, for the first time, recognised a trust and sought to analyse the rights of the beneficiaries under the trust deed. In Mrs Eveline Poillot v The Director of Fiscal Services of Hauts de Siene Nord, at Nanterre High Court on 4 May 2004, the French tax authorities sought to impose wealth tax on Mrs Poillot, a French resident, on the basis that she was the owner of assets in US trusts from which she received income. Mrs Poillot had declared and paid tax on the income she received. The Court noted that trusts originated in Anglo-Saxon law and that there were many variations. It found that, as a general rule, a trust concerned the legal relationships created by a person where, through a deed inter vivos or as a result of death, the assets are placed under the control of a trustee in the interests of a beneficiary or for a specific purpose. The rights of the beneficiaries can be varied according to the deed establishing the trust. In this case, the Court held that the tax authorities had failed to prove that Mrs Poillot, as a beneficiary, had actual rights over property in the trust fund such that might render her liable to wealth tax. It found instead that, in the deeds setting up the trusts, Mrs Poillot was denied any right or financial claim whatsoever to the trust or over the assets which were the subject of the trust. Even the payment of income was left in the discretion of the trustee. As a consequence, the tax authorities failed to establish that Mrs Poillot was the owner of or had any actual right whatsoever in relation to the capital of these trusts, and had no justification for subjecting Mrs Poillot to the payment of wealth tax as a result of being a beneficiary.New Maltese law on trusts enacted The Trusts & Trustees Act (No. XIII of 2004), to amend the Trusts Act (Cap.331), was passed by the Maltese Parliament on 23 November 2004. Under the new Act, Maltese residents and companies will for the first time be permitted to use local trusts. The new legislation eliminates the nominee company regime, and furthers Malta’s international obligations in respect of non-discrimination, transparency and prevention of money laundering. As such, it continues the process started in 1994 whereby the offshore regime is dismantled and Malta re-directed to the development of an onshore financial centre. The Act integrates trusts law into the Maltese civil law system and establishes a tax regime for trusts. It also introduces modern regulation for trustee and other fiduciary activities, and introduces a clear demarcation line between trusts used in commercial transactions, where contract principles are given greater strength, and private fiduciary relationships where equitable rules are dominant. This development is designed to make Malta more attractive as a centre for the administration of international trusts.
      To read the whole article (which includes the following topics in addition to the ones above) please click on the graphic below:EU forces end to Gibraltar ?exempt? regime Accountants held liable in negligence for tax advice BVI reforms IBC legislation Malta signs new tax treaty with India UK publishes draft TIEAs with Crown Dependencies Madeira granted tax autonomy by Portugal

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