Expat-Friendly Countries with No Capital Gains Tax
No one likes the feeling of making incredible gains on an investment, only to see 30-40% (or even more!) of the profits getting eaten up by exorbitant capital gains taxes. Unfortunately, that is the reality in many developed nations, where capital gains taxes accounts for a large portion of total government tax revenue.
Luckily, there are a large number of countries which have prioritised respecting capital gains of investors as they understand that it can help encourage investment and capital efficiency, and lead to an overall healthier and stronger asset market and wider economy.
As such, many of these nations levy negligible or absolutely no capital gains taxes on investment profits.
That being said, in order to qualify for these tax advantages, you need to become a tax resident of the country in question, and not all of the countries with no capital gains tax are actually places where you would want to relocate to.
It is with this in mind that we have compiled a list of seven “expat-friendly” countries with no capital gains tax. These are countries that expats gravitate towards for their high quality of living and thriving international communities.
Table of Contents:
- Seven Expat-Friendly Countries With No Capital Gains Tax
- 1. Cayman Islands
- 3. Monaco
- 4. Switzerland
- 5. Luxembourg
- 6. Hong Kong
- 7. Malaysia
Seven Expat-Friendly Countries with No Capital Gains Tax
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1. Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory situated in the Caribbean. Aside from its attractiveness as a luxurious tourist destination, it is world-renowned as an offshore tax haven and international finance hub.
Expats who choose to settle in Cayman Islands can enjoy various tax benefits, including no capital gains tax on any transactions. Individuals and companies based in Cayman Islands may still be liable for tax in other jurisdictions, but Cayman Islands itself does not impose any additional capital gains tax.
In addition to the tax and financial benefits, Cayman Islands is an idyllic nation to settle in as an expat. It offers an excellent quality of life along with many business and financial opportunities.
Singapore has firmly established itself as a popular international financial centre, and provides an ideal environment for expats and foreign investors to relocate to its shores.
Singapore has implemented various regulations and incentives which serve to attract foreign capital and business to the city-state, which includes a favourable offshore banking sector and excellent tax incentives. One of these incentives are that there is no capital gains tax at all in Singapore.
These tax incentives, along with its thriving international community, exciting and quality lifestyle, and excellent infrastructure and services, make it an ideal choice for expats wanting to live well and reduce their tax bill at the same time.
Monaco is a tiny nation situated on the French Riviera, with a population of just under 40,000. It has become a haven for the ultra-rich, due its status as an elite tax haven.
Foreigners living in Monaco pay absolutely no capital gains tax, except for French citizens. Monaco has carefully crafted a tax and corporate environment that attracts the crème of the crop in foreign wealth.
It is an astoundingly beautiful and luxurious nation to live in if you are a high-earning expat who can afford to do so.
Switzerland is home to one of the largest offshore banking centres in the world, and has held a place as an international banking and finance hub for many decades. In addition to the business and banking benefits it offers, it also charges no capital gains tax on buying and selling of securities.
Profits from selling private property also incur no federal capital gains tax, whereas those from selling business properties are taxed as income. Other investments incur capital gains tax only if they are actively traded for a living (and thus treated as income tax), but otherwise do not accrue capital gains tax.
Aside from its tax and economic benefits, Switzerland is an incredibly popular country for expats to reside. It is one of the wealthiest European nations with a high standard of living, breath-taking scenery, top-quality national services, and convenient proximity to the European Union.
The cost of living in Switzerland is by no means cheap, but it can be easily manageable considering the earning potential and the significant tax savings which are available to tax residents.
The small, landlocked Western European nation of Luxembourg is most famous for being the wealthiest country in the world by GDP per capita.
A major factor that has led to its high GDP is its thriving offshore finance sector, that attracts a great deal of foreign wealth due to its favourable tax regime, strong economy, and friendly corporate environment. In addition, it is one of a handful of highly liveable nations that charges no capital gains tax on sales or income.
Luxemburg is undoubtedly a pleasant and safe country to live. It has a population of only 540,000 and is ideally located between Belgium, France, and Germany. Not to mention it is a member of the EU, which gives its residents complete access to the rest of the European Union for work and travel. This puts it up there as one of the top expat-friendly countries with no capital gains tax.
6. Hong Kong
Hong Kong has been crowned “the freest economy in the world”, and for good reason. This international trading hub is a hotspot for expats, investors, and businesspeople from around the globe. It offers young professionals and entrepreneurs many exciting opportunities and immense earning potential.
Hong Kong has always respected people’s capital and earnings, and therefore does not charge tax on capital gains. The only exception are shares which are issued to employees as part of their salary package, which are naturally taxed at the city’s normal income tax rate.
As a buzzing meeting place of ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world, along with its high standard of living, exciting night life, and enjoyable culture, Hong Kong lends itself as an ideal expat-friendly hangout free of capital gains tax.
Malaysia has a similar approach towards capital gains as its neighbour, Singapore. It does not tax capital gains on equities, and also removed its capital gains on real estate in 2007.
Malaysia has additional tax benefits in that they use a territorial tax system. This means that any income sourced from outside Malaysia is not liable for income tax. This even extends to investment income that is repatriated to Malaysia by its tax residents.
Malaysia has since introduced a special levy on capital gains which requires non-residents to hold real estate for at least five years to avoid paying a 30% withholding on capital gains. This is called a “real property gains tax”.
Aside from its excellent tax benefits which include zero capital gains tax, Malaysia is a favourite among expats from around the world. It benefits from a temperate South-East Asian climate, high living standards, and an extremely affordable lifestyle compared to many of the other countries on this list.
If you are looking to maximise your capital efficiency and make the most out of your investments, it absolutely makes sense to relocate to a nation with little or no capital gains taxes.
The above list provides a few of the best choices available, not only for their favourable tax regulations, but also for the quality of life you can expect to lead as an expat on their shores. If you are unsure of where to move to or how to practically go about it, it is always best to consult an expert who can help guide you through the process.