Top Ten Tax & Trust Lawyers
Even clients with access to private jets are still reluctant to travel, reports affable Farrer partner Russell Cohen. ‘They’re sitting at home, talking to their loved ones, their family offices – and they’re getting on with things.’
That means meetings which might have previously been scheduled four weeks in advance in, say, Zurich, can take place immediately. ‘Now,’ says Cohen, ‘it’s a case of “Let’s have a call tonight”.’
Increasingly, he says, ‘Clients understand that life’s not about avoiding tax.’ That’s just as well, since the UK government faces a challenge if it’s to balance the public finances. ‘I don’t think they’ll do that with austerity,’ says Cohen. ‘I think they’ll do it with taxes – and I don’t think there’ll be anyone lining up to defend the wealthy from these taxes.
‘I also think there will be a renewed appetite for transparency. I don’t think the post-pandemic world will have much sympathy for someone who says “I want privacy”, because of the clear value of the importance of raising tax.’
One of his clients has a trust in a jurisdiction which requires personal information to be stored on a register, which isn’t disclosable unless it’s in the public interest. ‘This is the kind of example where someone’s idea of what is in the public interest now might be different from a few years ago,’ says Cohen. ‘Someone described it to me as an “evolution of stigma”. Overnight there’s been a groundswell of opinion.’