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saityro

New member
Hello all!
I've been reading the threads for hours and hours and I just got even more confused. So I thought about adding some recent options I saw in the UAE and explaining my personal case just in case somebody has a similar background and found a solution.

I have a pretty common background:
- European passport (French & Spanish in my case)
- Freelancer (software developer) earning about 100K-120K€ /Y
- owning some crypto, but I'm not willing to convert into FIAT anytime soon (probably just keep them as stables when the market goes into full bear mode), so a crypto friendly country would be just a nice to have
- I would love to go visit friends and family from time to time, but I have absolutely no need to spend more than 2-3 months in any country. Moving each 3 months would be absolutely perfect for me.

I'm looking for a 100% legal and rock solid setup and I have 0 links to any country, what I'm looking for:

1)
a) Either a nice weather and friendly country for 6 months + traveling the other 6 months
b) Or anyplace that grants me a tax certificate in <3 months even if it's a shitty place, so I can be sure I won't be bothered by my past countries (France, Spain)
2) I'm ok paying taxes as long as they are not too high (<20%) and are well-used in a performant corruption-free country.
3) I don't care about the national insurance system or the retirement, I want to pay a private insurance and plan my own retirement. A nice private health sector would be a plus
4) My clients trust me, so I don't care about the banking OR complexity of the setup as long as it's 100% legal for them and for me
5) I really hate bureaucracy and paperwork, I want to focus on my clients' needs and traveling
6) I would love to buy a house and invest on it up to 2K-3K a month, so if this helps for the tax residence, or demonstrate that is my real residence, that would be nice!
7) Future proof: Would love to be safe for the long term, at least 3-4 years without probable surprises
8) Cheap in-out flights is a great nice to have! ✈

And a little issue:
- Most of my income comes from Spain and France customers. Both countries, specially Spain, are a hell of bureaucracy and tax inspectors. That why the setup must be 100% rock solid in my case.

Current options in mind:

A) UAE
One of the options I'm considering is the UAE, specially because of these two recent news (I don't think I can post URLs, so you will need to search for the articles):
- Reduction of 94% of the costs to establish a company in Abu Dhabi: Search for: "471566-set-up-a-business-abu-dhabi-cost-2021"
- Golden visa for developers. Search for: "UAE-to-grand-Goden-Visa-for-Developers-over-the-world"

But to be honest I don't think I would love to live there 183 days in order to get the tax certificate, unless I can get it the first year only and then have a more flexible life.
Also, not sure about the structure itself: just being a freelancer in UAE and invoicing directly my clients from them seem easy enough

B) Costa Rica
This kind of country seems like one where I could live 6 months a year or buy a house: nice weather, ok prices, nice people, nature, beaches... The only two things that are pushing me away are the huge time-zone differences (but could be ok) and that it seems like the structure US LLC - Costa Rica tax residency would not actually grant a 0% taxes as it's probably not "passive income"

C) Cyprus
The thing I love about Cyprus is the 60-days law. Being only 60 days there and being able to travel the rest of the year, staying 2-3 months in each country would be amazing. But it has the same issues as Costa Rica, it seems like no structure grants a 0% taxes,
Another thing I don't like is how things are going in EU... it seems like any EU country in the long term will be a bad choice with all the freedom-hostile initiatives coming the last years...

D) Romania
I may create a company in the future, and Rumanian people are amazing workers from my experience. I may will to create a company and start having some employees at some point, so Rumania low taxes are really attractive. On the other hand, i don't want to spend 6 months per year there. 2-3 would do tho.
Another nice point for Romania is the cheap flights to go to other countries

E) Georgia
Not discarded yet, but I read a lot of bad things about not being as good as before and their tax certificate not being seriously considered in other countries

F) Any combination residency-company of those;
Would do as long as I don't have to stay more than 3 months per year in a shitty country

G) Discarded countries:
- Portugal: Although the country weather and people + the crypto-friendly laws are attractive, NHR seem to complex and tricky.
- Panama: Too bad reputation, Spain / France will probably go after me if I go to some country with bad reputation (but I'm still open-minded about it if it is not the case)
- Malta: Too complex and apparently is changing a lot each year. Also, I don't want to spend 6 months on a little island, Cyprus would do, but Malta is too small.
- Greece: I'm in love with Greece. It's an amazing country, fill with amazing people. And they seem to be one of the few countries in Europe that decently managed the COVID crisis. But their taxes are just too high. Will be for sure one of my secondary countries where I will spend <3 months per year tho. May also try to buy a house there if it does not cause problems to my structure, as i'm sure it will get better in the future.
- USA: No, thanks, no longer a Freedom country

H) Extra:
Countries that I love that I consider as secondary countries (<3 months per year) but are not in the list because of my current vision of their taxes or because is just too cold:
- Greece, Colombia, Brazil, Indonesia, NZ, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Guatemala, Morocco, Canada, Estonia...

Hope anyone has been in a similar situation and has found the perfect setup!

Thanks
 

cinquepalli

New member
Hope anyone has been in a similar situation and has found the perfect setup!

Thanks
I I am exactly in your same situation and I have been researching on this a lot, you can look at my previous posts.

There is no perfect solution and really depends on you and what you value.

Eastern Europe or Dubai would be best by a taxation point of view but personally I would not like living 6 months there every year and I don't think its a good idea spend time in a place you hate just to save some $$ on taxes. Muslim countries and everywhere where I can be jailed for possession of weed or stupid things like that are also a hard no for me personally but you do you.

I also take off the list Panama and other banana republics for bad reputation and difficulty in banking there.

In europe the ideal country for me would be Spain but as you know is a tax hell out there. Malta also off the list as its a plain boring place.

This leaves me with three options:

- Cyprus. 60 days minimum stay yearly so not too bad. Its an island and I don't speak the language so not overly sold on it.

- Portugal. Amazing place but as you mention NHR seems to be a wild beast. From what I understand is doable with a very low taxation but this involves open an LTD in a low corporate tax country and have an office and possibly employees there.
It depends if you want to take the risk of the taxman coming after you and claiming unpaid taxes. Also tax lawyers and accountants don't seem very professional or too knowledgeable about local laws.

- Gibraltar. Very attractive since its a common law countries. From my experience anglosaxons are very straightforward in their interpretation of the rules (e.g. you know what you would pay in advance and don't risk bad surprises). Also no capital gains tax which is huge and after a few years living there you can dissolve the company and take the balance left in your company tax free.

I am very inclined towards the third option, what it worries me is that is too much of a small place even though you are like 50mins away from Marbella and other interesting options.
Also is not a cheap country (although a lot of deductions that can be used) and the initial company setup would be around £3000 or £4000 for the first year so might not be worth on your income level.


Would be nice to hear more and brainstorm together.
 

Bagpacker

Active Member
E) Georgia
Not discarded yet, but I read a lot of bad things about not being as good as before and their tax certificate not being seriously considered in other countries
I reply to this since you might have gotten that info from one of my posts.

So, to clarify: There are two tax certificates in Georgia:
  1. ordinary certificate of tax residency
  2. HNWI-program certificate of tax residency
Number 1. (ordinary) is perfectly fine and accepted by all relevant tax authorities. However, Number 1. will only be granted after you stayed a minimum of 183 days in any 12 months rolling period in Georgia.
Number 2. (HNWI program) is useless. Read this -> 0% tax residency (post #118) and this -> Digital Nomad / Perpetual Traveller - 0% tax with US LLC (post #56) .

For your purpose I would consider the Philippines. Currently it might be difficult because of the many COVID restrictions PH has in place. Once this has been lifted and things are back to normal the country is a top-notch destination if you can stand the weather. Read this -> Digital Nomad / Perpetual Traveller - 0% tax with US LLC (posts #66 till #70)
together with this -> Question - Low budget tax residency (posts #15 and #16) .
The "Special Investors Resident Visa" (SIRV) is promoted by "Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority" (TIEZA). Required deposit is higher compared to SRRV but processing fees are just a fraction of the former. With the SIRV you will get a tax certificate of residency with relative ease since you run an active business.
Understand that in the Philippines you are considered a tax resident from the very first day when you have the intention to remain permanently in the country. The term "permanently" is an intention of stay of more than three years. This does not mean that you can not leave the country, the meaning "permanent" stems from your intention to make the Philippines your home country for more than three years!
Since you are a freelancer, set up an office and classify your business activity as to be related to the "service sector". Employ a person for running this office, look for an accountant and all is done - running costs for this are minimal in PH. If you set it up in one of the Special Econmic Zones (e.g. Cagayan Valley) taxes can be as low as 5%.
 

Bagpacker

Active Member
Muslim countries and everywhere where I can be jailed for possession of weed or stupid things like that are also a hard no for me personally but you do you.
In that case not many options left: You should even exclude the Southern European countries and territories you listed if this is of such importance to you.
stoned homer simpson GIF
 
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Segd

New member
I had similar situation ( freelancer, moving out of Finland ) and after going through all available options I chose Romania. 6-8% tax is great for freelancer. You also get nice weather, great internet, cheap prices, in Europe (flights), EU VAT etc. No 6 months requirement to be a tax resident. Definitely recommend.
Take your time picking a lawyer though. My LLC creation was around 2k, but you can make it for 500eur with proper research.
 

rhomber

New member
Have you considered Paraguay? It seems like some of the countries you mentioned are similar to it. The weather is ideal I hear as well. I'm also a software engineer and looking to move there at the end of the year. You can get a permanent residency by putting $5k into a bank account for 3 months. It's terratorial tax based, so you'll pay 0% tax. It's not the biggest country, but you probably only need to spend 4 months a year there (no 183 day tax residency rules, but 4 months is advised) as well and land is cheap so you can build a mansion :)

Ps. Sorry if I mention Paraguay a lot in posts, I'm getting excited about my move - also have spent the last 3 months researching every county on earth.. with the best taxes.. the best livability.. and the least COVID hysteria.. and this is my solution.
 

rhomber

New member
I had similar situation ( freelancer, moving out of Finland ) and after going through all available options I chose Romania. 6-8% tax is great for freelancer. You also get nice weather, great internet, cheap prices, in Europe (flights), EU VAT etc. No 6 months requirement to be a tax resident. Definitely recommend.
Take your time picking a lawyer though. My LLC creation was around 2k, but you can make it for 500eur with proper research.
Romania was and still is on my list.. I at least want to spend some time there for sure.. How do you get in though? I know they are bringing out a new digital nomad visa, but what can you use to get in before that comes out ? (like to stay for more than 3 months).
 

Segd

New member
One issue with territorial tax in Georgia, Portugal etc. is that freelancing from there might be considered as domestic work by tax authority. Then they will just surprise backtax you at some point.
 

Segd

New member
Romania was and still is on my list.. I at least want to spend some time there for sure.. How do you get in though? I know they are bringing out a new digital nomad visa, but what can you use to get in before that comes out ? (like to stay for more than 3 months).
I have Finnish citizenship, so that's not really an issue. Not sure how it's done from outside of EU, but formation of the company might help. At least for opening a company there is no EU citizenship requirement.
 

heliotrope

Active Member
C) Cyprus
The thing I love about Cyprus is the 60-days law. Being only 60 days there and being able to travel the rest of the year, staying 2-3 months in each country would be amazing. But it has the same issues as Costa Rica, it seems like no structure grants a 0% taxes,
Another thing I don't like is how things are going in EU... it seems like any EU country in the long term will be a bad choice with all the freedom-hostile initiatives coming the last years...
I came to the conclusion that the worst problems associated with Cyprus being in the EU (specifically ATAD and exit tax) could be avoided by operating a foreign company. You would open a Cyprus company to demonstrate economic ties and in order to qualify for the 60-day tax certificate. But you would operate through a Dubai or Singapore company in order to avoid any mess with exit taxes.

Worth noting that the 60-day certificate may not be worth much if you're trying to escape from aggressive countries that see it as a sham.
 

saintjohnny

New member
I came to the conclusion that the worst problems associated with Cyprus being in the EU (specifically ATAD and exit tax) could be avoided by operating a foreign company. You would open a Cyprus company to demonstrate economic ties and in order to qualify for the 60-day tax certificate. But you would operate through a Dubai or Singapore company in order to avoid any mess with exit taxes.

Worth noting that the 60-day certificate may not be worth much if you're trying to escape from aggressive countries that see it as a sham.
Would you say Spain is one of those aggressive countries?
 

saintjohnny

New member
I came to the conclusion that the worst problems associated with Cyprus being in the EU (specifically ATAD and exit tax) could be avoided by operating a foreign company. You would open a Cyprus company to demonstrate economic ties and in order to qualify for the 60-day tax certificate. But you would operate through a Dubai or Singapore company in order to avoid any mess with exit taxes.

Worth noting that the 60-day certificate may not be worth much if you're trying to escape from aggressive countries that see it as a sham.
Can you clarify if you meant that the 60-day certificate would not suffice for Spain (or any other aggressive country), even though you're not living in any of those countries?
 

Bagpacker

Active Member
One issue with territorial tax in Georgia, Portugal etc. is that freelancing from there might be considered as domestic work by tax authority. Then they will just surprise backtax you at some point.
This is definitely the case. Territorial taxation is exactly that: They tax you on the work you perform in their country. Since "freelancing" is "work" you will be taxed.

To name a few other popular countries where the very same applies: Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand.

Territorial taxation is only favourable for retirees who are able to live off interests, dividends, capital gains. And even then it should not be an excessive number of transactions and monies are best not to be remitted to the country with territorial taxation.
 

saityro

New member
I'm adding Philippines, and Paraguay to the list!

Worth noting that the 60-day certificate may not be worth much if you're trying to escape from aggressive countries that see it as a sham.

That scares me a lot: I think both Spain and France are aggressive countries. Would be amazing to know about somebody that got rid of those countries by using a cyprus tax certificate.


It's not the biggest country, but you probably only need to spend 4 months a year there (no 183 day tax residency rules, but 4 months is advised) as well and land is cheap so you can build a mansion :)

How sure are you about those 4 months? May i get the tax certificate with that? At this point I just want to escape from the French and Spanish taxhells as soon as possible and then cope with a more friendly country

With the SIRV you will get a tax certificate of residency with relative ease since you run an active business.

70K USD may be a lot if the investment does not work hope there is some safe ways to invest that they accept

set up an office and classify your business activity as to be related to the "service sector". Employ a person for running this office, look for an accountant and all is done - running costs for this are minimal in PH. If you set it up in one of the Special Econmic Zones (e.g. Cagayan Valley) taxes can be as low as 5%.

Which cities do you suggest? I don't like dense cities, but a nice hospital would be nice considering all the weird diseases out there
 

saityro

New member
Also, I'm thinking about Abu Dhabi a lot due to those reductions on the fees. I wonder if I could stay there 6 months, get the tax certificate, quit my relation with Spain and France and then spend 2-3 months a year in Abu Dhabi and the other 9 months traveling abroad.

Anyone knows if this could work?

Also, it is really necessary to rent an apartment out there? Would be ok to buy one as an investment and use it as proof of residency? Is actually that a possibility as a European?
 

Bagpacker

Active Member
70K USD may be a lot if the investment does not work hope there is some safe ways to invest that they accept
The service sector is quite popular. Definition by Philippine authorities is extremely flexible and generous. If you do not want to be active yourself in that sector you can share-in and invest into the hotel industry (of course, post-COVID). There are plenty of projects open for foreign investment in any well-known area of the country with the notable exception of Boracay.
Which cities do you suggest? I don't like dense cities, but a nice hospital would be nice considering all the weird diseases out there
Stay away from everything "South". Better go to the "North". Highly recommended is North Luzon. It is cheap, accessible by road from Manila (an advantage which can not be valued highly enough in a country with more than 7'000 islands) and has a welcoming population. The provinces of Isabela and Cagayan Valley are quite nice and do have the infrastructure you are looking for. Santiago, Cauayan City, Ilagan and Tuguegaro have big shopping malls (SM, Robinson), modern hospitals (specifically Cauayan City) and low crime rates.
Don't worry too much about diseases. This is widely overestimated and the northern part of Luzon is definitely no problem. Even the water quality is quite o.k. . You just have to get used to the humidity but that is the same almost everywhere in SE-Asia.
 
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