Business and Taxes
February 21, 2024
Reading Time: 9 min

17 countries with no income tax: where to move to minimise the tax burden

“Zero income tax country” might sound appealing to a wealthy person seeking to optimise their tax burden. However, there are several things to be considered when choosing a low-tax country to live in: the general lifestyle of the country, other taxes it imposes on its residents, and the availability of residency or citizenship for foreigners.

Immigrant Invest experts share their ratings of the best tax-free countries to live in and an overview of other options.

Albert Ioffe
Albert Ioffe

Shared which tax-free countries are the best to live in

Zero income tax countries

17 countries with no income tax: where to move to minimise the tax burden

Country without income tax: is it possible?

Taxes are among the most popular means for a country to make money, and income tax usually plays a substantial role in it. However, some countries do not impose income tax on their citizens and residents. It is possible when a state makes enough money through other means.

Some countries, like Qatar and Kuwait, are rich in natural resources and earn from their oil and gas trade. Others, like the Bahamas, attract enough tourists to raise substantial money from that sector. Lastly, countries with no income tax for foreigners under the law can also be a government choice to attract investors to the country.

There are currently 17 countries in the world with zero income tax. Among them are the following: Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, the UAE, Vanuatu, Brunei, Bahrain, the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Monaco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Somalia, and Western Sahara.

In addition to countries with zero income tax, there are low-tax regions. This article will also give examples of countries with the lowest tax rates in the world.

17 best countries with no income tax: Immigrant Invest experts’ choice

Several countries with no taxes are pleasant to live in and easy to immigrate to. After spending 183 days a year there, you can become their tax resident and enjoy low tax benefits and other advantages. Here are the options we recommend considering.

1. Antigua and Barbuda. Aside from zero income tax, in Antigua and Barbuda, individuals are also free from paying taxes on wealth, capital gains, and inheritance.

Companies registered as International Business Companies, IBCs, are exempt from paying taxes for 50 years, including corporate tax and tax on income from real estate, securities, and other assets — they only pay an annual fee, depending on the authorised capital size.

However, note that Antigua and Barbuda don’t have many tax treaties, most with the Caribbean countries. This means you will still likely have to pay taxes in your other passport country when getting citizenship there.

Antigua and Barbuda is a beautiful island state with pink and white sand beaches, coral reefs, and blue lagoons. The islands are famous for their comfortable marinas, and some celebrities love spending time there: for example, singer Eric Clapton and fashion designer Giorgio Armani bought houses there.

Wealthy foreigners may obtain Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investing $100,000 or more.

The investor must be over 18, have a legal income, and have no criminal record.

Including the family in the application is also possible: a spouse, financially dependent children and parents, and unmarried siblings. Antigua and Barbuda citizenship is not inherited automatically, so the investor has to make sure to add all eligible family members within the first five years of obtaining citizenship.

Aside from the tax benefits, the Antigua and Barbuda passport allows its holders:

  • to enter the Schengen countries visa-free and stay there for up to 90 out of 180 days;

  • to visit the UK visa-free and stay there for 180 days;

  • to get a 10-year B‑1/B‑2 US visitor visa; and

  • to travel visa-free to 150+ countries altogether.

2. Saint Kitts and Nevis has no taxes on income, dividends, royalties, or interest for residents. Corporate tax is 33%, VAT is 10 to 15%, and property ownership is taxed 0.2 to 0,3%.

Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship is obtainable by investment of $250,000+. The investor must be over 18, with legal income and no criminal record. It is also possible to include the family in the application: a spouse, financially dependent children and parents.

The islands are famous for their picturesque nature: mountains, rainforests, and beautiful beaches with black volcanic sand. Travellers go to St Kitts and Nevis to sunbathe, dive, go on a yacht along the coasts and try local foods. Regarding visa-free travelling, Saint Kitts and Nevis passport is among the strongest Caribbean ones. It allows one to travel to 150+ countries visa-free.

3. Bahrain has no taxes on income, and the corporate tax of 46% is levied only on companies operating in the gas and oil sector. VAT in the country is 10%. Stamp duty is 1.7–2%, and municipality tax for rental to expatriates is 10%.

The country doesn’t offer citizenship by investment, but its residence can be obtained by investment of $270,000+, buying property, or being a retiree with sufficient income.

Bahrain is known for mild winters and hot summers. Almost half of the population are expats. It is a Muslim country, so respect for religious practices and local customs is required.

4. The UAE does not tax personal income, capital gains, inheritance, gifts, or properties. The corporate tax of 9% applies to companies that generate a profit of more than AED 375,000 only. It is one of the lowest corporate taxes in the world.

The Emirates doesn’t offer citizenship by investment, but it is possible to obtain a renewable residence visa by investing at least AED 750,000, or $205,000.

Every foreigner with a residence visa is considered a tax resident in the UAE. But to get a Tax Residency Certificate, one needs to stay in the country for 180+ days. You’ll need this certificate if you earn income in another state and want to use a double tax treaty to reduce your taxes there.

The United Arab Emirates offers multiple entertainment and educational facilities, investment options for businesses worldwide, and government support for expats. However, as a primarily Islamic country, the Emirates has rules and traditions to respect: women are advised to dress modestly everywhere, but in the beach area, public displays of affection are generally frowned upon, and alcohol purchasing is regulated.

Individual cost calculation of the UAE Golden Visa

Individual cost calculation of the UAE Golden Visa

5. The Bahamas, famous Caribbean islands, offer a warm climate, a go-with-the-flow attitude, and a large expat community.

The corporate tax rate is up to 3% of the turnover, the value-added tax is 0—12%, and the real estate tax is 0.75—2%.

The foreigner can obtain a residence permit in the country by investment of $750,000+. Getting citizenship by investment is not possible.

6. Bermuda. Besides income tax, Bermuda also has no value-added tax. Corporate tax is based on share capital levels, and a property tax is based on assessed annual rental value.

The country doesn’t grant citizenship by investment. However, it is possible to become a resident by investing $2.5+ million.

Some benefits of Bermuda are the subtropical climate, lovely beaches, rich history and culture, and hospitable locals.

7. The Cayman Islands have no income, corporate or value-added takes. There is a stamp duty of 7,5%.

The foreigner can obtain a residence permit in the country with an investment of $2.4+ million. Getting citizenship by investment is not possible.

The country is known for its warm tropical climate, many international companies, and good healthcare.

8. Vanuatu. There are no taxes on personal income, inheritance, capital gains, and capital export for individuals. Companies can be exempt from corporate and other taxes for 20 years, only paying a $300 annual fee.

However, Vanuatu hasn’t concluded tax treaties with many states globally, so a person with a Vanuatu passport may be obliged to pay taxes in another country.

Vanuatu also has the fastest citizenship program — the second passport can be obtained in 1­–3 months by investing $130,000+.

The Vanuatu passport allows visa-free entry to 100+ countries, including Singapore and Hong Kong. It also allows you to apply for a multi-entry 5-year tourist visa in the US. However, Vanuatu citizens will still need a visa to visit the Schengen countries.

Vanuatu zero income tax country

Vanuatu allows investors to obtain its citizenship in as little as 1­–3 months. Expats are attracted by its wonderful nature, sand beaches, waterfalls, diving spots — and decreased tax burden doesn’t hurt, too

9. Monaco, a “playground for the European elite”, has a corporate tax of up to 33%, VAT of 20%, and no property taxes.

The country’s residence permit can be obtained by investment of €1+ million. One can’t get citizenship by investing in Monaco’s economy.

10. Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country with strict traditions, but it’s also known for its rich cultural heritage, strategic economic reforms, and vast natural resources. The corporate tax is 20% of the net profits; however, corporate income from oil and hydrocarbon production is taxed at 50—85%. The standard VAT rate is 15%.

The country’s permanent residency can be obtained by investing at least $1.1 million.

11. The British Virgin Islands don’t impose taxes on income and capital gains, as well as withholding taxes.

The islands are known for their stunning natural beauty, crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, and a vibrant marine ecosystem. Under British Overseas Territory status, the BVI’s political stability provides a secure environment for residents and investors.

The country doesn’t grant residency or citizenship by investment.

12. The Turks and Caicos Islands, a British Overseas Territory in the Atlantic Ocean, are known for their world-class beaches, pristine marine environments, and exceptional diving sites. Additionally, the islands’ stable political climate, high standard of living, and use of the US dollar as their official currency further enhance their attractiveness.

The country doesn’t levy taxes on income, capital gains, property, inheritance, and corporate profits.

The residency or citizenship of the Turks and Caicos Islands can’t be obtained by investment.

13. Brunei’s corporate tax is 18,5%, and the property tax varies depending on the municipality. VAT is 0%.

Obtainment of Brunei’s residency or citizenship by investment is not possible.

14. Kuwait also doesn’t grant citizenship or residency by investment. Corporate tax there is 15%. There are no value-added or property taxes.

15. Qatar has a corporate tax of 10% and no value-added and property taxes. However, it is required to pay a fee for lease registration when renting out real estate. The country’s citizenship or residency can’t be obtained by investment.

All three countries above have dry and hot climates and solid Muslim traditions.

16. Somalia is considered a “failed state” because of its long history of civil war and crimes. It is quite a poor and unsafe country to live in, which is why it is tax-free. Obtaining citizenship or residency by investment is not possible there.

17. Western Sahara is tax-free because of longstanding territorial disputes. It is not safe to live there as well. Obtaining citizenship or residency by investment is not possible.

The practical guide on secure personal financial safety

Practical Guide

The practical guide on secure personal financial safety

Zero tax countries compared to the lowest tax rate in the world

Some European countries with the lowest tax rates in the world are Malta, Montenegro, Andorra, and Cyprus.

Malta. An individual’s tax rates are progressive, ranging between 0% and 35%.

The Malta Global Residence Programme allows holders to get temporary residence permits. Participants of the Malta Global Residence Programme enjoy a special tax regime:

  • 15% on the income earned abroad and transferred to Malta, at least €15,000 per annum;

  • 0% on global income not transferred to Malta;

  • 35% of the income earned in Malta.

Cyprus. Depending on income, Cyprus’s tax rate varies from 0 to 35%. There is no tax on global income and inheritance in the country, and property and income tax rates are low compared to some EU countries. The corporate tax rate is one of the lowest in Europe — 12,5%.

Montenegro. Individuals pay income tax in Montenegro at 9%. Corporate tax is rated the same way.

Montenegro tax residents don’t pay interest and royalty taxes. Annual property tax rates range from 0.25 to 1% and are based on the market value of the real estate.

Andorra is among the low-tax countries in Europe. Andorra’s basic personal income tax rate is 10% for resident individuals. The Andorran corporate tax rate is also 10%.

Instead of sales tax, a value-added tax is applied to goods and services. In Andorra, the VAT is the lowest anywhere in Europe, with a general rate of 4,5%.

Singapore’s personal income tax rate ranges from 0% to 22%. The standard corporate tax rate in Singapore is 17%.

A partial tax exemption is eligible for the first SGD 300,000, or $220,000, chargeable income. Under this condition, 75% of the first SGD 10,000, or $7,500, chargeable gain is tax-exempt, and 50% of the next SGD 290,000, or $215,000, chargeable income is tax-exempt.

Is it possible to optimise taxes without moving abroad?

There are several low-tax countries where you can obtain residency or register a company to optimise your taxes — without having to live there for most of the year. Some of the options are listed below.

You can become a Cyprus tax resident if you spend 60+ days a year without spending more than 183 days a year in any other country. Taxes in Cyprus are significantly lower than in many other countries.

The Malta Global Residence Programme allows one to get the country’s residence permit. The residency entitles you to pay taxes on Malta, which are different from the standard tax rates: for example, if you make an income outside of Malta and don’t transfer it to the country, you don’t pay an income tax on it in Malta.

The investors participating in the GRP pay €15,000+ annually as a tax on foreign income transferred to Malta.

However, make sure to check if your primary country of residence has a double tax treaty with the country you want to move to or open a business in. If there is no such treaty, then instead of tax optimisation, you may end up paying your taxes in both countries.

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Julia Loko
Julia Loko

Investment programs expert

Summary of zero-income tax countries

  1. There are 17 tax-free countries in the world, which means they have zero income tax. 4 of these countries offer citizenship or residence permits by investment.

  2. Among the countries with the lowest tax rates in the world are Malta, Cyprus, Andorra, Montenegro and Singapore.

  3. Aside from zero income tax, in Antigua and Barbuda, individuals are also free from paying taxes on wealth, capital gains, and inheritance.

  4. Foreigners can obtain Malta or Cyprus residency and register a company to optimise their taxes without having to live there for most of the year.

  5. Before choosing the country for tax optimisation, check if your primary country of residence has a double tax treaty with the country you want to move to or open a business in.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Frequently asked questions

  • How do countries make money without taxes?

    The country’s most popular alternative sources of income are tourism, trade, or money from international businesses drawn to the country by its low taxes and interesting investment opportunities.

    Among the countries with the lowest tax rates in the world are Malta, Cyprus, Andorra, Montenegro, and Singapore.

  • Where should I move so as not to pay the income tax?

    There are currently 17 countries in the world with no income tax. When choosing between them, you should probably consider the lifestyle, the ease of immigration, as well as business and travel opportunities. Some of these countries will grant residency for investment; others may even give you citizenship.

  • Do I have to move abroad to optimise my taxes?

    Not necessarily. In some cases, you might become a tax resident in a short period of time, so it’s more of travelling than actually moving abroad. In other cases, you can move your business abroad and decrease your tax load without relocating.

  • Do I have to pay taxes when obtaining second citizenship by investment?

    Yes, you will still have to pay taxes in your respective countries.

    However, if the countries have a double tax treaty, you can avoid paying taxes twice — you will just have to pay it in one country or lessen their amount in both countries.

  • Which countries are tax free?

    There are currently 17 countries with zero income tax in the world: Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, the United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, Brunei, Bahrain, the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Monaco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Somalia, and Western Sahara.

  • Which Caribbean country has no income tax?

    St Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean has a tax-friendly environment for its residents. The country charges zero tax on income, dividends, royalties, or interest for island residents.

    In Antigua and Barbuda, individuals are also free from paying taxes on personal income, wealth, capital gains, and inheritance.

  • Which countries in Europe are tax-free?

    There are no countries in Europe that are entirely tax-free. However, Monaco has a zero income tax for residents.

  • Is the UAE a tax-free country?

    In a way. The UAE has no income tax; however, it imposes a 9% tax on businesses generating a profit of at least AED 375,000+. It is still one of the lowest corporate rates in the world. No taxes on capital gains, inheritance, gifts, and properties exist.

  • Is the US a tax-free country?

    Generally speaking, no. For example, income is taxed at up to 37% in most states. However, some exemptions exist, such as Alaska, Florida, or Nevada. Personal income is not taxed in these states.

  • Is Germany tax-free?

    No, it is a European country with one of the highest taxes on personal income. Depending on an individual’s earnings, the rate can be up to 45%. Corporate tax in Germany is 15%.

  • Is Switzerland tax-free?

    No. There are taxes on personal income, corporate profits, properties, VAT, and even dog ownership. Taxes are imposed at three levels: federal, cantonal, and municipal. The federal tax rate is the same all over Switzerland. The cantonal and municipal ones depend on the canton and municipality, respectively.

    There are no taxes on gifts on the federal level.

  • Is Sweden tax-free?

    No. People pay local tax on their annual income. The rates depend on the municipality and range from 28.98 to 35,15%. The average local tax rate is 32,34%.

    The corporate tax is 20,6%. The standard value-added tax is 25%; the reduced rates are 12% and 6%.

  • Is Luxembourg a tax haven?

    Yes, Luxembourg is often considered a tax haven due to its tax incentives offered to businesses. For example, private wealth management companies designed to manage an individual’s wealth are exempt from corporate income tax, municipal business tax, wealth tax, and VAT.

    Another tax incentive applies to dividends. For Luxembourg residents, dividends paid out by domestic and local companies are eligible for a 50% income tax exemption when distributed to their shareholders.

    There are no taxes on royalties or capital gains.