Where would you live? UK Passport & €500K Income....

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Barney2201

New member
Although this is pertinent to my current situation I wanted to throw it out to the group as a place holder for many people in a similar situation....

I own a successful UK company which is not online, most clients are UK based, there is a 'design' element to the business and a nuts and bolts element (we work in events).

We left the UK over 3 years ago and have since lived in Guernsey and most recently Sark! So we are prepared to put boots on the ground to maximise our tax and living standards.

My question is where do we live??? Sark was fine for 6 months and I am currently sitting in Mauritius still under Sark tax status until we make the next move.

Have applied and just been granted the first round of the Portugal D7 visa, just not sure it's the best move.

So what do we want...

- We are a family (kids aged 11 & 12) and we want to live in a warm climate
- I travel back and forth to London usually every other week and operate on a UK business day
- Like beaches, good restaurants and a decent quality of life
- Need decent international schools for the kids
- Low tax (obviously)...
- Similar time zone, no more than 2 hours +/- from GMT
- Locals speak a reasonable amount of English (doesn't need to be an English first language country just not hard work)

We are not multi-millionaires but have a solid income, don't have property or ties to anywhere (just keep under the UK 90 midnight SRT).

So where do we look to put roots down??? We are not in the Monaco League (but like the South of France), not keen on Dubai and time zone doesn't work.

Also not massively keen on the Eastern European countries, appreciate they can be beneficial from a tax point of view just a very different culture.

Happy to pay some tax, dream is to keep a combined personal and corp sub 10%

Is Portugal and NHR the best option? Appreciate its only 10 years but by then kids have left and we can widen the search for a retirement location.

Any thoughts, pointers or musings would be greatly appreciated.

And if anyone is looking for the lowdown on Sark just PM me, happy to share our experience.
 

Jerry1911

Active Member
- We are a family (kids aged 11 & 12) and we want to live in a warm climate
- I travel back and forth to London usually every other week and operate on a UK business day
- Like beaches, good restaurants and a decent quality of life
- Need decent international schools for the kids
- Low tax (obviously)...
- Similar time zone, no more than 2 hours +/- from GMT
- Locals speak a reasonable amount of English (doesn't need to be an English first language country just not hard work)
Croatian coast?

Warm climate, flights to London, beaches, good restaurants, international schools, 10% tax on dividends, similar time zone and like 80% of people speak English very well.

Check out Istria, that region has nothing to do with Eastern Europe.
 

Sols

Staff member
Mentor Group Gold
Maybe Isle of Man or Gibraltar if you want to remain on British territory. Don't tick a lot of boxes besides convenience and familiarity.

Cyprus or Malta if you aren't fed up with living on islands. Cyprus has an expiration date of 17 years, which is neither forever nor a short period of time. English isn't an official language in Cyprus but nearly everything is bilingual and if you ever run into bureaucracy, you can usually pay a lawyer or accountant to do it for you.

Both have good international schools (go where other expats send their kids), beaches, low tax, and excellent communications to London (direct flights daily all year). The food is excellent in both. Malta being a little more towards Italian and Cyprus more towards Greek and Levantine.
 

Barney2201

New member
Ah ah! Started our own 'exit high tax UK' with opening a company and almost moving to IOM, couldn't bring myself to do it... Just too miserable (sorry if anyone here is Manx!). Many years ago we used to live in Spain and my wife worked in Gib, not a place we would want to live, bit like a poor Monaco....

Croatia is on the radar, need to go and have a look. Any recommendations of best areas to live not too far from airport. Looking for first world high quality (lux) living not buying a barn in the middle of nowhere.

Might need to take another look at Malta, think Cyprus is a little too Eastern plus flights are long without a decent business class seat from London (sounds petty but when you commute 2 - 3 times a month it makes a big difference).

Not totally binned the Portugal plans, would be good to hear from anyone who has actually used the NHR scheme and how they made it work with a UK company and setting up a secondary company to work with NHR.
 

JohnnyDoe

Mentor Group Gold
Congrats on your business!

It’s a pity that you need to be within 2h GMT and in a English speaking country.
Otherwise I would have suggested Bermuda (-3 GMT), Bahamas (-4 GMT) or Italy (no English). The 3 options are about equal in terms of taxes: what you save in Bermuda/Bahamas with zero taxes you spend in import duties and living expenses. In Italy, you only pay a €100k flat tax.

All considered, especially as a family, if you can manage the time difference your best choice would be Lyford Cay in Nassau, Bahamas. The proximity to the US could be a plus for your business, in case you want to expand it.
 

Jerry1911

Active Member
Croatia is on the radar, need to go and have a look. Any recommendations of best areas to live not too far from airport. Looking for first world high quality (lux) living not buying a barn in the middle of nowhere.
Buy a plot of land a little bit outside of Pula (where the airport is) and build your own house. There's a lot of luxury villas all around Istria. Example is pic attached.

Check out Dubrovnik as well, might be a bit dead during the winter though.

P.S. there is a ferry from Pula to Venice if you decide to go there over the weekend. Takes about 3-4 hours.

1652440149824.png
 

JohnnyDoe

Mentor Group Gold
Your best choice is Malta. A lot of British and tick all the boxes.
If you settle for “decency”, yes. If you seek excellence, especially for your young men and women in the family (at age 11&12 they are no longer kids) look elsewhere.
 

Barney2201

New member
I have heard varying reports on Malta, some seem to like it however I have also been told it's way to hot in the summer and cold and damp in the winter with many properties not being built for the winter months. The cities are over crowded but not much else happens outside of the cities. We don't need city living, just a nice view, good local restaurants and a decent beach no too far away and a decent international school. Although our lifestyle by some would be considered luxury all we really want is quality, we don't need lots of art galleries, cinemas, theme parks etc. What we do want is somewhere nice to live with 'nice' people, when we shop we want to shop in a nice mall or a good local market. Even with a healthy budget the basics are so very hard to get right...

Thanks for the info on Croatia, Pula looks nice but very little in the way of local flights to London, would probably have to look at DBV. Also looked at Montenegro but apparently it's getting overrun with Russians and again, we find the Eastern European Slavic culture very different to Western Europe.

Italy is an interesting one, I know it's been discussed a bit on this form. Seems a bit Marmite, some say it's a massively underrated tax opportunity sitting in the middle of Europe whilst others say its a red tape bureaucratic hell hole and wouldn't touch it with a barge pole!

I appreciate everywhere has it's flaws but when searching for the tax utopia the world really is a very small place.

Do keep the comments coming, this is getting very interesting.....
 

Sols

Staff member
Mentor Group Gold
I have heard varying reports on Malta, some seem to like it however I have also been told it's way to hot in the summer and cold and damp in the winter with many properties not being built for the winter months.
That's the case across the whole Mediterranean. But if you have budget to buy or build a modern luxury house and can afford to keep it heated, you won't notice much besides jaw-dropping utility bills. Expect four-figure quarterly bills to keep a large villa heated. But if you cover your roof in solar panels, it needn't be too atrocious averaged out over a year.

The cities are over crowded but not much else happens outside of the cities.
Yes and no. Spend some time in Malta and travel around. It's densely populated and sprawled out. The difference between central/city and rural is more drastic simply as a function of the island being small. It's not much different than comparing London to rural north, just on a much, much smaller scale.

Do keep the comments coming, this is getting very interesting.....
We're running out of territories that fit your selection criteria. ;) The world is only so big.

Balkans are ruled out.

Greece has more holes in its tax system than a block of Swiss cheese, but I would never recommend living based on non-compliance/non-enforcement.

France has something akin to a territorial taxation for companies but it doesn't really work out in any attractive manner all things considered.

Andorra has no beaches and it's tedious getting to/from London (long drive to airports).

Spain might be interesting if you can use Beckham's law in your case. You've already lived there so maybe it's also ruled out.

Worth noting that Portugal is on the Atlantic side and is not on par with Spain when it comes to beach life. It's a lot nicer than UK and I know many who have moved there and been happy. But I also know some who have moved from warmer countries and been surprised or disappointed.

Ireland might be surprising. Depends on how important the different criteria are.
 

Barney2201

New member
Thanks Sols, really useful info. Any thoughts on Italy? Will head over to Malta in the next couple of weeks to take a look.

Based on the above you can now probably see why we applied for the D7 Portugal visa, it's by no means perfect and I think Portuguese bureaucracy is going to be testing but it does seem like one of the better deals.

What is also becoming increasingly clear and I think is massively overlooked with NHR is how hard it is to set up a structure with real substance to take advantage of the scheme. Sure, Dubai, Cyprus, Malta and maybe even a US LLC might work but substance seems to be the No1 caveat in all this. A few tax experts in Portugal have 'hinted' the Portuguese government have overlooked the substance / CFC rules as they know how valuable NHR is to the country. But how long will that last...
 

JohnnyDoe

Mentor Group Gold
Thanks Sols, really useful info. Any thoughts on Italy? Will head over to Malta in the next couple of weeks to take a look.

Based on the above you can now probably see why we applied for the D7 Portugal visa, it's by no means perfect and I think Portuguese bureaucracy is going to be testing but it does seem like one of the better deals.

What is also becoming increasingly clear and I think is massively overlooked with NHR is how hard it is to set up a structure with real substance to take advantage of the scheme. Sure, Dubai, Cyprus, Malta and maybe even a US LLC might work but substance seems to be the No1 caveat in all this. A few tax experts in Portugal have 'hinted' the Portuguese government have overlooked the substance / CFC rules as they know how valuable NHR is to the country. But how long will that last...
Italy was already discussed at length in another thread. In short, it is a flat tax that covers all foreign sourced earnings. The annual filings consist in a couple of pages, nothing could be more straightforward. If you need an accountant who can handle the process I can recommend one in Rome.
 

Barney2201

New member
Rather than the flat tax deal in Italy what about the 70% tax discount (or 90% if you live in some areas) for the first 5 years and potentially extendable to 10 years? Doable? We are also on UK passports so any deal which comes with some sort of residency is a bonus. Thanks
 

JohnnyDoe

Mentor Group Gold
Rather than the flat tax deal in Italy what about the 70% tax discount (or 90% if you live in some areas) for the first 5 years and potentially extendable to 10 years? Doable? We are also on UK passports so any deal which comes with some sort of residency is a bonus. Thanks
Too complicated and uncertain.
 

dlttrading

New member
If you run an established business I would take Cyprus as it is with Malta the most developed island in mediterean see.
I would say from my experience that Cyprus developed very much in the last few years. More and more expats, new building projects where you can now rent proper apartments for a good price. You can order from restaurants and supermarket online in the cities so it is really comfortable life. A lot of expats have Business or IT background. The local service industrie is also very good and support you much. Cyprus is changing for positive all the time. From my experience it is one of the most interesting and cosmopolitan place with low taxes in EU. Private schools also exist. Locals are very friendly, often highly educated, speak english and are very open for foreigners.
 

KJK

Entrepreneur
Basically all the places mentioned above are in the European Union / Euroregion - Portugal, Monaco, France, Cyprus, Italy, Croatia, Malta, Sark (I know it is not in the EU)...

I do not understand the obsession - or to be more precise I do not understand what requirements and conditions there are to be in the EU.
Only the time zone and weekly travel to London?

If your kids are not tied to a specific school, I would just try out multiple places - narrow it down to 3-5 countries, book nice Airbnbs for 2-4 weeks in each country - can be even 1 week per one city or 1 week per one city district.

Find out what you like about the place and what you miss. Then make a decision. I personally wouldn't be able to make a decision on where to live without actually experiencing the life there, walking through random streets, meeting few locals, going to a supermarket there, seeking how good/bad stuff like public transport or government offices work there.

Portugal can be very very nice, I'd say it can be huge improvement from Sark for you.
You just got your Portuguese visa so it sounds like you already made the decision and just want confirmation from us?
In my opinion you can't make this decision based on a few forum posts. Travel and stay (short to mid-term) in multiple places if your situation allows.
 

Martin Everson

Offshore Retiree
Staff member
Mentor Group Gold
Elite Member
Been silently watching this thread but refrained from commenting until now.

My preference would be with Malta in terms of what has been suggested.

As a wild card ff you got 100k euro to burn in a flat tax non-dom system then both Greece and Italy offer known non-dom programs but language maybe issue. Both countries are tax hell holes and programs can be cancelled at any time so keep that in mind :confused:. Plus the EU clamp down on Golden Visa may hinder one route to Greek program so I would look at Malta again and maybe Northe Malta if you want peace.


 

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