The concept of residency and citizenship has transcended mere geographical boundaries. Countries offer various Citizenship by Investment (CBI) and Residency by Investment (RBI) programmes that allow individuals to acquire residency or citizenship rights in exchange for specific investments in the host country’s economy. Beyond the advantages of mobility and security, these programmes often present a lesser-known but significant advantage: tax benefits.
CBI & RBI Programmes
Citizenship by Investment programmes: CBI programmes grant individuals citizenship in a country in exchange for a substantial investment. These investments may include real estate purchases, donations to government funds, or investments in specific sectors like agriculture, tourism, or technology.
Residency by Investment programmes: RBI programmes offer residency rights to individuals who invest in the host country but don’t grant immediate citizenship. These investments generally involve real estate purchases, government bonds, or other significant financial commitments.
Investment Immigration for Wealth Diversification & Tax Benefits
As noted by an article on Yahoo Finance, investment immigration combines citizenship or residency acquisition with potential financial gains, chiefly through real estate investments, though it doesn’t necessarily fall under the “alternative investments” category. Moreover, these programmes offer access to favourable tax regimes, allowing HNWIs and UHNWIs to strategically manage tax liabilities, structure investments, and safeguard wealth amidst high-tax environments.
High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) and Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) typically allocate about 9.1% of their portfolios to alternative investments, projected to rise to 9.6% by 2024. Reasons driving alternative investment inclusion include portfolio diversification (50%) and pursuit of new growth opportunities (50%). Notably, HNWIs intend to bolster allocations in private equity (50%), private real estate (45%), and direct investments/co-investing (32%), with a substantial majority (94% or more) planning to maintain or expand alternative investment positions, excluding hedge funds.
Tax Benefits Associated with CBI & RBI Programmes
Tax Residence and Global Tax Planning
Acquiring citizenship or residency through CBI or RBI programmes can potentially allow individuals to gain tax residency status in a more favourable tax jurisdiction. Some countries offer advantageous tax systems, including lower income tax rates, exemptions on foreign income, or wealth taxes, leading to reduced tax burdens.
Tax Exemptions and Incentives
Several countries with CBI and RBI programmes provide tax exemptions or incentives to attract investors. These may include exemptions on foreign income, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, or wealth taxes for a specified period.
READ ALSO: Why you can’t miss out on a second passport?
Territorial Tax Systems
Some countries operate under a territorial tax system, where only income earned within the country is taxed. Acquiring residency or citizenship in such countries could potentially shield foreign income from local taxation, depending on the specific tax laws and regulations.
Wealth Preservation and Estate Planning
Certain jurisdictions associated with CBI and RBI programmes offer robust legal structures for wealth preservation and estate planning. These may include trusts, favourable inheritance laws, and confidentiality, aiding in safeguarding assets and reducing tax liabilities for future generations.
Access to Double Taxation Treaties
Many countries with CBI and RBI programmes have extensive networks of double taxation treaties. By becoming a citizen or resident of these countries, individuals can benefit from reduced or eliminated double taxation on income earned in multiple jurisdictions.
Tax Deferral Strategies
Individuals participating in CBI or RBI programmes may employ tax deferral strategies by relocating to jurisdictions that offer deferred taxation on certain types of income, allowing for increased investment growth.
Business Opportunities and Tax Efficiency
For entrepreneurs and business owners, acquiring citizenship or residency through these programmes can open doors to new markets, partnerships, and investment opportunities, potentially enhancing business growth while optimising tax efficiency.
A closer look at the CBI & RBI programmes
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Kitts & Nevis exhibits a unique tax advantage as it imposes 0% personal income tax, coupled with a minimum investment requirement of $250,000. Residents and individuals earning income within this Caribbean nation are exempt from personal income tax. This distinctive tax benefit has positioned St. Kitts & Nevis as a preferred destination for those aiming to minimise tax obligations and uphold financial confidentiality.
Vanuatu too operates under a tax system that excludes personal income tax, alongside a minimum investment requirement of $130,000. Residents and individuals deriving income from Vanuatu are not held liable for personal income taxes. This tax-free setting has enhanced Vanuatu’s allure as a choice destination for those seeking a low-tax or tax-free lifestyle amidst its scenic environment.
Cambodia imposes a 20% personal income tax rate with a minimum investment of $100,000 in property & government fee. Residents in Cambodia are taxed on their global income, while non-residents are solely taxed on their Cambodian-earned income. For residents, salary tax rates range progressively from 0% to 20% based on their monthly income. Conversely, non-residents face a flat tax rate of 20% on income sourced within Cambodia.
Grenada enforces a 28% personal income tax rate and requires a minimum investment of $150,000. Grenada stands as a distinctive financial haven due to its favourable tax policies. Notably, the country is recognized for its tax benefits, such as zero taxes on capital gains, global income, and inheritance.
Saint Lucia implements a 30% personal income tax rate with a minimum investment requirement of $100,000. The country offers several tax benefits for individuals and businesses. It operates under a progressive tax system and doesn’t tax capital gains or inheritance. Additionally, businesses benefit from exemptions on capital gains, foreign income, and inheritance taxes. This makes Saint Lucia an appealing destination for individuals and companies seeking improved financial opportunities.
Turkey enforces a personal income tax rate of 40% with a minimum investment requirement of $400,000. Residents in Turkey are taxed based on their worldwide income, while non-residents are solely taxed on income generated within the country. The taxation system operates on a progressive scale from 15% to 40%, varying according to income type, source, and tax residency status. This tax applies to diverse income streams like employment, business profits, rent, interest, dividends, and capital gains. Tax brackets and rates undergo annual adjustments to align with inflation.
In Malta, the personal income tax stands at 35%, with a minimum investment requirement of $140,000 for residency. Residents in Malta are subject to a progressive tax system offering options for married individuals to apply single tax rates and parents to utilise parent rates. Non-residents also adhere to Malta’s progressive tax system, which spans from 0% to 35%.
CBI and RBI programmes offer not only increased global mobility and security but also significant tax advantages for individuals willing to invest in a host country’s economy. These programmes can serve as powerful tools for tax optimization, wealth preservation, and international tax planning. However, careful consideration of the legal, financial, and personal implications is crucial before embarking on such endeavours. Seeking professional advice and conducting thorough due diligence is paramount to making informed decisions regarding CBI or RBI programmes and maximising the associated tax benefits.
Start your application with us today!
Fill out the form below and one of our top experts will shortly reach out to you.
Premier Consultancy’s team of professional immigration consultants are known for their expert industry advice and for developing an empathetic understanding of client circumstances to deliver results that exceed expectations. Having delivered 500+ passports to extremely satisfied clients, we take pride in our hard-earned reputation as a provider of world-class immigration services.