Best Tax Haven Countries For Individuals To Live In

Can individuals live in the best tax haven countries? Absolutely, the best tax haven benefits are yours for the taking. You can move offshore and escape the global tax net effectively and efficiently. Live in the tropical paradise of your dreams, tax free for life. We will assist you to accomplish your goals at the lowest possible cost. 

For a lasting solution, we will give you a tax plan with a one-two punch. Indeed, governments worldwide are closing in on high net worth individuals living offshore. To be clear, residing in an offshore tax haven without the bond of citizenship is no longer sufficient. Or if sufficient, it is only a short term solution.

My comprehensive analysis of the world’s 9 best tax haven countries provides effective solutions for individuals. Discover below the best offshore tax residency options for you and your family. Implement your Plan B today!

Why is Citizenship Necessary in Tax Haven Countries?

Huge budget deficits run up by governments worldwide mean yesterday’s tax loopholes are subject to change, especially for high net worth individuals. As a result, your tax free lifestyle can disappear overnight. Your Plan B needs strength and flexibility to be effective.

Citizenship allows you to form strong bonds to the country. Being a citizen of a tax haven gives you the option of tax free residency inside the country, but it also allows you to live offshore.

Yes, that is correct. If you have a passport from a Caribbean tax haven and you want to live tax free in Europe, South America or Asia, you can do it. We have the right Plan B option for your objectives with citizenship serving as the cornerstone.    

In addition to citizenship, acquire a local driver’s license, SIM card/phone bills, street address and tax identification number. This legitimizes your nexus to the country where you claim offshore tax residency. We can assist you to get citizenship plus all of these essentials.

If you meet these requirements, it will pay off. So when your country of origin changes the expatriation rules, you will be able to adapt to the new financial regulations.

Table of Contents

  1. Prepare for New Income Tax Regulations
  2. What Are Tax Haven Countries?
  3. Best 9 Tax Haven Countries to Live in
  4. Corporate Abuse in Tax Haven Countries
  5. Legitimate Use of Tax Haven Countries
  6. Are Tax Haven Countries Effective Against FATCA?
  7. How to Make The World Your Tax Haven

Prepare for New Income Tax Regulations

The age of financial deregulation that started in the 1980s is over. This is the new age of financial regulation. New financial regulations have put offshore residents back in the cross hairs of the global tax net.

Indeed, the most notorious new regulations include the imposition of FATCA by the United States. Additionally, the United Kingdom tightened their “deemed domiciled” rules to capture more income tax. India is also beginning to change tax laws making it more difficult for expatriates to maintain their NRI tax advantages.  

Additional upcoming regulations include the imposition of public registries by 2023. This imperils privacy protection and threatens the status quo in many of the most notorious tax haven countries. It is indeed a sign of things to come and we can expect others to follow suit.

In these uncertain times, your offshore escape plan must be fortified with citizenship. The time is now to protect your family, your assets and your freedom.

Edwin Morgan, iGlobal

Best 9 Tax Haven Countries to Live In

This list targets the legitimate use of offshore tax havens by individuals. Countries that are included have several things in common such as no tax, privacy protection and financial security. In addition, many of them are attractive locations to establish offshore tax residency that is fortified with the bond of citizenship.

  1. St Kitts and Nevis
  2. Vanuatu
  3. Antigua and Barbuda
  4. Grenada
  5. United Arab Emirates
  6. Belize
  7. Malaysia
  8. Thailand
  9. Switzerland

What are Tax Haven Countries?

Offshore tax havens have significant meaning among the members of the OECD country club. Indeed, many OECD countries meet this definition themselves, albeit hidden behind glossy politics and friends in high places.

Nonetheless, the world’s most notorious tax havens are defined as using three common characteristics to attract illicit offshore capital: 

  1. No transparency concerning ownership of the funds.
  2. The host country’s tax laws were implemented only to entice offshore capital flows.
  3. No due diligence regarding the source of funds.

These self governing characteristics provide a lot of latitude to those with illegitimate sources of income. As a result, mountains of money associated with criminal syndicates, terrorists and tax evaders often find their way into the biggest tax haven countries which disproportionately includes countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and Luxembourg. 

Corporate Abuse of Tax Haven Countries

Offshore tax havens are very attractive to multinational corporations looking to shift profits to a country with a lower tax rate than the country where the earnings were derived. This is known as “Base Erosion and Profit Shifting” (BEPS).

Huge multinationals such as Google, Facebook and Apple are at the top of the BEPS company list along with a multitude of less notorious corporate tax evaders. This type of tax evasion has been increasingly scrutinized by the EU and US governments resulting in new anti BEPS regulations.

Critics say the new regulations are one sided and only enforce tax collection on profits derived in developed countries which are part of the OECD country club. As a result, developing countries in Africa and Asia are left empty handed. Therefore, they still have no means to collect tax from the giant US technology companies, which ironically have their funds parked in OECD tax haven countries e.g. Ireland.  

As shocking as it sounds, the countries holding the largest amount of illegitimate offshore cash deposits are the United States (21%), United Kingdom (16%) and Luxembourg (12%). Indeed, these countries are also the most critical of smaller, legitimate tax havens. Their hypocrisy is unfortunate and it ensures that abusive offshore tax havens will continue to be a significant part of the global financial system for the foreseeable future. 

Legitimate Use of Tax Haven Countries

Not all tax havens are seeking funds at any level. Indeed, legitimate tax havens serve very legitimate purposes. The truth of the matter is that these bank deposits, financial service revenues, second citizenship programs and offshore tax residencies provide crucial jobs and revenue for the tax haven country itself.

Many of these countries were former slave colonies with limited economic alternatives. In addition, offshore tax havens provide useful tools for expatriates and offshore companies that are completely legit.

Indeed, there are a multitude of expatriates who do not derive income from within their home country and do not reside there. For example, offshore tax havens offer protection to legitimate individuals such as retirees living offshore, working expatriates, digital nomads et cetera.

Why should they pay tax in a country where they derive no government benefits and source no income? Additionally, their governments often misappropriate income tax for means which are outside the government mandate e.g. foreign wars, slush funds. Citizens of these countries who are living offshore are taxed nonetheless.

#1 St Kitts and Nevis

St Kitts and Nevis offers classic offshore tax haven advantages in combination with the Caribbean lifestyle. This includes no income tax, no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax and no gift tax. Additionally, St Kitts offers qualified applicants the opportunity to acquire citizenship by investment.

Established since 1984, the St Kitts citizenship program is the oldest such program in the world. As a result, it is well known worldwide and highly sought after. St Kitts citizenship and the absence of income tax could make St Kitts and Nevis the world’s best offshore tax haven. But the islands have much more to offer that puts St Kitts and Nevis well ahead of the competition.

Additional benefits of St Kitts and Nevis include the legalization of cryptocurrency. As a result, you can find Bitcoin ATMs around the island. Furthermore, St Kitts is an established offshore financial center with the presence of international banks. Plus, the capital city of Basseterre is also the location of the central bank of the Eastern Caribbean States.

St Kitts is amazing, but do not overlook the neighboring island of Nevis. The island of Nevis has long established independent banking and trust laws which are exclusive from St Kitts.

Indeed, Nevis offers two of the world’s most secure financial tools in the Nevis LLC and Nevis Trust. Use these tools in combination with St Kitts citizenship to fortify your offshore tax plan.

Legitimized By Their Colonial History

During the colonial period, the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis served as the center of the Caribbean slave trade for the British empire. Notoriously known as the “Mother Colony”, for many centuries sugar (produced by slaves) was the primary export of the islands mainly serving the European markets.

Contrary to the stigma attached to the most notorious tax haven countries, the attractive tax regime on St Kitts and Nevis was not implemented only to attract offshore capital flows. So as a tax haven, it has more of a mutual appeal for both locals and new comers.

Indeed, the St Kitts citizenship program and tax haven benefits are legitimized by their colonial past. Although St Kitts has no income tax, it also had no tax base or local economy after independence. This is a colonial legacy. These economic tools continue to provided huge benefits to the island federation. 

It is safe to say the emergence of St Kitts as a tax haven is incidental to the circumstances of the country’s struggle for independence. To be clear, the absence of income tax only served the purpose of local necessity, it was never intended to make St Kitts a tax haven.

Dual options are available for qualified applicants of the citizenship program. You can reside locally or since you have a passport, live offshore. Either way, you have access to all of the tax haven benefits St Kitts and Nevis has to offer. As a result, St Kitts and Nevis is the worlds best offshore tax haven for individuals. 

#2 Vanuatu

The Republic of Vanuatu is a former colony of both the French and the British. Since declaring independence from both in 1980, Vanuatu has never imposed any form or personal or corporate income tax. Therefore, the no tax regime of Vanuatu is a legacy of colonialism. As a result, it was not only implemented to attract offshore capital.

Vanuatu had no tax base at the time of independence and only an agrarian economy. How are they going to collect income tax? Income tax was simply not a practical solution for the government to collect revenue.

The Republic of Vanuatu has a long established offshore financial center with stringent secrecy laws that protect company executives. Offshore bank services are fortified with qualified leading offshore personnel who have been in the industry for many years.

The islands are also centrally located in Australasia with easy access to New Zealand, Australia, neighboring Pacific Islands plus mainland Asia.

Indeed, Vanuatu citizenship would serve well as the foundation of the Cook Islands Trust. This impenetrable combination will eliminate personal liability while giving you control of your assets.

Vanuatu Citizenship Benefits

To be perfectly honest, their citizenship program is relatively new only established since 2017. Some lapses in due diligence have resulted in overblown international scrutiny. It is a bitter irony that the harshest scrutiny comes from their former colonial master.

Nonetheless, Vanuatu is indeed an attractive solution for expatriates located in the South Pacific with a focus on Asia. The government has eliminated redundancies in the citizenship application process. As a result, it is streamlined and very cost competitive. 

A unique tropical lifestyle is offered to both residents and citizens. Thanks to the citizenship program, those who wish to reside off the island are also eligible for tax haven benefits just the same. 

#3 Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda brings our focus back to the citizenship by investment countries of the Eastern Caribbean. Indeed, Antigua and Barbuda offers a very good, low priced citizenship by investment program.

However, their citizenship program comes with a couple of caveats. First, the Antigua citizenship program requires successful applicants to visit the country for a minimum of five days during the first five years. Second, the Antigua and Barbuda passport is only valid for five years instead of the standard 10 years offered by other programs.

That said, the program is ideal for those who will actually live on the islands, or nearby. Otherwise, you may be burdened with overseas travel at an inopportune time e.g. COVID restrictions.

Nonetheless, Antigua and Barbuda is one of the pure play tax haven countries that impose no form of personal income tax. However, Antigua’s no income tax regime is political in origin.

The administration of Prime Minister Gaston Browne campaigned on the elimination of income tax and he kept his campaign promise when he took office. Although the laws are unlikely to ever be rescinded, they could theoretically be subject to change by a new administration.

Just the same, Antigua offers a tropical island lifestyle to residents. There are 365 beaches on the island, one for each day of the year. Indeed, locals boast that they can always find a beach to themselves away from the crowds.

In addition, their beaches offer a variety of different colored sand to choose from – gold, white and pink. This makes Antigua a dream come true for offshore tax residency. Protect your family, your assets and your freedom with a no income tax, idyllic Caribbean lifestyle.

#4 Grenada

The beautiful island nation of Grenada is located at the southern end of the West Indies island chain. Famous for the production of nutmeg, Grenada is also known as the “Spice Island”. This is because you can smell the sweet smell of nutmeg while you are relaxing on the beach. Additionally, Grenada is home to one of the Caribbean’s best citizenship by investment programs.

A unique benefit of the Grenada citizenship program is US E-2 visa eligibility. As a result, those seeking to enter the US on the US E-2 visa can do so by acquiring Grenada citizenship. After entering the US on the E-2 visa, there are certain tax benefits for those residing in the US for less than 122 days per year. If so, they do not pay US income tax on international income sources.

Grenada only collects tax on locally sourced income. Therefore, Grenada tax benefits are extended to residents whose income is sourced internationally. Furthermore, Grenada is located at the far southern end of the West Indies below the hurricane belt. This helps minimize danger from hurricanes for those who intend to reside locally.

Do you want to reside in the Caribbean? Grenada is certainly a good option. Grenada citizenship by investment also extends tax haven benefits to non residents. You can live tax free in any country worldwide that offers a territorial based tax system.

#5 United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) does not have a citizenship program per se. At least not a citizenship program which is accessible to those without exceptional means. However, they do offer several residency programs which can be used in combination with citizenship from another tax haven country.

In fact, this is exactly what many expatriates are looking for after they acquire citizenship through investment. As a result, you can readily acquire residency in the UAE using your second passport. The UAE has no personal income tax requirements. Therefore, you have no obligations to pay tax on your offshore income.  

Indeed, tax residency in the UAE is an optimal solution for those who travel frequently between East and West. As a resident in the UAE you have the right to open local bank accounts, acquire a local driver’s license, work and invest plus your children can attend public or private schools. You can also access government health services and health insurance. 

Furthermore, the UAE government is backed by stable oil revenues which provides additional security to the financial system. The UAE is also a beacon of stability in the very volatile Middle East region. This drives steady interest in the local real estate market which supports prices. Plus, over 90% of the population are expatriates, so English is widely spoken.

No tax, global access, world class public facilities and infrastructure plus an affordable cost of living make the UAE and especially Dubai one of the world’s best tax haven countries.     

#6 Belize

Do you want to live in Caribbean paradise? Belize is optimal for those seeking to reside in one of the classic Caribbean tax havens. Essentially, Belize has a territorial taxation regime with no international income tax requirement.

In addition, Belize is a member state of CARICOM. Indeed, citizens of one of the Eastern Caribbean countries such as St Kitts, Antigua or Grenada have the right to live and work in other CARICOM member states such as Belize.

As result, your Caribbean passport serves an effective residency visa! Or you can also enter the country as a tourist visa free for stays of up to 6 months at a time with your Caribbean passport! 

Belize is the quintessential tropical paradise offering affordable living with no income tax. As a result, the country Belize was recently featured two times in the publication International Living as “The 15 Best Islands in the World to Retire On”.

Both Ambergris Caye and also its smaller sister island Caye Caulker were cited for turquoise waters, beautiful beaches and laid back Caribbean vibe. Additional Belize selling points include that English is the spoken language, plus US dollars are widely accepted and US brands can be easily procured.

In combination with low tax, Belize offers a high level of banking secrecy and offshore trust protection. The Belize banks pay a relatively high interest rate on deposits which is currently 2.5%.  

#7 Malaysia

For many years the Malaysia My Second Home Program (MM2H) was the best offshore tax residency in the world. However, political turbulence in Malaysia has resulted in some eye popping changes.

The income requirements for the program were increased by 10x and also the deposit requirement increased 4x. In addition, the term was shortened to 5 years from 10 years.

On the bright side, Malaysia offers a territorial taxation system. Therefore, residents pay no income tax on international income. This is a significant legacy benefit for new applicants. Nonetheless, they will have to contend with the recent program changes to qualify.

Current MM2H pass holders were grandfathered in. Indeed, the government’s retreat from imposing the changes retroactively was a lucky break for existing MM2H pass holders.

Turbulence in the MM2H program just goes to show that nothing is certain in the world’s best citizenship and residency by investment programs. I do my best to make clients aware that they have nothing to gain and everything to lose by delaying their application.

Edwin Morgan, iGlobal

Malaysia Still Reigns Supreme

Nonetheless, Malaysia is still one of the best offshore tax residency programs in the world, albeit without a citizenship program. That makes the residency program especially beneficial for preexisting MM2H pass holders who have also acquired Plan B citizenship.

In addition, the publication International Living recently voted Penang Malaysia as #3 for best islands in the world to retire on. International Living cites Penang’s affordable cost of living, English speaking population, friendly locals, eclectic architecture and vibrant art scene. 

Indeed for savvy expats, Malaysia as a country has a lot to offer. The location in the middle of SE Asia is certainly appealing. Additionally, the ecotourism paradise of Borneo is a short flight away. 

Furthermore, the Malaysian Ringgit has been trending weaker against the USD which lowers the cost of living for many. Just the same, Malaysian banks are solid financially and Ringgit deposits pay interest rates of about 1.75%. Plus, multi-currency accounts are available for MM2H pass holders.

Do you want to buy real estate in Malaysia? Real estate is very affordable with a stable market environment.

Last but not least, the Wise card was recently approved for local bank account holders. This significantly reduces the cost of currency conversions and oversea transactions.

#8 Thailand

Is Thailand really one of the best offshore tax havens? Surprisingly, the answer has become an unequivocal yes. For far too long, Thailand has been the short stay, low budget tourist mecca of SE Asia. However, the Thai government recently shifted course and now offers very attractive pricing for 5, 10 and 20 year long stay tourist visas.

The new long stay visit option called “Thai Elite Visa” is effectively a residency permit for business travelers. But in practice, the new visa would work for anyone who has a clean background and can pay the price of 1,000,000 Thai Baht (20 Year term).

If so, you receive red carpet service every time you arrive in Thailand. Additionally, you can open bank accounts and acquire a Thai driver’s license.

But the most attractive element of Thai residency is the loophole in their income tax laws. As a result, offshore income is not taxable with the caveat that it is not brought into Thailand within the first 12 months after it is earned. Therefore, expats live tax free on their offshore income as long as they sufficiently leave it offshore.

Changing Landscape of the Best Tax Haven Countries

For many good reasons, Thailand has long been an attractive retirement destination. They offer warm tropical weather, beautiful beaches and an affordable cost of living. What’s not to like? There is one or two negatives to factor in. 

Unfortunately, for many years Thailand’s tourist base has been the low budget, sex show crowd that does not appeal to everyone. Hopefully, with the help of the Thai Elite Visa and a shift in low budget tourist preferences due to the global pandemic, there will be an improvement in visitor quality.

For now, the legacy of letting shady expats in the country is that the Thai government imposes strict reporting standards on all residents (every 90 days). On the bright side, the Thai Elite Visa comes with a personal assistant! So successful applicants can have their appointed personal assistant file their reports and also assist with other formalities. 

In conclusion, the Thai elite visa is certainly worth considering, especially for those who are now priced out of Malaysia’s MM2H program.

#9 Switzerland

In my view Switzerland is not really a legitimate offshore tax haven. However, I felt compelled to include it on the list because of its notoriety as a financial safe haven, albeit with some fairly considerable income tax rates and shady banking practices.

The first reason for my skepticism about Switzerland is obviously geographical. Indeed, Switzerland is a landlocked country. It has no sea ports and is surrounded by mountains. Additionally, the country has come under pressure in recent years and its financial secrecy laws has been cracked. This is especially true for American citizens.

Nonetheless, Switzerland does maintain a certain tax haven allure for non US citizens, at least as far as privacy protection goes. But then again you must navigate the Swiss labyrinth of federal, cantonal and communal income tax laws. As a result, you need to contend with the federal income tax rate of 11.5% plus cantonal and communal tax rates vary between 10% and 30%.

This is certainly manageable because in Switzerland cantonal and communal tax rates are negotiable. However, it is more workable if you already have the necessary local experience.

Benefits of Swiss Tax Residency

Switzerland offers a lump sum income tax option. On the bright side, the base amount of the lump sum option is derived from living expenses, not your annual income. However, normal income tax rates apply and the minimum you must claim for living expenses is CHF400,000.

Furthermore, residents can acquire commercial and residential real estate in Switzerland. Plus, corporate tax rates on the federal level are very appealing at 8.5%. Inheritance and gift taxes are also very competitive in Switzerland.

Nonetheless, “offshore” tax residency in Switzerland is for those with very high net worth. So if you can still add up your mark to market net worth without calling your accountant, there may be better alternatives worth considering.

Are Offshore Tax Havens Effective Against FATCA?

How are you going to secure your assets and financial freedom against FATCA? If you think your country’s income tax regime is unfair, you need an effective Plan B. Yesterday’s offshore tax solutions are insufficient, you need a one-two punch. In order to follow through with a knock out punch, you must have second citizenship.

For example, US citizens living the tax free lifestyle overseas were caught off guard by the implementation of FATCA on July 1, 2014. Suddenly they were paying tax on offshore income even though many of them had lived and worked outside the US for many years.

In addition, the implementation of FATCA caused banks worldwide to refuse US citizens as clients. But even with second citizenship, Americans are at risk of losing their bank accounts and having their assets stranded abroad. FATCA is indeed a one way street with no escape, if you remain a US citizen.

On the other hand, if you are not a US citizen, the US is one of the world’s biggest offshore tax havens for non residents holding foreign passports. Indeed, the US does not share information with other governments, but other governments must report on US citizens.

For the US government there is no reciprocation requirement because no foreign government can enforce it. As a result, FATCA acts as both a honey pot for illicit fund flows to the US and a snare for US citizens living offshore.  

There is only one effective solution for US citizens. If you have a second passport you ultimately have the right to renounce your US citizenship. Therefore, when the time comes you can act quickly.

The World is a Tax Haven

The freedom and security of an effective Plan B allows you to choose from among the best offshore tax havens. Live in the country that offers you the tax advantages you are looking for in addition to meeting your cultural preferences.

New citizenship in an offshore tax haven with the necessary strong nexus to the country (tax identification number, driver’s license, local street address) gives you many opportunities. As a result, you can make the world your tax haven. Live the dream of choosing the best tax residency option from among the world’s best offshore tax havens.

Indeed, you have the right to live practically anywhere in privacy, free from uncertainty and insecurity. There are two simple requirements for this to work. First, the country you choose for tax residency must have a territorial tax system. Second, you must not have any local income sources.

Make sense? The solution is simple. All you have to do is meet the requirements of tax haven citizenship and build a strong nexus to the country. Then choose your offshore tax residency carefully. If you meet these two simple requirements, you have escaped the global tax net.

Contact iGlobal, discover the best Tax Haven Countries to live in
Edwin Morgan, Managing Director Go Global Corporation PTE LTD