Top Crypto Tax-Free Countries in 2023!
Welcome, Coin Bureau readers, to an article about the ever-exciting world of taxes. Who doesn't love taxes? I know I sure do! Writing about it, reading about it, talking about it, paying it, I just can't get enough!
Who’s with me? Can I get a high-five…? anyone?
Yeah, yeah, I know. You'd probably rather be reading articles about awesome Metaverse projects, crypto projects that are making the world a better place, or how you can earn a nice yield on those hefty moonbags in a fantastic DeFi protocol. But hey, tax is a part of life, and as that old cliché goes…Death and taxes and all that. If you are someone who doesn't want to play by those old rules and wants to keep every Satoshi you earn, then strap in as we are going to dive into the top crypto tax-free countries to help avoid the tax man, (legally, of course).
This article will cover crypto tax-friendly places that people can consider relocating to if they are serious about minimizing their income tax obligations or avoiding capital gain tax. Note that this list is in no particular order. There is no single “best” country for crypto tax as they can all vary quite significantly. There are a lot of different factors at play.
For example, some countries charge little tax on crypto, some charge no tax. Some don't tax crypto capital gains, but they will treat frequent crypto day trading as income tax or business tax. Some countries won't tax staking or yield income but may tax capital gains. Finally, some countries will only tax crypto held for under a year, so choosing “the best” crypto tax-free country really comes down to what is most important for the crypto holder.
Also, don't forget that factors such as quality of life and amenities are important, so be sure to check out the factors to consider section near the end before you up and yolo into moving to another country.
Disclaimer here that nothing in this article is tax, financial, or life advice by any means. I am only providing a very high-level overview of my experience and findings. I am just some dude who writes articles on the internet; what do I know about taxes? Nada. While I am happy to give you a good head start on your research, be sure to perform deeper DYOR on any considerations as these laws and regulations may be outdated and have changed by the time you read this article. There is also a chance that I could have some inaccurate info here as my sources may be outdated or misinterpreted. Please consult an international tax professional for specific tax info.
Okay, on with it! In no particular order, here are the top crypto tax-friendly jurisdictions.
15 Best Crypto Tax-Free Countries
Though I mentioned this article is in no particular order, come on, we gotta kick this list off by talking about El Salvador, as they are a real global pioneer when it comes to crypto adoption and real-world applications at scale.
El Salvador became the first country to legalize Bitcoin and recognize it as a currency. This was a seriously bold move as it came with penalties from the IMF in the form of threats that they would not be able to get a loan from the institution, and Moody's downgraded El Salvador's debt, warning the nation would likely default.
Despite warnings, El Salvador pushed forward and has not only been thriving, but has done so well that they have doubled down on their bullish behaviour. Since adopting Bitcoin, El Salvador has:
Paid off the $800 million debt, plus interest. A huge flex after mainstream media and government agencies warned of a high likelihood of default for months prior in what seemed like an attempt to spread FUD to discourage other nations from following suit.
Has an economy that is growing faster than average Latin American countries, and for the first time in history, achieved double-digit GDP growth (10% in 2021).
Had its residents save over $400 million over one year in remittance commissions that exist in traditional finance.
Experienced growth in tourism of over 30%.
Increased its exports by over 13%
This is the economic equivalent of a mic drop.
Not only can you pay for goods and services in Bitcoin, but from a tax perspective, El Salvador has no capital gains tax on crypto, no income tax for foreign investors, and an easy path to permanent residency for crypto entrepreneurs.
El Salvador has plenty of stunningly beautiful places and is great for fans of beaches. Thanks to the unique volcanic landscape, you can find both powdery soft sand beaches and volcanic-sand beaches, along with the more rugged style landscapes and harsh cliffs to appease nature lovers of all sorts. Because of El Salvador's location, there is no need to state the obvious about the amazing year-round weather and tropical climate.
That climate comes with wet and dry seasons though, and higher-than-average humidity that many people may find uncomfortable though, so that is something to keep in mind. The cost of living in El Salvador is also quite low. The estimated monthly cost for a single person is around 547.8€ (585.7$) without rent, and for a family of four, estimated monthly costs are on average 1,974.9€ (2,111.3$).
If your only goal is to avoid paying crypto capital gains tax or income tax, El Salvador cannot be beaten, though the quality of life here may not be quite what you are looking for. Despite its growth, the nation is still a developing Latin American country, suffering from high levels of poverty in many areas, low levels of education & health care, and an extremely high crime rate. In fact, El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world due to gang violence.
And if the gangs don't get you, El Salvador is also prone to natural disasters due to it being located in a very seismically active region, so if you consider relocating there, you may want to pack a helmet, water wings, life jacket, whistle, compass, map, and maybe some body armour. While things appear to be getting better, be sure to keep your crypto extra safe and hidden if you decide to travel there.
Full disclosure here that I may be a bit biased in placing Portugal so high on the list as I moved here about three years ago and the tax laws are pretty sweet. Though a bit of a bummer disclaimer time, as there are a lot of misconceptions about the crypto tax in Portugal.
Note- as of 2023, crypto is NOT tax-free in Portugal in all cases. Unfortunately, this has recently changed, but the country is still a lot friendlier for crypto than many European nations.
Any crypto asset sold after being held for less than one year will be subject to a capital gains tax of 28%, which still isn't too bad compared to the 50% capital gains tax in many countries, but what is even better is that there are no capital gains taxes on crypto held over one year. This makes Portugal ideal for long-term hodlers. Commercial activity including mining and frequent trading will be considered self-employment and subject to Income Tax and social security.
Portugal is great for international expats thanks to fairly relaxed immigration requirements and is an obvious choice for EU citizens residing in high-tax countries within the European Union. Members of the EU can easily hop over with little to worry about with regard to immigration hurdles, but the process is a bit more cumbersome for those outside the EU.
Portugal offers a very popular freelancer visa that is great for digital nomads, though that may not help you obtain long-term residency unless you are willing to commit to a long time here. Once you have been in the country for 5 years, spending a minimum of 6-months here each calendar year, you can apply for permanent residency.
Another option for most mentions on this list is that you could take a crack at marrying a citizen from the country to obtain residency. And though I mentioned that this article is not tax or financial advice, it is also definitely not marriage or relationship advice!
Portugal is consistently ranked among the safest countries globally with low crime rates and it has fantastic free health care that ranks higher in quality than the health care system in the UK and most of Europe. This means that violent crimes here are unlikely to happen, and should you need to visit a hospital, it will likely be from doing something you probably shouldn't have been and the injury is likely self-inflicted. Luckily, in that case, you can get some of the highest quality healthcare in the world.
Portugal also has something for everyone. Lisbon and Porto provide all the nightlife and metropolitan lifestyle one could want. If you want to party hard and spend those crypto gains you can't go wrong with the party capital Albufeira, which has become a very popular tourist destination, competing with the likes of Ibiza for a party lifestyle. If you travel inland, Portugal has some beautiful landscapes, lush forests, and many medieval villages that are UNESCO world heritage sites.
The weather in Portugal is also fantastic and there are climates to suit everyone. The northern parts and the city of Porto can be quite cool in the summer and cold in the winter for those who are not a fan of the heat. The south enjoys hot summer months and mild winter months. Portugal also owns the beautiful tropical island of Madeira and the stunning Azores islands.
The cost of living in Portugal is also relatively low compared to many places in Europe and is especially low outside the capital city of Lisbon. In the city, a comfortable monthly income of around $US 2,500 would afford you a nice lifestyle while outside the city it can be significantly lower. Seriously, I've been to towns just outside of Lisbon where a glass of wine costs $0.50, beer for $1, and entire meals can be found for around five bucks, quite affordable indeed!
Puerto Rico is a very popular tax-friendly destination for Americans as it is one of the easier places for them to move to escape taxation. The United States is one of the few countries that tax both residents and citizens, which is in contrast to countries like the UK or Canada where you can be a Canadian or UK citizen, but a tax resident of another country and the taxman won't chase you down as you can renounce your home tax residency status while remaining a citizen.
In Puerto Rico, Americans can enjoy paying 0% capital gains tax if they obtain their Puerto Rican residency, with the requirement that they pay 4% of their income to Puerto Rico. This has caused wealthy Americans to flock to the island in droves, which has raised the cost of living substantially and has resulted in affordable housing being incredibly difficult to find. According to Windham Brannon Tax specialists, to qualify for Puerto Rican residency, individuals must satisfy all of the following three conditions:
Physical presence test- Must have a physical presence in Puerto Rico for at least 183 days during a tax year.
Tax home test- Do not have a tax home outside of Puerto Rico during any part of the tax year, or the individual's "regular or principal place of business" is located in Puerto Rico.
Closer connection test- A facts and circumstances test proving the individual has an aggregate closer connection to Puerto Rico than to the U.S., or any other foreign country.
Furthermore, Resident Individuals must apply for and obtain a tax exception decree under the Incentives Act, ensuring these three criteria are met:
- A one-time fee of $5,000 must be paid and deposited into a special fund to promote the relocation of Resident Individuals to Puerto Rico.
- All Resident Individuals that hold a tax exemption decree must comply with an annual contribution of $10,000 to an organized and registered nonprofit organization in Puerto Rico; and
- A Resident Individual must purchase residential property in Puerto Rico within the first two years after obtaining the decree.
As of 2023, Puerto Rican residents pay much lower Territorial Income Tax compared to the US Federal income tax rates, and any digital assets acquired at the time of being a Puerto Rican resident are exempt from capital gains tax. If you bought crypto before moving there, you'd still need to adhere to the IRS crypto tax laws for those assets.
Unless you are a serious crypto whale with bank accounts bursting at the seams, you might find it difficult to be able to find affordable housing in the country. Aside from housing, the cost of living is quite affordable with a single-person income of around $US 1,800 being enough to live comfortably.
For any Americans looking to relocate, I would highly recommend speaking to a tax and immigration professional though as there are plenty of rumblings about the US government looking to slow down the exodus of US citizens who are using Puerto Rico as a tax shelter.
The capital city of San Juan is home to around half a million people and the island nation is known for some of the most beautiful beaches and nature in the world. There is something here for everyone as long as you are happy with average internet speeds.
The crime rates in Puerto Rico are also quite low, much lower than the crime rates in many major US cities, making it an even more attractive place to relocate.
United Arab Emirates- Dubai
Dubai is one of the most popular mentions on the list as being a resident of the United Arab Emirates is about the closest anyone can become to being able to live tax-free without breaking laws. Residents are not obligated to pay capital gains taxes on crypto, property, or even worry about income tax.
The city of Dubai is a paradise for people looking for an insanely high quality of life and a metropolitan lifestyle. There is no shortage of high-end restaurants, ethnic foods, Lambos for sale, or nightlife activities. It may just be the “party-est” city on the planet. It certainly is the home of luxury sports cars, apartments, and yachts.
Ranking among some of the top safest cities in the world, crypto millionaires can feel pretty safe here as they drop their gains on expensive bottles of Dom Perignon and enjoy a lush lifestyle.
You would think that a land full of millionaires and luxury everything would come with an insanely high cost of living, but Dubai is actually quite affordable with an estimated monthly living cost for a single person coming in at around $US 2,700 per month.
This cost will of course scale up significantly depending on how “bling-bling” you want to live, with some sources saying you can live decently for $1,360 per month, while some who like a little more comfort cite budgeting about $5,800 a month.
The most affordable way to get your visa there is by setting up a company and employing yourself as a crypto trader. I know a few YouTubers and crypto traders who have done just that in order to avoid the capital gains tax, income tax, and general annoyance of dealing with the tax department. Internet speeds in Dubai are among the best in the world, and the weather is fantastic, albeit a bit dry and too hot for some. It is in the desert, after all. The summer temperatures can rise to above 40 degrees Celsius, so you will want air conditioning.
Ah, Switzerland's classic tax-friendly and financial powerhouse framework with the iconic “Swiss bank account” often mentioned by villains in Bond movies. For decades, Switzerland has been a global tax haven, and crypto was not excluded. Crypto traded or held as an investment is not subject to capital gains tax.
Though getting Swiss Permanent Residency is not easy. To get residency, you need to meet the following criteria:
- Under 55 years of age for most visas
- Been living in the country for a minimum of 5-10 years
- Have no criminal record
- Pass a stringent interview and be cleared of not being a threat to national security
- Invest a minimum of CHF 1,000,000
- Be able to speak and write the national language
- Prove a level of integration into Swiss society
- the ability to support yourself without recourse to social welfare
Honestly, the immigration criteria for Switzerland is pretty complex and I can't even scratch the surface here. You can learn about the 13 different types of residency permits on the Ch.Ch website and the 20+ different types of visas available on this comprehensive Swiss Immigration blog by Expatica.com
Switzerland has been nicknamed by many "Crypto Valley," due to their forward-thinking crypto stance. There are over 1,000 crypto and blockchain companies operating in the country, and in 2022, the Blockchain Law was introduced, officially regulating digital currencies and blockchain tech. There is also the city of Zug, which may be the most crypto-friendly city in Europe where you can spend Bitcoin freely in many businesses, find crypto jobs galore, and is home to the world's first regulated 100% crypto bank. Zug is like the Silicone Valley of the Alps.
The weather there is perfect for anyone who enjoys the winter months and activities like skiing as Switzerland is known for some of the best ski hills in the world. So pack a parka and get the hot chocolate brewing if you plan on relocating there.
While Switzerland basically has the highest quality of just about everything, the cost of living is also one of the highest in the world. After you invest your 1 million CHF to get residency, you will need enough left over to cover monthly living expenses of around $3,500 for a single person on the bottom end, and nearly 7k per month for a family of four, and that is considered living cheaply. In fact, Numbeo shows the cost of living in Switzerland is 148% more expensive than Portugal, ouch! I think I will stick to my €0.60 cups of coffee, and €5 lunches with a beach view. Switzerland is ranked as the third most expensive country globally for living costs, with many Swiss cities being in the top ten for most expensive in the world.
Switzerland is certainly not the ideal place for those who enjoy a cheap and cheerful lifestyle.
Singapore is a popular choice as it is a fascinating and modern city. Seriously, if you haven't been there, it is pretty mind-blowing how advanced the place is. Known for its iconic city centre gardens that feature a light-up music display and a hotel that looks like a cruise ship in the sky, Singapore is a very clean, safe, and fantastic place to live.
When I visited the city, it almost seemed too perfect even; I felt like I was living in the Truman Show. I did not see a single person living on the street or even a single piece of litter floating around.
Singapore residents enjoy zero capital gains tax and no GST/VAT on crypto. Crypto day traders are free to trade here as long as it is not being conducted as part of a business activity.
This is possible because cryptocurrencies are viewed as intangible property from a tax perspective, this means that when you spend crypto on goods and services, it is viewed as a barter trade, not a payment. If you are acting as a business and you accept crypto, then there will be income tax on it.
Additionally, if crypto trading is done as a business, it will be treated as business income tax as well. While this all sounds pretty good, there is a catch, and that is that Singaporean residency is difficult to obtain. The quickest way to get residency there is by participating in the Global Investor Programme. This program allows investors and entrepreneurs to obtain residency in two ways:
- Invest at least 2.5 million SGD in a new business or start-up expansion of an existing business or,
- Invest at least 2.5 million SGD in a GIP-approved fund that invests in Singapore-based companies.
The eligibility requirements to qualify for the Global Investor Program are quite complex, you can find the full rundown of the criteria on One-Visa.com.
For those hoping to get Singaporean residency without the upfront investment, the Singapore Government website lists the alternative eligible criteria:
- If you are a spouse of a Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident (PR)
- An unmarried child aged below 21 years old, born within the context of a legal marriage to, or have been legally adopted by, a Singapore citizen or PR
- An aged parent of a Singapore citizen
- A holder of an Employment Pass or S Pass
- A student studying in Singapore
To summarize the tax framework in Singapore:
- No GST/VAT on crypto
- No capital gains tax
- There is business income tax
Singapore consistently ranks as one of the safest places to live globally and has a high quality of living. As you would expect, internet speeds are lightning fast, and there are fantastic restaurants and the best of pretty much whatever it is you are looking for.
The cost of living in Singapore is very high compared to other mentions on the list, coming in at a whopping 5k+ USD per month needed for a single person, and that is excluding rent. While the cost of things like meals isn't too bank-breaking, this is definitely not the place for a quaint getaway or a boozy holiday as alcohol purchases are also very pricey here…Not that I would know anything about that.
The weather in Singapore remains quite warm year-round but is pretty humid, so you will want to live in an air-conditioned space for sure.
Let's turn back to the beautiful beaches of the world. Bermuda has no personal income tax and there is no capital gains tax for selling crypto. The use of crypto as a form of payment is also deemed perfectly legal here, making Bermuda the first country whose government was happy to accept tax payments in any recognized cryptocurrency! Very cool and forward-thinking of them.
As Bermuda is utilized as a global tax haven for much of the world and created its crypto regulatory framework all the way back in 2018, taxation is quite complex in this jurisdiction, I recommend checking out this article from Freeman Law to get into the finer details of crypto taxation in Bermuda.
Bermuda is one of the easier countries to get a one-year visa in as well, so if you are good at timing crypto markets, you may want to try and make sure the crypto top will be coming in over the next 12 months before you make the move.
It is possible to gain longer-term residency in Bermuda, though it is trickier. You can gain residency there by participating in the Bermuda Residency by Investment Program. To get this, folks are going to need to meet these requirements:
- Make an investment of $US 2.5 million dollars.
- Investments can be made in real estate, government bonds, government funds, charitable donations, investing in existing businesses or starting a new company.
Bermuda rates highly in terms of safety, has good internet speeds, and the perfect weather. As long as you aren't afraid of disappearing in the Bermuda triangle, this is an absolutely beautiful place to settle down and experience a fantastic quality of life with world-class beaches.
That is as long as you're happy with a slow and relaxing pace as the island is only home to around 65,000 people with an older population and little to do in terms of nightlife.
Belarus is another option in Europe and has welcomed crypto holders with open arms since 2018. The government legalized crypto activities and chose to impose no tax for crypto-related activities, including crypto mining and day trading, nor is there corporate tax on crypto. Note that this legislation was set up to be in effect until 2023, and it is unknown how this may change this year going forward, but as it stands now, there is:
- No income tax on crypto
- No capital gains tax on crypto
- No corporate tax on crypto
Though the tax laws are unlikely to become Draconian as Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has taken crypto legislation a step further in signing a decree for “digital economy development,” turning Belarus into one of the most forward-thinking hubs for blockchain development. This law was passed to provide a powerful boost to the digital economy and support digital innovation around blockchain technology.
Belarus is home to some incredible World Heritage sites, and the capital city of Minsk has plenty of attractions to appease the residents. Unfortunately, I cannot give any personal insight as I have never been there, nor do I think I've ever met someone from Belarus, but according to this relocating to Belarus site, the nation has a rich cultural history and remains “culturally isolated.” Not sure if being culturally isolated is a positive thing or not, you may want to look into it a bit further before relocating.
The climate there is nothing exciting, pretty standard warm summers and colder-than-average winters. The Eastern European climate generally experiences plenty of rainfall and snow in the winter, and internet speeds here are simply stated as "average." Note that Belarus has close ties to Russia and has been impacted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, so be sure to do your own research and check for travel advisory notices before packing your bags and heading over.
The government of Slovenia also views crypto taxation favourably as they have passed tax legislation that allows for special tax laws for crypto investors. Cryptocurrencies are considered movable property as per article 32 of the Personal Income Tax Act called ZDoh-2.
There is no capital gains tax imposed on the selling of crypto for individuals, but crypto mining and commercial activity using crypto will be taxed as business income tax at 25%. Slovenia is a major Central European hub of activity with diverse geography, climate and culture. The country has a small population of around 2 million people. The climate varies greatly depending on the region, mainly experiencing cool winters and warm summers.
Slovenia enjoys good internet speeds and a high standard of living, ranking quite high on the world safety index. There are quite a few options for anyone looking to relocate to this picturesque country. Some of those options are:
- Business Immigration Program
- Gaining employment via an employment contract
- Family reunification
- Through education in a public or private educational institution
More information on relocating to Slovenia can be found in this How to Relocate to Slovenia Guide.
German residents can take advantage of zero percent capital gains tax for anyone who sells crypto that was held for longer than 365 days, similar to Portugal. Crypto is viewed as "private money," and not a capital asset. This makes Germany a fantastic place for long-term holders who can enjoy no capital gains tax with a side of beer and sausage wurst.
Even assets sold in under a year are tax-free as long as the profit is under €600. Just a heads up though that Germany isn't all dancing in lederhosen while stacking sats, there is still tax subject for individuals who:
- Get paid in crypto
- Mine Crypto
- Stake Crypto- This becomes tax-free if held over 10 years, talk about being a king or queen of holding!
Germany goes from being tax-friendly to a tax nightmare real quick for crypto assets held under a year and over €600, as you are looking at paying the same rates as regular income tax, up to 45% plus 5.5% solidarity tax. This tax is triggered if you sell crypto for fiat, or even trade crypto for crypto.
Not-So-Fun-Fact- In Germany, if you lose your private keys or your crypto is stolen, you may be able to claim a capital loss.
DeFi tax is even well laid out with German efficiency:
Trading LP tokens are taxed as income tax if held under 1 year, tax-free if held over 1 year
New tokens earned will be taxed as income tax for any amount over the €256 additional income threshold.
NFTs and mining are taxed largely the same as cryptocurrencies with the 1-year rule. For mining, new coins are taxed as income tax if sold before holding for 1 year.
As with other EU countries, European Union members enjoy free travel between nations so getting German residency is a breeze. If you live outside of the EU, the process is a bit tricker. To relocate to Germany, there needs to be a reason. According to the German visa website, those reasons can be:
- Immigration for employment,
- Immigration for education,
- Immigration for entrepreneurs,
- Immigration for family reunions,
- Immigration residence permits.
There are many ways to obtain these, but before being accepted in the country, individuals need to prove that they are financially stable, have health insurance and have basic German language proficiency. Visas are available for those who want to start a business in Germany, study, work, perform scientific research, perform an internship, and for family reunification.
I would definitely recommend looking at the visa immigration site above as it lays out what is required for each of these avenues. There are standards like funds needed for business activities and employment contracts that must be met before a visa can be approved.
Germany has one of the highest standards of living globally and is consistently ranked highly in terms of safety and quality of life. It unfailingly ranks among the top countries for nearly every metric and would be a fantastic place to call home. According to the Human Development Index, Here is how Germany has ranked historically:
The weather varies significantly in Germany from the north to the south of the country. As it is located in Central Europe, one can expect cold, snowy winters in the north, rainy winters and warm summers in the south. Germany is a very modern nation, among the most advanced globally, so no worries about slow internet speed here.
Costa Rica has become a popular global tax haven and is enjoyed as one of the most beautiful places on the planet in terms of natural beauty. Waterfalls, jungles, exhilarating beaches, no capital gains tax, what's not to love? Costa Rican residents are subject to zero capital gains tax in the nation unless income is derived from habitual transactions such as property. Capital gains derived from regular transactions are taxed at a flat rate of 30%.
According to Costa Rican law, cryptocurrencies are not classified as legal tender, a monetary currency, or a foreign currency, they have been labelled as a "quasi-currency" or a "means of payment." It appears the government is simply choosing to take a more hands-off approach with its digital asset classifications.
Though the government has considered that cryptocurrencies are "outside of the national banking system," that did not stop many merchants and businesses in the area from happily accepting crypto as a form of payment, and Bitcoin ATMs can be found around the country.
A notable update from last year is that Costa Rica ranked quite safe, enjoying the same low crime rates as Italy, ranking safer than the UK or Spain. Unfortunately, this has changed in the past year due to increased criminal activity. Costa Rica has seen its alert levels increase and travel advisories encourage caution when travelling to this country.
Being located in Central America, its neighbouring countries are often making news headlines for pretty heinous criminal activity as well, so I would have my guard up and research local safety before putting roots down.
If you aren't deterred by the uptick in crime, the capital of Costa Rica is San Jose, which is home to over a million people, so city slickers can get their fill of a pretty decent-sized metropolis. Costa Rica really does have a lot going for it in terms of tropical nature, modern living, nightlife and activities, which is why it has become one of the main areas in Central America for both tourism and migration.
Costa Rico is also very affordable. A single person can live quite comfortably off about $US 1,500 per month, making it perfect for digital nomads and crypto traders. Oh, and it also has quite good internet speeds.
If a beautiful tropical paradise takes your fancy, few places on the planet are more stunning than Vanuatu. Vanuatu is one of the islands that make up an archipelago of 83 islands off the coast of Australia, just above New Zealand.
Vanuatu has become a popular destination for investors as there is zero capital gains tax on profits, dividends, or income tax for traditional and crypto investments for individuals or corporations. Investors can sit easy, chilling in their hammocks while sipping piña coladas knowing they don't need to stress about taxes here.
Fun Fact- Vanuatu is so crypto-friendly that you can actually pay in Bitcoin for your citizenship! Talk about forward-thinking.
The two main ways to get residency in Vanuatu are:
- Banking- This option requires that a Vanuatu bank needs to certify your ability to deposit 250,000 Vanuatu Vatu (US$ 2,023) per month into an account to ensure you have an income. Self-funded retirees need to show they have an income of at least 150,000 Vatu per month.
- Investment- An investor can obtain residency by investing $10 million Vatu (approximately US$ 80k) in some form of real estate or agricultural project.
The Vanuatu passport is valid for five years, in which citizens will be able to renew it. Vanuatu may not be for everyone, though. If you are happy kicking around coconuts all day on a remote tropical island, then sure, go for it. The population of the largest city on the island is home to only fifty-thousand people, so if you are excited by city life and the hustle and bustle, you may want to consider skipping this one.
The cost of living in Vanuatu is quite high compared to mainland European cities and comes without the amenities or convenience of location. Vanuatu is quite remote and comes in at being 5% more expensive than the Belgium capital Brussels for monthly living costs. The standard of living is quite high in Vanuatu and residents enjoy low crime rates, which makes sense as it is difficult to get away with being a dirtbag on an island so small that everyone knows each other.
People who want to settle in Vanuatu should be content with a pretty simple life. Unfortunately, there are few paved roads, so probably not the best place to buy Lambos and internet speeds are often criticized for being slow.
If exotic locations and experiencing different cultures is your thing, then look no further than Malaysia. Malaysia has a couple of options for those wanting a second home in Malaysia, with one of their options even so appropriately being named the "Malaysia as my Second Home" programme. This programme is primarily aimed at retirees and working expats who would like to put down roots in the country. MM2H is a housing scheme that allows qualified individuals to stay in Malaysia on a multiple-entry social visit pass for a period of up to 10 years.
Some of the benefits of this program are:
- The ability to come and go as they please, so long as they are present in the country a minimum of 90 days per year
- Can bring dependents and family members
- Can purchase a residential home or property
- Enjoy no taxation on pensions or offshore income
- Those over 50 have the option to work part-time
- Can own and run a business
You can even bring pets and apply for maid services in some circumstances. Unfortunately, the requirements for the MM2H are not the easiest to fulfil. According to this MM2H Guide from the Paul Hype Page, these are the current requirements as of 2023:
Those under 50 years old must have:
- Minimum liquid assets of RM 1,500,000 (approx. $338,409)
- Minimum offshore monthly income of RM 40,000 (approx. $9,000)
- A fixed deposit account in Malaysia which contains at least RM 1,000,000 (approx. $225,606)
Those over 50 years old must have:
- Minimum liquid assets of RM 1,500,000 (approx: $338,409)
- Minimum offshore monthly income of RM 40,000 (approx. $9,000)
- A Fixed deposit account with a Malaysian bank account which contains at least RM 1,000,000 (approx. $225,606)
- For retirees, the requirement to show proof of pension from the government of at least RM 10,000 (approx. $2,256) per month
Then there is the one-off personal bond payment that costs approx RM 2,000, ($450) and a social pass that requires an annual payment of RM 90 ($20).
Malaysia is relatively safe regarding low violent crime rates, though pickpocketing can be common, so watch out for that. Credit card fraud is also a problem there, so make sure you have one of those RFID protection wallets to help minimize risks.
One risk that shouldn't be taken lightly is animal and insect bites. As funny as it sounds, monkey bites are no laughing matter, and they happen more frequently than you would think. Plus, Malaysia is home to some pretty dangerous insects and animals.
The cost of living in Malaysia is very low. People who move there can live a pretty lavish lifestyle for under $US 2k per month, especially on some of the cheaper islands.
The capital city Kuala Lumpur is a pretty cool place, a real modern metropolis for those who like city life. A lot is happening there in terms of nightlife, and the city felt very advanced and clean with plenty of cultural experiences to enjoy.
If the Malaysia as my Second Home Scheme is out of your reach, there are a couple of other options to consider.
As per Law Office Malaysia, Anyone who wants to move to Malaysia and obtain permanent residency will need to qualify for one of the following:
- high net worth individuals- open a bank account in Malaysia and deposit at least 2 million USD without withdrawing for five years; the spouse and children of the applicant may also apply for permanent resident status after a period of five years;
- highly skilled or talented individuals- available for a number of industries, applicants must provide a certificate of good conduct and make the application with the Immigration Department;
- professionals- similar to the previous category, these are individuals who have outstanding skills and have a recommendation from a relevant Malaysian authority;
- the spouse of a Malaysia citizen- individuals married to a Malaysia citizen may apply for permanent residency if they are married for at least five years and they have also lived in the country during this time;
- based on the points system: a minimum number of points obtained during their stay in the country allows foreigners to apply for permanent residency status.
Then there is also a popular digital nomad visa which can get you in the country for 12 months and doesn't require income tax payments on any income earned outside of the country, so if you are good at timing the markets and not subject to taxation in your home country, this could be a viable option to cut the tax bill down.
The internet speed in the capital is highly rated, but outside of the city it varies dramatically depending on the location. The nation states “average” internet speeds, but from my experience in some of the more remote locations, I would say the internet was non-existent.
Weather is something that should be taken into consideration. As it is a tropical climate, humidity is incredibly high year-round and Malaysia experiences not one but two monsoon seasons per year.
Malta is a fantastic European alternative to Portugal for those looking for a friendlier place to enjoy lax tax laws. Malta was the first crypto-friendly tax country to launch a holistic regulatory framework for blockchain technology, earning the title of “Blockchain Island.” Malta is suitable for crypto hodlers, but active day traders will likely want to avoid this one. Here are the highlights for Malta crypto tax:
- No long-term capital gains tax
- Business income tax on crypto trading is between 0-35%
Residents here do not pay capital gains tax on long-term holdings or when crypto is purchased or sold. Crypto day trading will be taxed here, similar to stock market day trading, which is 35%, but this can be reduced to 0-5% depending on how much you earn and your residency status. Getting residency here is fairly straightforward for EU citizens as they simply need to prove they are:
- Financially Stable
Non-European citizens will be allowed to obtain residency at the “discretion of the authorities” and factor in considerations such as:
- Living in Malta for at least 6 months
- Financially Stable
I would presume that as it is at the discretion of authorities, this option likely isn't typical for non-European citizens, but it may be worth a look. Malta residency has no minimum value property requirement and it is renewable every 5 years. The cost of living in Valletta is a bit higher than most European cities, coming in as the 36th most expensive European city. The average cost of living for a single person comes in at around 2,500 Euros per month.
Malta has a slow pace of life and is not known much for vibrant nightlife, making it more appropriate for those looking to relax while enjoying a lovely culture and beautiful architecture. In addition, the internet speeds are very fast on the island, which is always an important consideration.
Malta enjoys nice weather year-round, never getting too hot or cold, and no monsoon seasons here.
It should be no surprise to anyone that the Cayman Islands is on this list. These islands have been long known as tax havens for businesses and wealthy individuals. The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority does not charge corporate tax on businesses or income tax or capital gains tax to its residents. There is also no property tax, so moving here could essentially reduce your tax burden to zero.
The Cayman Islands can be summed up in one word, "stunning," when it comes to beauty, scenery, weather, and pretty much everything natural in this string of islands. Though I would be remiss if I didn't also highlight the downside, and that is that living in the Cayman Islands is incredibly expensive, and may the force be with you if you are attempting to get residency here as it is a lengthy and costly process.
Import duties alone range from 22-26% and when doing my research for this article, it is clear that those lucky enough to reside there have a different concept of reality than many of us. One law firm stated that “Fortunately, you can get Cayman Island Residency for a fairly low fee of a million dollars.”
Blimey! If that is a "low fee," I'd hate to know what they consider expensive. That cool $1 mill is also only for a temporary residence permit for 1 year. If you are interested in living in the Cayman Islands long term, here are the most common methods:
Apply as a person with independent means- This 25-year permit allows you to bring your family, but you are not allowed to work on the island. You need to prove an annual income of $150k coming from outside the Islands, have a bank account with at least $500k in it, and invest at least $1.2 million into the country if you want to live in Grand Cayman. These figures are slightly less if you are happy to live on one of the smaller islands. If this permit is approved, you need to pay a $25k fee to issue the permit, and $1,220 per year to keep it active.
Certificate of direct investment- Anyone willing to make an investment of $1,200,000 into a business that creates local jobs and takes an active role in the business can get a permit. This will get you residency for 25 years and requires presence in the country for at least 90 days per year. After you make the investment, you will also need to pay the same 25k for the permit and $1,220 per year to keep it active per dependent.
There are also methods of gaining residency by establishing a substantial business presence on the island, but I think by now you have an idea as to whether or not the Caymans are a suitable route. You have to be a pretty serious crypto millionaire to make this option work.
It was difficult to not include the Central African Republic in this list. After El Salvador opened the door to adopting Bitcoin as legal tender, the Central African Republic tore a page out of the same book and officially recognized BTC as legal tender in 2022.
CAR lawmakers unanimously approved the bill to legalize the use of crypto in the country and made Bitcoin along with the CFA Franc legal tender. This marked the second country in the world to make this leap. The framework allows citizens to pay their taxes in crypto and use it as a form of payment for businesses.
This move didn't go quite as smoothly as it did for El Salvador, partly due to the fact that less than 15% of residents in the country have access to the internet, and many businesses do not have the means to be able to accept crypto as a form of payment. While CAR is crypto-friendly on paper, for now, the realities are quite different, which is why it was excluded from this list. Nevertheless, this was still a great step in the right direction, I believe.
It was also difficult not to include Nigeria, as they have a very well-classified tax structure for crypto assets and a good understanding of how to classify them. I was very impressed with how forward-thinking this nation is in its approach to tax, and feel that countries like America, Belgium, and Japan could learn from them as they cannot seem to regulate their way out of a paper bag.
You can learn about their common-sense approach to crypto taxation in this Coin Text article. Sadly, though Nigeria is quite tax-friendly, I could not include them in this list due to the inherent dangers and low quality of life score highlighted in this article by the Borgen Project. Nigeria is not the most suitable place for those looking to relocate.
Though on a positive note, I do truly believe Bitcoin is helping to make the entire continent a better place, and there is progress happening in the right direction. This extraordinary 10-minute video by Hard Money shows the impact BTC is having there and rendered me speechless, giving us all hope and encouragement for the future of Africa.
Factors to Consider Before Making the Move
Deciding to move to a new country should not be all about capital gains and income tax avoidance. Quality of life, cultural experiences, safety, and climate should seriously be considered before making a move, and a lot of research should be done beforehand. Even considerations such as food likes and dislikes or dietary restrictions like vegetarianism are important factors to consider as not being able to enjoy the available food can really lower your enjoyment of a place.
An example of this is that it is quite common in Malaysia to eat scorpions and insects. Seriously. I tried to get on board with that, but nooooope, two crickets, a couple of ants and a beetle later, I was done with that experiment. I am also not a fan of fish and once stayed on a tiny island where that was literally all they ate, so food is a valid reason to cross places off a list.
Professional advice should be sought before deciding to move countries as it can have a significant impact on asset holdings and tax implications. Many countries require you to renounce your tax residency status from your home country before becoming a tax resident of another country which can have other significant impacts.
For example, If you want to move from country B and obtain tax residency in country C, country B may have a requirement that you sell all of your assets and close bank accounts to move, and the assets sold in country B may be subject to capital gains taxation. This means that you may need to sell a home, a car, and all of your investments in your home country B, which could all be subject to hefty capital gains tax. Therefore, it may not make sense to pay 50k in capital gains tax on a house, a car, and other investments to save 5k worth of crypto tax by moving to another country.
In wrapping up, there are many amazing places to choose from if you are considering uprooting your life and venturing off into a brave new world. I cannot stress the importance of doing your own in-depth research and making sure it is the right choice for you. If you decide you are happy where you are and don't mind paying your share of tax, be sure to check out our top crypto tax tools article to find some resources that can make tax season as painless as possible.
🌎 Serious about relocating? Book a call with our friends from Offshore Citizen to plan and execute your move legally. They help with residency permits, bank accounts, company structures, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is most common for many countries to tax the sale of cryptocurrencies as capital gains tax. The crypto framework varies substantially by country and activity. While the sale of crypto may trigger a taxable gain or loss, other activities such as trading, staking, and mining can be taxed as business income, personal income, or interest income.
In most cases, Americans must pay taxes even if they reside outside their home country. Form 1040 applies to all Americans who earn over a certain amount. Anyone may face a capital gains tax penalty in the US if the time spent in the states during a tax season exceeds 183 days.
For Americans who do not want to move abroad, there are some alternative states which have tax policies that are more efficient for crypto. These are primarily the states that do not have state-owned income taxes like California, Wyoming, Florida, Texas, and Colorado.
The best countries for "no-strings attacked" tax-free crypto are the UAE, Belarus, and El Salvador. These jurisdictions have the lowest crypto tax at 0% and don't require mass upfront investment or legal hoops to jump through to benefit from.
Yes, there is no capital gains tax in Dubai, nor taxes on income, property, or crypto in Dubai.
No, although there has been no classification or framework for crypto assets in Mexico, and the government has not created clear legislation, crypto should not be considered tax-free. Individuals and businesses are required to pay income tax in Mexico, regardless of where the wealth came from.
The selling of crypto assets in Mexico is a taxable event, either as a capital gains tax or capital loss. You can learn more in this Crypto Tax in Mexico Guide.
No, Switzerland does not have a blanket tax-free approach to crypto. For private investors, crypto is taxed under the Wealth Tax System.
Crypto is classified as a private wealth asset, like stocks and bonds. There is no capital gains tax unless you are a self-employed trader or business.
You will pay no capital gains tax on profits from crypto:
- That has been held for at least six months
- had a trading turnover of less than 5x your holdings at the beginning of the financial year
- Your net capital gain is less than 50% of your total income
- You have no debt financing
- You use derivatives solely for hedging
- You can learn more about how crypto is taxed in this Guide to Crypto Tax in Switzerland.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.