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Tax and Jurisdictions

Within the family office the role of the trustee is to safeguard assets and present investment options to the family. In today’s litigious society failure to manage these duties can be severe. Henry Frydenson outlines the pitfalls for trustees and offers advice on ways to avoid problems

The Swiss government announced yesterday it would seize UBS banking records rather than allow the US government to access the identities of 52,000 American UBS account holders, who include wealthy families.

On 17 February, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 was signed into law. The Act included $300 billion in tax relief so if you own a business in the US or invest in a business in the US, it’s important to understand these changes and capitalise on them now.

One of the best ways to reduce inheritance tax (IHT) on your death is to give away assets during your lifetime. The problem is, a gift can trigger a large capital gains tax (CGT) bill if the asset has gone up in value during your period of ownership. That has always been a big disincentive to lifetime giving.

Much talk in the past few months has been focused on which jurisdictions are the most family office friendly. Whilst Switzerland, Monaco and London seem obvious choices when establishing a family office within Europe, we found that the Isle of Man, a self governing British Crown dependency, suited our purposes and is now making concerted and successful efforts to compete in this market.