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How to optimize corporate taxation as a digital nomad company?

 

by @digital | 5yr  | 24 comments

Hi guys :smiley:

I manage a French limited company. My business partner and I are digital nomads. The company pays all companyโ€™s expenditures and we pay ourselves for our plane tickets, accommodations, and so on. We would save a lot of money if the company could pay for some of our expenditures but we need to justify that these expenditures are for-business only. Have you ever have this experience?

More broadly, how can we optimize our corporate taxation as digital nomad companies?

One of my thoughts is to consider ourselves as expatriates. Therefore, the company should pay some of our expenses such as travel, accommodation, or school for children. It will be great for the company because it will decrease its profits (i.e. its taxation). But, how to justify setting up a expat contract?

If you have any advice for us and other digital nomad companies, please share :smile:

D.

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@nouk | 4yr

You could incorporate an irish company since it has a corporate tax of 12,5% with a virtual office forwarding the mail to your residential address in France. Then, i would pay โ€œimpรดt sur le revenuโ€ on the dividends just like you would receive dividends from a French company. Then, you take out a Private national insurance for your health like the April one. Thatโ€™s it. The french Tax authorities will ask you to fill out the form number 2047, i think and since there is a tax treaty in place between Ireland and France it is totally legit.

I didnโ€™t calculate how much they would take. I do this with a UK company because UK legislation protects me more. I pay a flat 30% on internet income for 30,000 euros revenue. This would be less with an Irish company.

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Asian countries are usually more generous when it comes to tax write-offs. Iโ€™d recommend incorporating in Hong Kong and opening a bank account in Singapore for many other reasons as well.

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@digital | 5yr

Hi everyone,
Thank you all for your answers. I think we will find great way to improve this thread and find solutions on how to optimize corporate taxation as a digital nomad company (not at a personal level).

@nomadtax
Iโ€™m basically a French resident because Iโ€™m there the majority of the year. However, I think the question is different when it comes to corporate taxation. I donโ€™t care being taxed on my personal income in France but I find it unfair for international competition that my company is taxed heavily.
My solutions are:

  • find ways to optimize corporate taxation. For example: bill of expenses for flight and accommodation if possible.
  • close the French company and incorporate it elsewhere in the world. Then the new company will have me as an employee. Living in France, Iโ€™ll just pay taxes on my personal income (salary). Is that possible? And what are the pros and cons?

@Lora
Interesting. Is there anyone else in her situation? It can be interesting to know depending on each country.
Iโ€™m from France and my accountant told me to put 5/7 of the flight + accommodation as bill of expenses because people usually work 5 days out of 7 in France.

@tomphill
Thank you. I guess itโ€™s pretty much the same in France, I have to ask next time more precisely. Do you ask your accountant if you can put accommodation + food expenses in this?

Thank you everyone for your answers,
D.

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@tomphillltd | 5yr

Yeah I can put accommodation and food expenses through as well if I wanted to, but accommodation Iโ€™m not because Iโ€™m staying with a friend, and food Iโ€™m not because I mainly eat street food, which is cheap enough anyway and Iโ€™m pretty sure you canโ€™t get a receipt for it :stuck_out_tongue: I should probably note though that if I decide to go away for the weekend to a neighbouring country, this will be coming out of my personal expenses as itโ€™s not for the business. Only Cambodia is for the business.

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@digital | 5yr

Hi thanks for your reply, itโ€™s very clear :smile:
You can go to a neighbouring country and put it as a professional expense only if you do something professional there (meet a client / go to a conferenceโ€ฆ), is that right?

Did you ask your accountant if youโ€™re going to visit for a week another country and you want to put everything in professional expenses, what would you need to do as a proof? According to me, you only need to go at the beginning and at the end in a coworking space and ask for an invoice. But is there anyone around to confirm my thought?

:smile:
D.

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@eduardjt | 5yr

Your company can set up a subsidiary in a place like Hong Kong and place all the finances related to you (digital nomads) and the foreign income there. It is best to check tax treaties of France with other countries and see what treaty has the best advantage. This could reduce taxes substantially as places like HK tax foreign income at 0% and sometimes the treaty reduces the tax for funds repatriation or dividend (capital gain) to 10% or lower. Good luck!

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@busdriver | 4yr

@eduard_jubany: Yes, the same came to my mind when I was just reading this. Hong Kong would work and is not too expensive. But some argue HK became more difficult. I personally can not confirm that that is the case. I find HK pretty easy going.

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@nouk | 4yr
  • If you live in the EU or the USA & hide revenue from HK one day or another the tax authorities will fall on your back. The only way would be to be fiscal resident in Costa Rica or Malta to be 100% legit.

If you declare dividends coming from HK in the US or Europe, you will pay more tax than if you had a company in the UK.

  • You can incorporate a company in a flate rate country with low corporate tax like Bulgaria.
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@alxmhe | 5yr

Hi @digital
Same boat as you here, Iโ€™m leaving France in January, my associates will stay there.
We consulted an accountant who basically told us โ€œif your expenditures are below 5-8% of your company income, the company can pay for your travel tickets and everything will be fine, you wonโ€™t have any troubleโ€. It will be set as a bill of expenses (fr โ€œnote de fraisโ€) and not company expenses (fr โ€œchargesโ€).
Iโ€™ll try going with that for now. 5-8% seems reasonable and will allow me to travel.
Did you consult an expert too ? Iโ€™ll update this thread if any news.

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@tomphillltd | 5yr

My justification of my company paying for my travel expenses to South East Asia is that Iโ€™ll be working from co-working spaces where Iโ€™ll be surrounded by people who could help and work on a product that Iโ€™m working on for my company. I canโ€™t afford to pay contractors in the UK, and I havenโ€™t had the best experience paying cheaper developers on sites like upwork due to language barrier and time differences etc, so Iโ€™m going to South East Asia to try and scout developers that I can afford. Iโ€™ve run this by my accountant and he says this is okay.

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@digital | 5yr

Thank you, very interresting :smile:

So, your company pays 100% of your flight ticket, accommodation, coworking spaces? Does it pay for more than that?

In your surrounding, do you know any French person doing the same as you do with your company?

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@tomphillltd | 5yr

Yeah, this is the first time Iโ€™ve done it though (leaving from the UK to Thailand tomorrow). Iโ€™ve paid for it through my own personal account but will be reimbursing myself through the company as an expense. Itโ€™s just flights, accommodation, and co-working space paid for, as the reason for me being there is purely for business, and obviously all receipts must be retained to prove it :slight_smile: saying that though, Iโ€™ll be in Cambodia for most of my couple of months out there and Iโ€™ll be staying with a friend so Iโ€™ll be paying him a bit towards the rent and bills. This will be paid from my personal account though as I canโ€™t get a receipt for that therefore wonโ€™t be able to reimburse myself.

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@digital | 5yr

@tomphill
Thank you for your answer, really interesting! When you say โ€œthe reason for me being there is purely for businessโ€, you prove that to your government just by saying you need to work with cheaper developers. Is that right?

@alxmhe
Hi man, cool to see another French doing that :smile:
By โ€œincomeโ€, you mean โ€œturnoverโ€ (fr: chiffre dโ€™affaires) or โ€œprofitโ€ (fr: bรฉnรฉfices)? Do you know if the 5-8% rule is something decided by an organism (URSAFF for instance) or is it arbitrary?
My accountant told me to set a bill of expenses for my flight and accommodation but he prefers that my company doesnโ€™t reimburse it entirely. He told me that reimbursing 70% and not 100% of these expenses is a great thing for example. Iโ€™ve seen on the internet experts saying other things so itโ€™s great to have as many advice as possible :smile:
Thanks for updating when you have more information, Iโ€™ll do the same!

@eduard_jubany
Thank you, Iโ€™ll look at that this week and let people know.
Closing my French company and creating a HK company seems simpler to me. Is there any reason why you advice to create a subsidiary in HK with my French company?

Thank you everyone, this thread can be very interesting for other French digital nomads :smiley:

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@nomadtax | 5yr

First of all, you live in France right? I mean physically live there.

If so, your options are quite limited. Also, France has very strict CFC rules meaning that incorporating in HK (or any low/no tax country) isnโ€™t a good option.

If you do not live in France or if you donโ€™t mind leaving, then it can be as simple as becoming a tax resident in a territorial taxation country and then registering a business in a tax haven.

If youโ€™d like to know all your options, send me more details about your situation/business via private message. Iโ€™m an international tax consultant and have helped many nomads reduce their tax burden.

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@lora | 5yr

Interesting. I am from Croatia and am currently investigating how could I justify travelling as business expense. We are a small IT company and love to travel. We would like to go to a conference in Bali in February, but also stay there for 2 weeks, work in a co-working place, network, find potential clients etc. Basically, everything I do is always trying to do something for my business. But, this is not enough to justify that travel as a business expense. So, when you write โ€œIโ€™ll be working from co-working spaces where Iโ€™ll be surrounded by people who could helpโ€, this is my exact reasoning why this should be a business expense, but my accountant say it wonโ€™t fly. I can justify the conference (3 days) but nothing more. It is so frustrating. Where are you from, btw?

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@tomphillltd | 5yr

Hereโ€™s what my accountant emailed me saying, removed a few irrelevant things (pretty much re-iterates what has been said in previous comments though):

"The bottom line is wherever you go on this trip and on future trips, as long as it is for business and you retain the relevant records to back up the expenses being put through the company then there is no problem.

I hope you have a successful trip."

In my case though itโ€™s pretty much just flights, co-working space, and business travel insurance for the company laptop etc that Iโ€™ve paid for through the company. I havenโ€™t put accommodation through as Iโ€™m staying with a friend (pretty much the reason I came to this part of the world - was a pretty good opportunity for my business and was cheap).

Also, Iโ€™m from the UK :slight_smile:

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

have you read all of the (many) threads on this topic? they might give you ideas. personally, iโ€™d talk to a professional.

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@digital | 5yr

Iโ€™ve read some threads on this topic but not all. A lot of digital nomads speak about optimizing taxation as freelancers. I find it different when it comes to corporations because we can deduct expenses and reduce our benefit to pay less taxes. My problem is that I usually live more than 6 months per year in France and that my company will stay a French one.
What do you do personnaly?

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@toadi | 5yr

What are your reasons to keep your company in France? It for the healthcare? For a pension?

My advice would be to move to a lower taxation country in the EU. You can keep your healthcare but pay less. If you move back to France, youโ€™re still covered.

If itโ€™s for your pension well Iโ€™m Belgian, and Iโ€™m not that optimistic I will have a decent pension. So with the savings of my reduced taxation, I save for my retirement later or invest as safe as possible.

So if I donโ€™t know the reasoning why you would want to stay in France, i can only guess and donโ€™t give fitting advice.

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@digital | 5yr

Thank you for your answer :slight_smile:

There are no real reasons why my company is still in France. I created the company years ago when I was in France and, since then, I kept it :slight_smile: My clients are not even French and I can do everything online.

As an individual, I have to continue paying my taxes in France. But, I donโ€™t understand why my company should continue paying taxes here. Then, I hesitate where to settle my company without being considered illegal. Do you know more about that?

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

I am a US citizen and employee so I donโ€™t really have to worry about it because I am never anywhere long enough to be a tax resident.

But I think trying to claim your normal living expenses just because you choose to travel is shady and I wouldnโ€™t do it.

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@digital | 5yr

Thank you. Itโ€™s not exactly the same situation as - in my case - there are two distinct entities: my company and I.
My company is French so it pays taxes in France.
Iโ€™m a French-resident so I pay my taxes there as well.
For the moment, my aim is just to reduce the companyโ€™s taxation by taking advantage of different opportunities offered to it as a digital nomad company. It can be interesting to know what others do and, then, Iโ€™ll decide whether or not Iโ€™ll do it.

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@flyonthewall | 5yr

Setup a travel blog/website. Write about traveling/share photos/etc. Charge travel expenses to the company?

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@digital | 5yr

Thank you, great idea. Do you do that or know anyone doing that?

Also, I know that in some big companies, some employees are considered as โ€œexpatriatesโ€ so a lot of expenses are paid by the company. Expenses such as accommodation, travel,* but also* school for children and training to learn the new language for all the family.

If anyone has this experience, I would be happy to read :smile:

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Hello digital nomad!

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

Hello everyone! Iโ€™m new here and probably this is a very newbie question, but it doesnโ€™t leave my head.

How do you, nomads, pay your taxes? I mean, if youโ€™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 โ€œoriginal countryโ€ and then pay them?

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

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Hey, is there currently a way to save filter settings? I feel like it would be helpful for planning the trip as I have several ideas on what to target and would like to cycle between them

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Anyone know an accountant for Canadian nomads/expats?


by @noam_lightstone | 10mo 9 months ago | 16 comments

Hey guys, this was my first year as a Canadian nomad.

As far as I know of, Canadians donโ€™t pay taxes if they do not live in the country for 6 months.

But Iโ€™d like to talk to an accountant or someone who does Canadian taxes specifically for expats and nomads to get clear on the rules and for help on my return coming up.

Does anyone know someone who specializes in Canada who can help? Iโ€™ve seen plenty of US recommendations but none for us canucks.

Thanks guys!

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Best place for Digital Nomad in Latin America?


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

Hi!

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

Here are the cities Iโ€™m considering:

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

The most important things Iโ€™m looking for:

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

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

Thanks!
Rose

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Where are the nomads in Mexico City?


in Mexico City, Mexico by @shellyfish | 11mo 11 months ago | 9 comments

I just landed as a n00b digital nomad in Mexico City, and I am wonderingโ€ฆ Where are all the international digital nomads hiding around here? I have been to several coworking spaces (Selina etc.) only to find A LOT of local Mexican workers and businesses. Donโ€™t get me wrong, that is all fine, but I was hoping to meet some international nomads! Any advice?

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