Nomad Tax Tips: Accounting for Location Independent Workers
A question I frequently get asked as a Digital Nomad Advisor is, “Can a digital nomad avoid paying any taxes?”
There’s a common perception among globe-trotting entrepreneurs, digital nomads and remote workers, that by leaving their home country and continually shifting locations, they can cleverly dodge tax obligations. But unfortunately, the reality isn’t as straightforward!
The concept of a tax-free digital nomad life has become murkier in our digitised era, where tax administration and interbank information sharing are prevalent.
Living without tax residency and not paying any taxes anywhere is increasingly challenging.
Your tax status hinges on a few key factors:
- Your home country’s tax policy
- Your newly adopted country’s tax policy
- Common Reporting Standard (CRS)
Your home country’s tax policy
Your home country’s tax policy refers to the country where you spent most of your life or where you were last registered for tax. Each country’s tax obligations vary.
For instance, American digital nomads remain liable for taxes regardless of their residence. Although the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion may apply, they might still need to file U.S. tax returns.
In contrast, an Australian leaving the country with no intention to return will need to prove a permanent residence established outside Australia to qualify as a non-tax resident.
While Nordic countries often levy an exit tax, maintaining your tax residency for up to three years after relocation.
Other countries apply the 183-day rule, under which staying in the country for less than 183 days eliminates your tax-resident status.
These differences underline the complexity of international tax obligations and the absence of a one-size-fits-all rule.
Your new home country’s tax policy
The tax policy of your new home dictates your tax-resident status. Each country has its own unique rules.
In Malaysia, you gain tax residency if you stay longer than 182 days in a tax year.
The Netherlands considers you a tax resident from the day you arrive with the intent to live and work there.
Cyprus can grant you tax residency based on just 60 days spent during the tax year.
While these countries have additional rules and conditions, the duration of your stay is a vital determinant of your tax residency.
Common Reporting Standard (CRS)
The CRS is a global standard that facilitates multiple countries’ tax authorities’ access to their citizens’ financial information.
Under the CRS, financial institutions are obligated to identify their account holders’ tax residency and share this information with tax authorities.
Non-compliant account holders risk having their accounts shut down.
More than 100 jurisdictions have implemented CRS, leaving minimal options for non-disclosure of your tax residency.
Navigating the Tax Waters
Given this intricate tax landscape, maintaining a legal and transparent tax strategy is paramount.
As a perpetual traveller or “resident of nowhere,” tax compliance is increasingly challenging.
It’s advisable to secure tax residency, even if you have a truly nomadic lifestyle.
In the long haul, securing tax residency in a country with minimal or no taxes, or in a territorial tax nation, is a worthwhile investment.
It offers the peace of mind you need while having the freedom to pursue your life as a global citizen.
Fortunately today, a vast range of options exist for securing tax residency. Should you wish to explore these opportunities, I highly recommend reading this blog post next ⁀➷ 💸
Best Digital Nomad Residency Options: Securing temporary or permanent residency in a foreign country provides so many benefits for digital nomads, including the freedom to travel, explore new cultures, and potentially lower your taxes. As a resident of another country, you have the ability to access healthcare, establish businesses, and buy property, even when borders…
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Disclaimer: While I strive to provide accurate and helpful information on a wide range of topics, it is essential to note that I am not a tax specialist. I do not hold myself out to be a tax advisor. My knowledge is based on my experience, general principles and concepts, and the information provided should not be considered as specific tax advice tailored to your unique circumstances. For personalised guidance on tax-related matters, it is always best to consult with a certified tax expert or professional who can assess your individual situation and offer the most relevant and up-to-date recommendations. Remember, proper tax planning and adherence to tax laws are crucial for financial stability and compliance, so seeking expert advice is a wise decision.