Stressed out by ever-rising taxes? Like the good life? Solve both problems by banking offshore! You may as well catch a tan whilst you’re stashing your cash! Read on for this list of the Top 10 Sunniest Tax Havens!
“You go to heaven, I’d rather stay here in Bermuda,” said Mark Twain. No word on whether he was setting up an offshore bank account to protect his Huck Finn royalties, but Bermuda has long been a favored tax haven with 1,500 registered companies enjoying total exemption from income and capital gains taxes. Some companies have even moved their entire operations here.
A tranquil group of islands in the Western Caribbean, the Caymans are synonymous with offshore banking. And for good reason: the islands have strict privacy laws and a reputation for financial secrecy. Home to 8,000 hedge funds and 600 international banks, there’s no income, capital gains, gift, or estate taxes on this island nation.
If you like the Caribbean but just can’t do without your personal airplane—don’t worry, Belize will allow you to import it (along with your household goods and your car) tax-free. This Central American paradise is home to great Mayan archeology, but no capital gains or inheritance taxes and no taxes on external income. The names of the directors and shareholders of your offshore company are always concealed, and you can get yourself incorporated in less than three days.
4) Cook Islands
In case you thought you could only evade taxes in the Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean has lots of places to set up shop. The lands may be ancient but the society isn’t—in an effort to attract foreign business, you can expect to pay no income tax, capital gains tax or death tax. The corporate director can run the company from anywhere in the world, but there’s no reason not to make these white sandy beaches your office.
Another Pacific island, Vanuatu is a relative newcomer to the tax haven scene and an ideal place for low-key banking. A mecca for diving and snorkeling, sunny Vanuatu is also rumored to be a site for CIA cash transfers. Even if you don’t work in intelligence you’ll never have to pay income, withholding, capital gains or inheritance taxes. You won’t even need to report your accounting.
If you’re looking for a more urban experience whilst you incorporate yourself but aren’t willing to give up the sunshine, check out Singapore, the “Asian Switzerland”. As European countries reform their tax laws, Singapore is stepping in to fill the need for secure banking by offering tariff-free trade and strict privacy laws. The number of private banks rises each year and Singapore is becoming known as a nice place to store your money—without being asked too many questions.
No wealth tax or property tax here—so buy a house in this tropical paradise and reap the benefits. No taxes on all income earned outside of Malaysia and resident income taxes are reasonably low should you find the house of your dreams.
8 ) Dubai
What better way to celebrate successfully avoiding the tax man than by staying in one of the world’s most expensive hotels? Look no further than the city raised from the desert, Dubai, which imposes no taxes of any kind. The financial sector has a policy of never sharing transaction information with any government, so what happens in Dubai stays in Dubai!
With a low corporate tax rate (10%), no capital gains tax, and no withholding tax on offshore companies, Cyprus is swiftly becoming the new destination for tax-break loving bankers. Financial group KPMG recently named Cyprus one of the most attractive offshore tax havens, though it’s unclear if they were referring to tax policies or the sparkling Mediterranean waters.
Located at the junction between North and South America, Panama is a natural spot for trade and international banking. Panama is known for its financial privacy and commitment to keeping the country amenable to offshore interests—the country has repeatedly refused to sign a tax information exchange with the United States. No tax on income earned outside Panama and special incentives are offered for those seeking residency, making Panama a popular spot for retirees.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your shades and leave the tax forms at home! Know more sunny places to store your money? Spill the beans and let us know!
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Main image credit: JoshuaDavisPhotography