Maldives Imagine living in an over-water bungalow without paying a dime in income tax. You can technically do that in the Maldives, a small island country in the Indian Ocean. Thanks to its plentiful – and expensive – resorts, the Maldives doesn’t see much need for an income tax. However, while spending your days living tax-free in the Maldives sounds idyllic at first, staying there long-term is close to impossible. You need to be a Sunni Muslim to even apply for citizenship or permanent residence. Even if you are Muslim, the country doesn’t have a program for foreigners to become permanent residents – let alone citizens. So, while you won’t have to worry about triggering tax requirements as you lounge at the St.
However, specifics like minimum investments aren’t readily available, and none of the lawyers I spoke to in Oman specialize in this area. As with most wealthy Middle Eastern states, Oman isn’t exactly dying for foreign capital, so expats looking to move there usually need a job or family in the country to do so easily. Actually living there can also be a major adjustment since Omani culture is quite conservative. In fact, you need to obtain a personal liquor license from a local police station to even buy a bottle of wine. Oman is an interesting option among countries with no taxes, but living there long-term isn’t generally in the cards for most Nomad Capitalists.
Although Qatar is autocratic by most standards, it supported many rebel groups during the Arab Spring financially and through Al Jazeera – a Doha-based media organization. Qatar’s regional and global ambitions have ultimately landed the country in hot water with its Middle Eastern neighbors, and many of them have even cut diplomatic ties with the country. In spite of this conflict, Qatar is a relatively peaceful and pleasant place to live, and it’s the only Gulf country to offer permanent residence for expats. That being said, like most countries with no income tax, it’s still difficult for foreigners to attain permanent residence since requirements are strict and few lawyers specialize in the area.
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It’s also fairly easy to live there. While I’m not particularly enamored with Manama, the city is well-developed, and there’s a sizable expat community here. However, the problem with Bahrain – and many other Gulf states – is that getting permanent residence can be difficult. To establish permanent residence in Bahrain, you need to be retired, invest $135, 000 in property, or invest $270, 000 in a Bahraini company. While getting permanent residence in Bahrain is possible, citizenship is another story. You need to live in the country for 25 consecutive years and be fluent in Arabic.
For investors looking toward the Middle East, Oman can be an interesting alternative to the UAE. Qatar At first glance, Qatar appears remarkably similar to its neighbors in the Persian Gulf. It’s a small, wealthy country that earned its fortune through the oil industry. Its culture is highly conservative yet rapidly modernizing thanks to foreign investment and influence. And, of course, its oil and gas revenue allows the government to stay afloat without levying an income tax. Despite these similarities, Qatar is a fascinating country due to its particularly high level of development and role in world politics. Despite its small size, Qatar has the highest per capita income in the world, and many regard it as the most developed country in the Middle East. It also plays a unique role in global and regional politics.
Last year, I visited Kuwait to explore the best countries with no income tax, and I’ve also visited places like Vanuatu, Saint Kitts, and now Bahrain to get a better idea of what life is like in countries with no taxes. How Can a Country Have No Income Tax? As a citizen of a high-tax country like the US or Australia, you might wonder how countries with no income tax make ends meet. However, the answer is simple: other sources of revenue. To see how this works, look at two US states with no state-level income tax – Alaska and Nevada.
No Taxes Although I’ve substantially reduced my global tax rate, I don’t exclusively stay in countries with no income tax. Since only a handful of them exist, I also spend time in low-tax countries. Low-tax and no-tax countries are functionally similar, but they use separate types of tax systems. Countries with no taxes have a straightforward system where you don’t pay any income tax whatsoever. Low-tax countries, on the other hand, use territorial systems that only tax local sources of income. Singapore’s territorial tax system, for example, attracts wealthy expats by only charging tax on local income – not foreign investments. Living tax-free in a country with a territorial system can give you more options as far as second residences go, but you can end up paying tax if you want to rent your property there or invest in a local business.
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In Singapore, you only need to pay tax on locally-generated income. Low-tax and no-tax countries are thus somewhat similar in that you can feasibly pay no taxes in those places, but in low-tax countries, you may need to pay in certain situations. 16 Countries With No Income Taxes As of today, there are 16 countries with no income tax in the world. The following list includes all countries without any kind of income tax. You may not be able to get residence or citizenship in all of them, and some of them aren’t exactly the most livable.
To even be eligible, you must have lived in the country for over 20 years and have a good command of Arabic. Saint Kitts and Nevis If you’re looking for a place where you can easily establish tax-free citizenship, look no further than Saint Kitts and Nevis. The price tag of its citizenship by investment is also far lower than other citizenship by investment programs.
Part of the reason why Somalia has no income tax is because of its status as a failed state. After the country descended into civil war in the early 1990s, its government has struggled to regain control. Insurgent groups like al-Shabab still control large swaths of the country’s territory. At its worst, the Somali central government-controlled only a handful of city blocks in Mogadishu.
Although you’ll need to spend several million dollars to prove your wealth in order to become a resident, the residency process itself is fairly straightforward since it’s a popular destination for wealthy expats. If you’re thinking of moving there, check out our ultimate guide to getting residency and citizenship in Monaco. For those of you who prefer European glamour to island life, then living tax-free in Monaco may be the right choice. Nauru Nauru is a small island country in southwest Pacific Ocean that was first named “Pleasant Island” by European sailors. Unfortunately, however, the island doesn’t seem to quite live up to its nickname. Most people only know of Nauru for making headlines as the location of a controversial Australian-run detention camp for asylum-seekers. Although Nauru certainly has many of the charming features that draw visitors to other Pacific islands, the island’s phosphate mining industry has decimated its economy.
It may even be sinking into the Pacific Ocean, too, thanks to rising sea levels. In fact, Nauru is among the world’s countries with no taxes because of the government’s last-ditch efforts to keep its economy afloat. If you’re looking for a peaceful tax haven in the South Pacific, Nauru might not be your best bet. Oman Like most of the Middle Eastern countries on this list, Oman is a wealthy and entrepreneurial nation that has no need for an income tax thanks to its oil and gas industry. Additionally, despite its massive oil and gas reserves, Oman has made a distinct effort to diversify its economy and open its markets to new opportunities. This makes it a great alternative to the UAE for investors looking for new opportunities in the Gulf. The Omani government even offers an Investor Residence Visa on its website.
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There are two investment options to get the passport. A donation of $150, 000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund or an investment in a government-approved real estate project for at least $400, 000. Getting a second passport in Saint Kitts is one of the easiest ways to lower your global tax bill. While you can read more about the citizenship by investment program in Saint Kitts and Nevis here, it’s a relatively easy process that can take less than a year to complete. Somalia Remember when I mentioned that not all countries on this list are very livable? Somalia is – without question – one of those countries.
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