December 23, 2022

Taxes too high? Working elsewhere is easier than ever

Taxes too high? Working elsewhere is easier than ever

You can live somewhere else with lower taxes & better weather but still work in the UK.

Countries are falling over themselves to attract remote workers by issuing ‘digital nomad’ visas. It won't work for everyone but if you can work from home you don't need that home to be in Britain. 

You can be based in another country or countries, just visiting the UK for up to 3 months a year and possibly pay no tax at all anywhere.

Portugal has just launched its digital nomad (DN) visa. As long as you make at least $2,750 per month you can stay for a year, then apply for residency. You also get visa-free access to the rest of the Schengen area.

Lisbon, Portugal

The Italian DN visa is available for a year to those with an annual gross income of at least €8,500 in the year prior to application. The Latvian DN visa is available for a year too.

Malta’s nomad residence permit provides residency for a year, renewable, to those who can work remotely with a fixed internet connection. You need health insurance and to show a minimum gross monthly income of €2,700.

Or try somewhere further afield. Mauritius’s new DN visa allows you to work there for half a year tax-free. You need health insurance and evidence of being paid $1,500 monthly for 3 months.

Under Namibia’s nomad programme you can stay for 6 months if you can show prior income of $2,000 per month. Malaysia's new DN visa enables you to stay for a year (renewable) if you earn over €24,000. Indonesia is working on a longer-term DN visa in a plan to build up Bali as a global centre for remote working. 

Valletta, Malta.

In the meantime, remote workers will be allowed to stay for six months without paying taxes by using the existing B211A visa.

Beyond these examples many more countries have or are planning to introduce DN visas, and the UK public sector is already taking advantage. The head of HM Treasury used to work from South America and others are doing likewise.

If you don't exceed limits of in-country days for tax you will incur no tax liability. Spend half a year in Mauritius and half a year in Portugal, for example, and pay no tax at all. If you earn £30,000 that means you will save about £5,400 in British income tax. If you come back to the UK from time to time, there will be some flight costs but these need not be too high.

So long as the UK has high taxes the huge expansion of remote working will undermine the tax base of Britain and countries like it which are determined to keep their taxes high and even increase them.