There are roughly 80 countries that are considered tax havens. These are secrecy jurisdictions with incredibly low to no taxes. (See also: 7 States With the Lowest Taxes for Retirees).
Billionaires and millionaires flock to these places to take advantage of tax loopholes that allow them to establish offshore bank accounts and shell corporations, and pay virtually nothing.
By doing so, they avoid the otherwise high tax rates they would pay in their home countries, without renouncing their citizenship.
Recently, the IRS announced plans to go after U.S. citizens holding offshore accounts. Still, that hasn’t been a deterrent for a lot of wealthy individuals seeking to escape steep tax implications. Done correctly, offshore banking is completely legal.
And you don’t have to have tons of cash in order to seek out the reprieve tax havens offer. Because, in addition to the lenient tax laws, many of these nations are exotic travel destinations that offer outside investors simplified pathways to citizenship.
Take a closer look.
Best known for the scuba diving and its astonishing Barrier Reef, Belize is a tropical paradise in the Caribbean Sea and just the place for anyone seeking discretion. English is the country’s native language, though many habitants also speak Spanish. There are two pathways to citizenship: Permanent Residence and the Qualified Retired Person (QRP) program.
Permanent Residence status is applicable if you intend to earn income as an employee. Otherwise, you would be considered a QRP and all you have to do is spend four weeks of the year in Belize, while meeting a minimum yearly retirement income threshold. As a QRP, foreign income is tax-exempt and there’s no tax on capital gains or inheritances.
Language: English, Spanish, and Creole
British Virgin Islands
Another Caribbean oasis, The British Virgin Islands (BVI) has long been known for its banking secrecy. BVI’s income tax rate is 0% — there’s no corporation, capital gains, gift, sales, profit, or inheritance tax. And property owners or real estate investors can become part-time residents, which permits you to stay in the country six months out of the year. There is a nominal property tax of 1.5% of the assessed value per annum.
The Cayman Islands has been on the radar for multinational U.S.-based Fortune 500 companies with offshore subsidiaries for decades. Apple, IBM, and others are just a few on the list. The country has no corporate tax — and no taxes on income, capital gains, profits, or estates, either.