About Us

Operating since 2014, Atom Group emerged in 2017 out of a larger international network. Licensed and authorised by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), ATOM Group operates under two main arms – ATOM Corporate Services Ltd and ATOM Trustees Ltd.

ATOM Corporate Services Ltd is a licensed entity under the Company Service Providers Act to offer comprehensive solutions for corporate structuring and ongoing administration of licensed and non-licensed entities.

ATOM Trustees Ltd is authorised by the MFSA to operate as a trustee, fiduciary and administrator of private foundations, as well as a retirement scheme administrator to provide the administration of pension schemes in Malta.

ATOM’s professionals offer their expertise by advising their clients on various sophisticated structures. ATOM’s portfolio includes high net worth individuals from various jurisdictions. ATOM identifies the size of each entity and understands the individual’s requirements, whilst ensuring that every contact receives a welcoming and unique experience.

Trusts

Malta makes an attractive location for the establishment of trusts, thanks to its cutting edge Trust law and high professional standards. In terms of Maltese law, according to Article 3 of the Trust and Trustees Act, Chapter 331 of the laws of Malta, a Trust exists where a person or persons (the trustee) holds, as owner, or has vested in them property under an obligation to deal with that property for the benefit of persons (the beneficiaries) whether or not yet ascertained or in existence, or for a charitable purpose.

As a professional trustee, Atom Trustees Ltd (ATOM) is authorised by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) to act as trustee. ATOM adheres to the standards required under the Trusts and Trustees Act, other related legislation, as well as to best practice within the industry. The MFSA has also issued a code of conduct providing guidance to trustees, which ATOM has adhered to. ATOM is committed to exercising its fiduciary duties prudently and competently, subject to the provisions of the Trusts and Trustees Act and the terms of the Trust instrument. ATOM will consider the rights of the settlor and all beneficiaries when making decisions affecting the administration of the Trust.

The Settlor

The Settlor is the person who sets up the Trust. The Settlor must be of age, have full capacity to contract and a free disposition of the assets settled on Trust. A Settlor may also be a Beneficiary under the same Trust. By virtue of a Letter of Wishes, the Settlor expresses to ATOM the manner in which ATOM should exercise discretion. Depending on the relationship between the Settlor and the Beneficiaries, the Settlor may opt to inform the beneficiaries of this Letter. The Settlor may also choose not to disclose this Letter to the Beneficiaries. A Letter of Wishes is not legally binding on ATOM but constitutes general guidance on the Settlor’s wishes.

The Beneficiary

The Beneficiary is the person who may benefit from the assets of the Trust. All Beneficiaries have to be mentioned by name or are ascertainable by class or by relationship to a person, whether alive or dead. This means that even children not yet born or conceived may be potential Beneficiaries. The rights of a Beneficiary are personal to him/her. The terms of the Trust may provide for the addition of Contingent Beneficiaries or the exclusion of a Beneficiary from benefit.

Legal effects

The holding of your assets by ATOM under Trust has the following legal effects:

  • The assets constitute a separate fund and are not a part of ATOM’s own estate. Therefore, as trustee, ATOM will own your assets as a separate patrimony or fund. Although ATOM must maintain them, pay for their upkeep, maximize income and minimize risk, should ATOM become insolvent, the Trust assets cannot be seized to defray ATOM’s personal liabilities. The Trust assets are preserved for the benefit of the Beneficiaries;
  • Title to the Trust assets stands in the name of ATOM or in the name of another person on behalf of ATOM;
  • ATOM has the power and the duty, in respect of which it is accountable, to manage, employ or dispose of the assets in accordance with the terms of the Trust and the special duties imposed upon ATOM by law.

Benefits of a Malta trust

  • Malta offers lower set-up and administrative costs
  • Malta has over 60 double taxation treaties
  • Possibility of imposing conditions on distribution of assets following the demise of the settlor
  • Efficient distribution of assets
  • Protection of assets from claims and creditor
  • Tax planning opportunities
  • High professional standards

Uses

Many Trust arrangements are broadly similar although each is tailored to the individual requirements of the settlor and beneficiaries. There are various types of trusts, the choice of which will depend upon the circumstances of the settlor and the manner in which it is intended to provide for the beneficiaries.

Malta caters for all the main types of trusts, while also permitting the establishment of a Collective Investment Scheme and Pensions Schemes via Trust.

Creation

With the exception of unit trusts, which must be created by a written instrument, a Trust can be created in any way, whether this is done unilaterally, by an oral declaration, by an instrument in writing, by a testament/will, by operation of law or by a decision of the Court.

Duration

Except for unit trusts, trusts set up for a charitable purpose or trusts set up as retirement funds, trusts come to an end upon the expiration of 125 years from their creation, unless they have been terminated or revoked before such date.

The office of the "Protector"

For assurance that the Trust is being managed by the trustee in accordance with the Trust Deed and/or Letter of Wishes, the Trust may also provide for the office of a protector, the role of whom is to act as a supervisor over the trustee.

Eligible trustees

The person appointed to act as trustee can either be a natural person or a corporate entity. Furthermore, no person may be appointed as a trustee if such person is interdicted or incapacitated or is an undischarged bankrupt, has been convicted of any of the crimes affecting public trust or of theft or of fraud or of knowingly receiving property obtained by theft or fraud; is a minor; or is subject to a Trustee Disqualification Order issued by the Malta Financial Services Authority (the “MFSA”).

Tax Planning

The tax treatment of a Maltese Trust depends on several factors, such as the residence of the trustee, settlor and beneficiaries, the nature of the Trust property, the source of the income attributable to the Trust as well as whether the income is distributed or not.

At settlement

The settlement of property on Trust falls within the definition of a “taxable transfer” whereby it is deemed that taxable gain upon settlement = market value of property upon settlement – cost of acquisition.

Such a gain shall not, however, be taxable in Malta if the settlor is not resident or domiciled in Malta, and the assets of the Trust are located or registered outside Malta. In addition, no tax is chargeable upon the settlement of property on Trust, when:

  • the settlor is the sole beneficiary; or
  • the beneficiaries of the Trust are close relatives or approved philanthropic institutions; or
  • the trustee holds such property for designated commercial transactions

The transfer may also be exempt from taxation by reason of the nature of the property settled on Trust.

If the Trust income is not distributed to the beneficiaries, such income is charged tax at the rate of 35%.

It may be advantageous for the Trust income to be taxed in Malta. In this regard, it is allowed that the trustee opts to have the Trust treated as a company for tax purposes – according to Article 27D(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act, Chapter 123 of the laws of Malta – resulting in the distributions of the profits to the beneficiaries being treated as if they were dividends. This automatically triggers the full imputation tax system applicable to Malta companies, whereby the Trust income will be subject to tax at the corporate rate of 35% and upon the distribution of dividends, the beneficiaries shall be entitled to a refund in part or in full of the Malta tax paid, resulting in very little tax leakage in Malta.

Finally, only income arising in Malta will be taxed.

Transfer of a beneficial interest

No Malta tax would be chargeable when transferring a beneficial interest in a Trust which does not include chargeable property.

Chargeable property comprises solely of: immovable property, securities, business, goodwill, business permits copyright, trademarks and any other intellectual property.

Distribution of income

Income attributable to a Trust is not charged tax in the hands of the trustee if such income is distributed to the beneficiaries. When all the beneficiaries of a Trust are non-Maltese residents and when all the income attributable to a Trust does not arise in Malta, there will be no tax impact under Maltese law.

During the lifetime of the Trust

The Maltese Trust offers non-resident beneficiaries a highly attractive tax efficient vehicle.

Capitalisation of income

If the Trust income is not distributed to the beneficiaries, such income is charged tax at the rate of 35%.

It may be advantageous for the Trust income to be taxed in Malta. In this regard, it is allowed that the trustee opts to have the Trust treated as a company for tax purposes – according to Article 27D(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act, Chapter 123 of the laws of Malta – resulting in the distributions of the profits to the beneficiaries being treated as if they were dividends. This automatically triggers the full imputation tax system applicable to Malta companies, whereby the Trust income will be subject to tax at the corporate rate of 35% and upon the distribution of dividends, the beneficiaries shall be entitled to a refund in part or in full of the Malta tax paid, resulting in very little tax leakage in Malta.

Finally, only income arising in Malta will be taxed.

VAT

Generally, if the trustee receives a remuneration under the terms of the deed, this does not qualify as an economic activity and, accordingly, no VAT would be payable.

Contact Us

Address: Level 3, Suite 5, Fafner House, National Road, Blata l-Bajda, HMR9011, Malta

Telephone: +356 2247 9000

Email: info@atomfs.com.mt

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