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Best place to set up a company selling digital services?


by @pras_k | 2yr  | 10 comments

What’s the best place?
For residency I’m looking at Portugal and they have the NHR (non habitual resident) program which would exempt dividends from foreign income.
So all I’m really looking for is the best place to actually start the company.
Biggest factors are of course low taxes and ease of setting up the company plus a business bank account that enables me to receive payments through Stripe.

What I found so far:
Hong Kong
Corporate tax rate of 16.5% (8.25% for the first HK$2 million)
⊕/⊖ offshore income from outside HK is exempt from taxation but it’s not clear whether this can be done in the first year and prorated or if it’s only through filing the offshore exemption claim. This might take two years and requires not income from HK at all. More info on that would be great
⊖ seems very difficult to get a business bank account
⊖ necessary services and fees are roughly around €2000 / year
⊖ accounting requirements seem to be very strict
⊕ Doesn’t require local partner
⊕ Agencies available that seem to handle most of the work

Singapore
Corporate tax rate of 17% (0% on the first S$100k, 8.5% up to S$300k)
⊖ requires a local director. What are the implications of this?

Malta
Corporate tax rate of 35%
There is the “full imputation system” but I don’t really understand it.
"In most cases, the tax refund to the shareholder is 6/7 of the tax paid by the company on profits distributed as dividends. The tax refund rate may be different in the following cases: " This would result in an effective corporate tax of around 5%.
⊖ European customers would have to pay VAT and I’d have to deal with that

Cyprus
Corporate tax rate of 12.5% and there seem to be ways to lower this
⊖ European customers would have to pay VAT and I’d have to deal with that
⊖ requires staying in Cyprus for 2 months / year

I find it surprising how much research this requires and how much “it depends” information is out there when I’d assume that there are probably thousands of digital nomads who probably have very similar requirements.

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@roadwarrior | 1yr

True
But the money is in the ‘Depends’
Laywers are funding there lifestyle because of it.

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@simonl | 2yr

Check out Panama. Its rated as the easiest and cheapest country to become a resident and open a company. Plus your company doesnt need to pay tax on income earned outside of Panama (Online)

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I’m British and - after looking at various options for the business I’ve recently launched - decided to set my business up in Britain.

I decided that convenience and simplicity were probably more useful to me than getting the lowest tax rates possible, starting out.

We have a great range of challenger banks and financial services - owing to a streamlined process for setting up banking startups that was launched in 2014 by our Prudential Regulation Authority.

Another factor for me is that I own property in the UK and getting new mortgages with better rates might be easier if I’ve got a profitable and well-kept UK business.

Another complication is the UK’s ambiguous tax residency laws. We don’t get the standard 180 days that many countries get - depending on the property you own, family here etc. Cheers to the non-resident oligarchs snapping-up London property for that!

Finally, if I get a serious injury, I might want to fly home and use our NHS healthcare system. I haven’t even checked the legality of that, if my business is in Singapore. But ethically, I feel I should pay my dues if I want to rely on that backstop.

In short, I don’t think tax is the be-all. Convenience and services are a major factor.

As my business grows, the real-world benefits of lower tax rates might incentivise me to go elsewhere. But for starting out, having easy access to services and credit are useful!

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@nerdontour | 2yr

I strongly recommend the UK. I’ve been running my British LTD since 2014 as a tour manager and web developer. They are one of the most juridical and business wise established countries in the world. All paperwork is done digitally, including setting up, annual reports and changes to the LTD.

For charging, I use Stripe and receive money either to Revolut Business, Tide or Payoneer. There are also a bunch of other compatible financial services, so you can always switch to the most convenient one.

If you have any specific questions about British LTD, I happy to help.

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@manyluv0 | 2yr

I got a friend with Shanghai residence and a HK Ltd from 10 years and he’s now having problems with chinese checking frantically accounts and stuff. A big NO NO.

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@etc | 2yr

I’m assuming you’re referring to some of the compliance actions put in place to facilitate the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) that began being implemented last year. This is not actually specifically a Chinese effort. It’s an OECD initiative where member countries proactively report certain banking information to national sources. It’s undersigned by over 100 members. China started reporting officially last month.

In 2017, the following countries started reporting CRS compliant data:

Anguilla, Argentina, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherlands, Niue, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Seychelles, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United Kingdom

In 2018:

Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Bahrain, Belize, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ghana, Grenada, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Marshall Islands, Macao (China), Malaysia, Mauritius, Monaco, Nauru, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Qatar, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Turkey, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vanuatu

One of the reasons why people are starting to “feel it” in China is because the regulatory apparatus has, up to this point, been very lax. Whereas, countries like the United States and UK already had a heightened compliance and reporting regime in place. China has spent years trying to reel in what was “the wild west” so that it could fully comply with CRS requirements.

In truth, we’re probably <10 years away from most developed countries having a tax on global income. The CRS was one step towards that common initiative.

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@levelsio | 2yr

Hong Kong is a bad idea due to China’s increasing reach. They might freeze your assets if you say something bad.

Cyprus is EU, so nice if you need that but also increases burden of EU legislation and bureaucracy.

Malta is now known as a shady tax haven and with dodgy stuff happening like the journalist killed in a car bomb.

EU is going to punch down the law on both Malta + Cyprus soon to make them in line with EU soon I think.

That leaves us with Singapore! Which is a legit, reputable place to start a business with attractive legislation and a jurisdiction based on UK.

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@etc | 2yr

There are lots of reasons not to incorporate in Hong Kong, but I don’t agree with this assessment. I understand why one might surmise this from a lay perspective, but there’s no mechanism for this currently in place nor are there empiric grounds to base this claim.

The asset controls are still done by way of Hong Kong courts and, in fact, have been going the opposite direction. Chinese assets are being frozen in HK courts through judicial proceedings.

China does exert extra-judicial control within the HKSAR, but it is through constitutional interpretations rather than direct action. Furthermore, it is unlikely that China would breach the economic frameworks in this way, as it would have a profound impact on the market economy and exponentially increase the political risk of economic engagement in the region, likely beyond risk tolerance thresholds.

I do agree that HK might not be the best place, purely from a maintenance and administration standpoint. Compliance is becoming increasingly costly and it’s hard to justify in light of other options. There are also some political risks for HK residents. However, the risk of China exerting control of assets, for matters outside of criminal consequence, is on par with western markets - negligible.

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@levelsio | 2yr

Not sure if you’re following the news recently:

They’re already dismissing work visas from people who lived and worked in Hong Kong for years who’ve spoken out against the government.

And they have frozen assets and jailed executives of Taiwanese companies that got too succesful in China (not Hong Kong, but HK is now part of China).

China does exert extra-judicial control within the HKSAR, but it is through constitutional interpretations rather than direct action. Furthermore, it is unlikely that China would breach the economic frameworks in this way, as it would have a profound impact on the market economy and exponentially increase the political risk of economic engagement in the region, likely beyond risk tolerance thresholds.

China’s focus is on making Shanghai and Beijing succesful, not Hong Kong. Their long term goals are not in favor of Hong Kong, don’t be delusional.

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@etc | 2yr

They’re already dismissing work visas from people who lived and worked in Hong Kong for years who’ve spoken out against the government.

As I stated before, I wholly understand why lay individuals would surmise such a conclusion. However, you’re conflating vastly different situations together and drawing unwarranted conclusions from them.

I’m very aware of the British journalist having his visa denied (this time a visitor one). There’s a lot more context to the situation than this article even attempts to cover. Regardless, denying a visa and freezing a foreign company’s assets are two different things.

And they have frozen assets and jailed executives of Taiwanese companies that got too succesful in China (not Hong Kong, but HK is now part of China).

Which assets did they freeze and which executives of Taiwanese companies that “got too successful” did they jail? The Taiwanese political parties have been doing just fine freezing each other’s assets.

China’s focus is on making Shanghai and Beijing succesful, not Hong Kong. Their long term goals are not in favor of Hong Kong, don’t be delusional.

This is, again, simply not true. Hong Kong is still a critical trade and economic gateway in the region. I could also give you a number of examples that indicate there is a good faith effort by China to try to integrate the two systems together (E.g. self-imposed plans for implementing universal suffrage even though there is no constitutionally mandated timeline for such).

I’m under no illusions re: China’s ultimate stance to Hong Kong. I’m from Hong Kong. I’m a Hong Konger. I’ve spent months now doing nothing more than parsing the legal and constitutional structures of Hong Kong and analyzing the relationship, in a conversion effort to join the solicitor’s roll here. Accusing someone of being “delusional” is quite cavalier and requires self-confidence in a subject matter. I wasn’t aware you were so interested and well-versed on the subject. I’d love to explore it with you sometime.

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Are there any digital nomads in the Islands e.g Bermuda, Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis?

 

in Antigua, Guatemala by @momo11 | 6d 5 days ago | 0 comments

Does anyone ever travel to any Islands like Bermuda, Barbados, Barbuda and St. Kitts & Nevis?

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How to get into the digital nomad lifestyle?


in Switzerland by @filiptk | 21d 21 days ago | 1 comment

Hi, I've got a question to anyone who had experience with the digital nomad lifestyle. I'm 24, I'm in my last year of university doing computer science, got 3 years of experience mostly doing web development.

I never liked the idea of staying in one place, getting a job and growing roots - hence the will to take the opportunity and travel the world. My main question is – how do I go about it? Are there any useful resources I could look into?

How do I go about insurance and such once I decide to move. I currently live in Switzerland and do freelance work for one company. It's not a lot, since my studies don't allow me to pick up a full time job, but it allows me to cover simple expenses.

I'd be happy to get some insight into how things work and also happy to network with anyone interested.

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What is the best online insurance for digital nomads ?


by @berberos | 3mo 2 months ago | 4 comments

Hi guys ! hope you are doing well.

I would love to get your feedback regarding the best insurance for digital nomads. i'm traveling around Asia since 1 year and for next 4 or 5 years. Would love to buy an insurance to cover especially :

- health

- laptop, phone ...

- Flights

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Any Ph.D students dissertating while a digital nomad?


by @larsheather | 7mo 6 months ago | 5 comments

Anyone know of any groups or resources for Ph.D. students working on dissertation while living as a digital nomad? I know there are several virtual writing groups around, but wondered if there were any specifically for digital nomads, particularly those who are dissertating.

Thanks!

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Does international health insurance for digital nomads exist?

 

by @al_steffen | 7mo 7 months ago | 59 comments

Hey Nomads!

I’m looking for an international health insurance (no travel insurance) for my nomadic life. It should cover the basic services and at least be accepted in the EU (it’s ok if it’s not accepted in the US as I’m aware they rarely are). Nice to have: enter into a contract online. Anyone got a good experience or a recommendation?

Thanks in advance!

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I dream of being a digital nomad? How do I do it?


by @programmingmark | 8mo 8 months ago | 2 comments

Hello digital nomad!

I dream of being an independent digital nomad. But it feels very elusive & unattainable with my success rate. In full disclosure, whilst I have dreamed about making money online since high school; I have not earned a single cent making money online. $0, nada, zilch!! On the contrary, I have spent a lot of time & money on books, podcasts. Even though I have spent a lot of time reading/listening to others, I do not have anything to show for it!

I have made attempts in the past to start an online business, but these fizzle out quite quickly when I do not see traction especially when the goal I have set myself is too high.

Instead of reaching for the ultimate nomadic lifestyle goal, I want to start much smaller. Really small! I am simply looking to make $50 profit per month from a new online business. That’s it.

I need some advice from you please!

  • Is $50 profit too low? How long did it take you to earn $50 profit per month?

  • What is a good way of achieving this goal?

Thanks
Mark
aka the $0 online business entrepreneur

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How do digital nomads pay tax?


by @rodriigovieira | 9mo 8 months ago | 19 comments

Hello everyone! I’m new here and probably this is a very newbie question, but it doesn’t leave my head.

How do you, nomads, pay your taxes? I mean, if you’re constantly traveling, how are you going to pay taxes for a certain country if you are going to stay there a short period of time?
Or do you return to your “original country” and then pay them?

By the way, this forum has very nice cool formatting features! :smile:

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Best place for Digital Nomad in Latin America?


by @rose_davis | 11mo 10 months ago | 7 comments

Hi!

I am planning to move to Latin America for 3-4 months (Oct-January). I’ve narrowed down 6 different places that I want to visit before committing to settling down, but I’d love to get some community input.

Here are the cities I’m considering:

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Medellin, Columbia
  • Cartagena, Columbia
  • Antigua, Guatemala
  • San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala

The most important things I’m looking for:

  • Fast/easily accessible internet
  • Easy to meet other nomads/make friends in general
  • Safe for women
  • Some sort of spiritual community (I’m also a yoga teacher)
  • Easily walkable city

Anyone have any experience with these places and can give some insight? I’m also completely open to other recommendations.

Thanks!
Rose

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How do we solve housing for digital nomads?

 

by @levelsio | 11mo 11 months ago | 61 comments

There’s been a lot of discussion on this recently.

Nomads usually stay in hostels, hotels and short-term apartments. But it’s all not very optimal.

I’ve heard people suggest getting funding and building a network of houses you can stay at for a subscription price (e.g. Bruno Haid is working on that).

I don’t want do physical stuff, so I’m thinking of building a platform around making housing better for nomads.

What are the housing problems nomads face? And how can we solve them with products/services?

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How is Sicily for digital nomads?


by @gaelm | 1yr 1 year ago | 15 comments

Hi all, I was looking for a cool spot in Southern Europe for winter and I’m considering Sicily… Have you ever been there? If yes, how was your experience? If not, why?
thanks!

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How is Bari, Italy for digital nomads?


in Bari, Italy by @mitch_dina | 1yr 1 year ago | 7 comments

Greetings!
Does anyone have experience in Bari, Italy please? We are thinking of going from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Bari by boat in mid-March. Has anyone taken a boat across? Is it nice or can it be choppy? (We are trying to avoid planes, to reduce our carbon footprint, so adding more surface travel.) Also, any info you might be able to offer about Bari and the surrounds? Next step will likely be trains up Italy as the Spring progresses.

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How is Mauritius for digital nomads?


in Mauritius by @wakkos | 1yr 1 year ago | 14 comments

Hello all,

I’m planning on spending a couple of month in Mauritius Island and even when I’ve been there for a week, never rented or worked there.

Does anyone here has tips or experience to share about Mauritius?

Cheers!

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Are there any digital nomad fitness retreats?


by @ryanjames | 1yr 1 year ago | 1 comment

Hey all:

Does anyone here have any experience attending a full time fitness bootcamp or a fitness resort while working? I know there is one in Cambodia for digital nomads (Fitness Retreat Resort Kep Gym), unfortunately the time difference vs my work schedule would make my life suck if I tried to go there. I’m looking for a place between US and Europe timezones that lets you live with them, kicks your butt with fitness, but would also have good WiFi/accommodate working eight hours a day. I’m also open to other tangential ideas for something close-ish to get that same experience.

Thanks for any help!

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Do you "out" yourself as a digital nomad?


by @larsheather | 1yr 1 year ago | 2 comments

When you meet new people or reconnect with old friends, do you “out” yourself as a digital nomad? The simple question “where do you live?” makes us uncertain now. We wonder if some places may be less welcoming to digital nomads, or if “digital nomad” has a negative connotation in some places. If you are forthcoming from the start, does your status as a digital nomad make it hard to form friendships?

We would love to hear how other people navigate this… how to balance being authentic in relationships vs. withholding the context (and allowing people to assume you’re on vacation, for example).

Thanks!

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Property Ownership - should digital nomads buy properties?


by @sparrow_23 | 1yr 1 year ago | 16 comments

I have been a digital nomad for the last couple of years. I have always worked in tech and now run a couple of profitable online businesses that give me a reliable income and allow me to fund a nomadic lifestyle.

I recently exited one of my businesses and I am considering to invest the income from the sale in properties, mainly for 2 reasons:

a) I don’t want to keep wasting my money in renting apartments across the cities I stay

b) I believe in properties as investment and I want to diversify my investment portfolio (mainly stocks)

After years of constant wander from one place to another, now I am the type of digital nomad who sticks to few locations: I mainly rotate across 4 places each year (San Francisco, Medellin, Berlin, Bali). Buying a house in each of those location would be difficult and too expensive. Therefore, I was wondering if there was any sort of service that combines an investment opportunity with the ability to access different properties around the world (even if just for a limited time per year) ?

Imagine living in 4 cities per year and having a house in each place that you can exclusively use for 3 months and at the same time having your investment growing (this depending on the market, of course). Wouldn’t that be great? I believe it could be done via a property fund selling you a share and giving you access to some of their properties for a limited timeframe each year.

Has anyone heard of anything like that?

Thanks!

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Ko Lanta or Ko Phangan - which island is better for a digital nomad?


in Ko Lanta, Thailand by @melinda | 1yr 1 year ago | 6 comments

I’m currently in Penang, Malaysia and I was thinking to head to Thailand next. What are the best islands in Thailand to get some work done? I was considering either Ko Lanta or Ko Phangan because those both islands have coworking spaces. I might need to take some client calls, also video. Is the wifi good enough? Are there any other differences between the islands?

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Do any digital nomads travely solely by motorcycle?


by @fraserdeans | 2yr 1 year ago | 10 comments

Last summer I spent some time travelling through Thailand and Cambodia and jumped on mopeds to get around. I fell in love with them, the freedom, the ability to get off the tourist trail and see areas of a country not written about in tour books.

Recently a friend of mine cycled from London through Western Europe down to Morocco. His journey, stories and photo blog have all inspired me to see Europe by road rather than missing it all by plane.

I’ve been encouraged to do the same longer term through Europe. Next month I’m heading off to Spain to start that journey.

I was wondering if any nomads here are on similar journeys? Does anyone motorcycle between cities setting up to work for a couple weeks then moving on?

If so, have you got any advice/tips for someone just starting that journey?

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Where should I register my company as a digital nomad? Singapore, Hong Kong?


in Singapore by @raphadk | 2yr 1 year ago | 14 comments

Hey guys, here’s a question I’ve been asking nomads I meet everywhere, but still haven’t found good information. My startups mostly focus on american and european markets but I don’t have a registered company, nor I live permanently on any of these countries.

I get the cash payments online in paypal (or adsense) and transfer it to Thailand (or Malaysia, or Bali, or Brazil, or wherever I’m at). The thing is… for low volume living expenses it seems fine, but as I scale the business, I’m starting to think more and more about fiscal law.

A fellow nomad told me to transfer it to Singapore, Hong Kong or The Virgin Islands, and then use an international credit card anywhere. I don’t know if it’s the best way to optimize this… any ideas?

Also, could there be any problems in selling to these countries without a registered local company?

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Best online Bank for Digital Nomads


by @nilanjan | 2yr 2 years ago | 0 comments

Hi All,
Can you suggest a cheap but reliable online Bank for Nomads?
What I meant by " cheap" is decent " service charges".

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What's the best bank for South African digital nomads?


in South Africa by @kirst85 | 2yr 2 years ago | 12 comments

I’m a South African about to become a Nomad next year. I will still be employed by a South African company and receive a salary into my FNB bank account monthly.

I will be mostly based in Serbia but plan on travelling a lot. Does anyone have any advice on the best bank account to have? Is there a way to not get charged a small fortune in ATM charges and avoid getting my account frozen for using it in lots of countries?

I’m unsure of the best way to handle things. Should I try get another bank account outside of SA (Can I even do that)? I also have a British Passport if that makes a difference.

If any of you have any experienced advice I would be very grateful, Thanks in advance!

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