Geoffrey Cone pursued an undergraduate degree in law at the University of Otago, New Zealand. In the same year, he was awarded a post-graduate diploma in tax and trust law from the same University. Shortly after, his career commenced in 1980. He landed an opportunity in Auckland as a lawyer. Later on, he moved to Christchurch and held a position as the chairman and partner on one of the leading law firms. In this Law Firm, he majored on commercial litigation. Nevertheless, he took part in several cases as the leading council at all levels. In multiple cases, he gave advice on tax and trust work.
In 1997, he returned to Auckland to continue his practice. He had worked for the British West Indies Firm for two years as a litigator. His return to Auckland was the beginning of a prosperous future for him. In 1999, he founded Cone Marshall Limited. Unlike other Law firms, Cone Marshall Limited specializes in foreign trust and tax planning. The firm has several affiliated companies. Through these companies, it has been able to offer trustee and trust management services to customers all over the globe. To date, the company still has its headquarters at Auckland, New Zealand.
On 9th November 2012, Cone responded to a feature done regarding foreign Trusts. First, he ascertained that New Zealand was not a tax exemption country. He also pointed out that the country does not tolerate a banking industry that privately deals in fraud. New Zealand has been whitelisted for their exemplary laws in regards to tax. The state exercises transparency with other countries regarding tax. In 2006, IRD stipulated that New Zealand submits foreign tax Disclosure Forms. IRD allowed them to only keep the financial and other records for the sake of their tax evaluation purposes. All these other forms were to be held and translated into English.
He said that the country has over 39 tax agreements. These agreements were put in place to reduce tax impediments to inter-border trade. They also help to curb fraud cases. He proceeded to highlight that most foreign Trusts are used for the protection of Assets and not as a method of tax evasion. Consequently, New Zealand has registered growth in the number of foreign Trusts.
While the growth rate can be attributed to the regulatory environment from the governments, Geoffrey Cone says that it is equally as a result of Trust lawyers and accountants who are committed to their clients.