A recent Taxation Review Authority (TRA) case concluded an individual was a New Zealand tax resident despite being absent from New Zealand for a long period of time. In brief, the decision was a consequence of having an investment property that was ‘available’ to him in New Zealand and an on-going relationship with his family and ex-wife.
On appeal to the High Court, the TRA’s decision has been overturned. The High Court held that the individual was not a New Zealand resident as he had never lived in the New Zealand investment property; therefore it could not be regarded as his ‘home’. Although he did have other, on-going, personal connections with New Zealand, in the absence of having a ‘home’ or ‘house’ in New Zealand, these connections did not alter the conclusion reached.
This case provides a sigh of relief, as the original TRA decision was of some concern. Although every individual’s situation is different, the High Court decision should give New Zealanders living and working overseas with an investment property in New Zealand some peace of mind.
Tax avoidance is a big problem for many governments around the world with some countries going to great lengths to identify and hold tax avoiders accountable. In particular, Argentina has started using drones to catch people who fail to declare certain items of property in their tax returns.
According to news reports, tax authorities have sent drones over wealthy areas of Argentina to investigate the existence of assets that owners may have failed to declare on their tax returns. The unmanned aircraft have taken pictures of at least 200 homes and 100 pools, all of which were sitting on plots registered as vacant. The drones’ findings amounted to missing tax payments of more than US$2m (NZ$2.55m) with owners of the properties now expecting heavy fines.
Could New Zealand be next to catch on to this trend?
Congratulations to New Zealand fashion designer Sean Kelly has won reality TV show Project Runway in New York. Sean, originally from Taranaki and now living in Brooklyn, New York, was one of four finalists given a budget to prepare several looks for a runway show at New York Fashion Week.
Kelly received a prize pack including $100,000 from Red Robin to launch his business, a car from Lexus and a spread in Marie Claire magazine
We know his family, and clients of Hughson & Associates, must be very proud. Perhaps Sean could design a new uniform for the girls at Hughson’s?