Are Trusts Still a Strategic Investment Vehicle for Clients? (7 June 2016)

Taxation Law Research Programme (TLRP)
Asian Institute of International Financial Law
Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong


Are Trusts Still a Strategic Investment Vehicle for Clients?

Sarah Hinchliffe
Visiting Professor
College of William and Mary Mason School of Business

Tuesday, 7 June 2016
12:30 – 1:30 pm
Academic Conference Room, 11/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower
The University of Hong Kong

The objective of this seminar is to highlight (in a practical sense) how changes in tax law and succession planning in Hong Kong, the U.S., Australia and Canada have placed a number of limitations on the use of trusts as ideal tax planning vehicles, particularly for HWI (high wealth individuals). This seminar first outlined the tax planning objectives of individual clients, including expats in Hong Kong who are residents for tax purposes in either Canada, the U.S., U.K. or Australia. These include gifting life interests to beneficiaries, wealth maximization through a living trust, and what common law or statutory limitations exist (e.g. the Rule Against Perpetuities) that can cap a grantor’s wishes. Second, the extent to which federal, national and/or state taxes (e.g. Generation Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Stamp Duty, Income Tax, and Deductions to name a few) either act as an incentive or disincentive to strategic tax planning by expats. Third, this seminar suggested some practical alternatives for legal practitioners and tax accountants about other investment strategies that may be employed, as well as proposed regulatory changes affecting clients who may be residents in the above countries.

Sarah Hinchliffe is a Visiting Professor of Law at the College of William and Mary Mason School of Business, and specializes in U.S., International and Comparative Taxation Law, also Trusts and Estates. Professor Hinchliffe is an Australian Lawyer as well as a Chartered Tax Advisor, an Associate member of the Law Institute of Victoria, and of the Taxation Institute of Australia. She has practical experience in the area of taxation law having worked for the Australian Taxation Office and in private legal practice. Professor Hinchliffe is a co-founder of a boutique law firm based in Melbourne, Australia. She has held a number of international academic appointments, including at Harvard Law School, Boston University School of Law, the University of Nevada William S. Boyd School of Law, the University of Hong Kong, the University of Melbourne, Monash University, Victoria University, and the Taxation Institute of Australia. Professor Hinchliffe has been an external editor for the Law Institute Journal, Editor in Chief of the Journal of Australian Taxation, and has been engaged by the Productivity Commission as a consultant. Professor Hinchliffe will be joining the Case Western Weatherhead School of Management faculty in the 2016/2017 academic year.