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What's the legal situation for remote workers in Thailand?


in Thailand by @flyonthewall | 6yr  | 16 comments

Hey everyone!

Iโ€™ve seen a lot of nomads here who are based out of Chiang Mai. Given the changes in visa rules lately with Thailand making it harder to do visa runs, etc. I have a few burning questions that I would love to get some insight on:

  1. Taxes - Does Thailand still not tax internationally earned income? As in, if itโ€™s earned outside Thailand, and stays outside Thailand, itโ€™s not taxed? (I read somewhere that this was the case but just need some solid answersโ€ฆ)

  2. Visas - How do you now manage to stay in Thailand for more than 60 days? Or do you just get a double entry 60 day visa back home from the consulates and then stay 120 days (with a short trip outside), or do something else? It seems like having to move around every few months can be quite a hassle, especially without a guarantee of getting in again. To frame this differently, what is the easiest way to get a longer term residency in Thailand? What is everyone doing these days now that the duration of the visa exemption on arrival at land borders has been shortened?

  3. Do any of you bank locally or is everything in offshore accounts or incorporated elsewhere?

  4. Is it possible to avoid farang rates after you stay for a while and most importantly, is it possible to integrate at all with the local populace given the language/cultural barrier? To put it differently, did you manage to make any/many Thai friends or do you mostly hangout with expats?

Just a few questions I had because Chiang Mai looks like a lovely place to settle down for 6 months to a year but especially on the visa front there seem to be some administrative hurdles.

Thanks in advance for any info :smile:

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@solo | 6yr

Hi guys,

A bit late but just joined up! Another foreigner spending time in Thailand. Spent 4-6 months a year based out of Phuket, for the past 5 years or so. Now doing the same from Bangkok. Hope some of my experiences will help you.

  1. If you spend more than 180 days in Thailand in a year, you can be taxed on all monies transferred into Thailand in that year.

  2. If you possess a passport that allows you a fly-in โ€œvisa exemptionโ€ with 30 day stay, you can extend for an additional 30 days (prior to September 2014 it was 7 days) for 1,900 thb. You can only have 6 visa exemption entries in a year (they have started enforcing it quite strictly). It is irrelevant how long each of these trips are - I got caught out once even though 2 of my entries were single day visa exempt entries. My visits are normally spaced by a month or two. If you have the money and expect to be based in Thailand for 5 years, the Thailand Privilege visa (pay to stay) at 15,000 USD does make it easier, though thatโ€™s a lot to pony up, upfront. It does, however, kind of defeat the whole โ€œnomadโ€ ideal of this site.

  3. I bank locally. Send USD to the Thai bank, and get really, really good exchange rates. Opened it on a โ€œvisa exemptโ€ entry, same as my car, licence, and multiple motorbikes.

  4. No. You will always pay farang rates. If you get a Thai driversโ€™ licence, you can get Thai prices at Aquariums, Theme Parks, National Parks, etc etc, but there are a lot of things that you will never see a printed price on, and there will be two prices. Not on food, but second hand vehicles, barter-able clothing shops, etc etc.

As for Chrisโ€™ Qโ€™s regarding Internet.
Internet:
I spend ~700 THB for TRUE ADSL in Bangkok and see download speeds of 11.2 megabits per second (1.4 MB/s) however they HEAVILY shape torrent traffic from lunchtime til midnight-ish. You might as well say itโ€™s completely blocked for the PM hours. Any file with .torrent extension is actually blocked during this time. Only just got the service, and then left BKK for a month, so havenโ€™t set up a VPN to circumvent.
I spent about the same with 3BB in Phuket and got exactly the same download speed. They shape torrent traffic from 6 PM until midnight exactly, though nowhere near as hard (maximum of 600 kilobytes per second).
Surge protect everything in Thailand. Seriously.

Mobile Internet:
Country wide 3G coverage with DTAC/AIS/TRUE (yes, this is worth mentioning, it wasnโ€™t that long ago that 3G wasnโ€™t around in the Land of Smiles).

DTAC are advertising 4G coverage around Phuket on signs written in Thai (or so my GF translated for me).
AISโ€™s website shows a very limited coverage of 4G in Bangkok only around the Siam area and one University.
TRUE have a very manipulative advertisement claiming countrywide 4G&3G access. At first glance (and to non native English speakers) it would appear they have 4G everywhere. I take it to mean they have 3G everywhere, and basically assume they have one 4G base tower somewhere.

HTH

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@bradonomics | 6yr

Iโ€™ve lived in Thailand since 2009, two years in Bangkok, the rest in Chiang Mai. Most of that time I was a student; I now have a job at a local company. Iโ€™m sure there are others, but what follows is my experience.

The only time Iโ€™ve experienced โ€œfarang ratesโ€ is at large tourist places like Flight of the Gibbon or something similar. There are two rates at most national parks, but when I flash my student ID or work permit I get the local rate. As Adam already mentioned, all other things are usually a listed price.

Making local friends is very easy and very hard. People are people and if you talk to them theyโ€™ll usually talk back. It has only happened a few times in life that I spoke to someone who promptly ran away. Joking aside, the hard part is finding enough in common with someone from a different culture to continue hanging out.

As for banking, itโ€™s pretty easy. Officially you should be a university student or have a work permit to open an account, but in practice this is never a problem. Many of my friends have opened accounts on tourist VISAs. You might have to try a few branches before someone will open one for you, but youโ€™ll get it. This article from Tony will probably help.

Taxes can be hard to talk about. Not only is it a touchy subject with the digital nomad crowd, but also Iโ€™m not sure where youโ€™re from or how youโ€™re working. If youโ€™re only here for a few months and donโ€™t intend to setup a local company, you wonโ€™t have to worry about paying taxes to Thailand. Itโ€™s important to know that while the immigration office doesnโ€™t seem to care if you work on your laptop, the revenue department does. Officially you need a work permit to do anything here, but the chances of running afoul of the revenue department are infinitesimally small. Hereโ€™s the personal income tax section from the revenue department website if youโ€™re interested to read more.

As was mentioned earlier, most people get tourist VISAs and run to Laos or Malaysia when they expire. Every so often the government will change the policy to make it more difficult to continue this practice, but it does seem to be the preferred way as tourist VISAs are easy to get. Education VISAs are probably the second most common. If you would like to learn something, most commonly Thai language, but also massage, or something else, you could easily go this route, but know that there are attendance requirements. Another interesting option for Australian and New Zealand citizens who are college degree holders and under 30 years old is the Working Holiday VISA which will give you one year in country, no VISA runs required. I know almost nothing about this option, but have met a few guys doing it. Iโ€™m sure Google will get you all the info you need.

There is one more option for those wanting to stay long term. While I work for the company Iโ€™m about to discuss, itโ€™s not my reason for talking about them. This option will be good for some, and not good for others. Iglu is a Thai company with Board of Investment approval. If you do something related to software development, design, sales or marketing, they may be a good option. The basic system works like this: you continue working for your clients and customers as you do now, but instead of billing them yourself Iglu does the billing for you. On paper you will look like an employee of Iglu. They will get your VISA and work permit sorted, provide you office space and pay your local taxes. Once you establish tax residency in Thailand most people are no longer required to pay taxes to their home country. So far so good right? But I hear you ask, โ€œhow much will this cost me?โ€ And thatโ€™s why it wonโ€™t be a good fit for everyone. Iglu keeps 30% of the money they invoice for you. This 30% is it though, no more taxes or anything else. If youโ€™re interested, do a search for โ€œIglu in Thailand,โ€ theyโ€™ll be the first result.

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@alawyerabroad | 6yr

Great post! Lots to think about there. Iglu sounds interesting, but I think it would cause some ethical issues for me as an attorney :smile:

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@quinnzeda | 6yr

I got a double entry tourist visa (60-days) for my 6-month stay in Chiang Mai and extended it twice for the extra 30-days. A few years ago I did this back-to-back for 18 months and didnโ€™t have any issues. Now that they are cracking down I just take 10-14 days to go somewhere else in between visas for a nice little vacation.

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@coffeeshopceo | 6yr

@flyonthewall

If youโ€™re British, you can get a tourist visa with 3x 60 day entries. Each of those entries can be extended by 30 days, giving you total 9 months in Thailand. If youโ€™re not British, youโ€™ll have to make do with a double entry (and 6 months in Thailand) on one visa.

If you have a visa with available entries, youโ€™ll be able to use them to re-enter the country no problem.

When your Visa expires, you can travel to neighbouring countries such as Laos and Malaysia to get a new Visa. Malaysia recently became pissy about giving out Double entries and will only give single entry.

Thai consulates are also beginning to reject people who have back to back visas in their passports, so after a year or so, go do some travelling.

I have an education visa, learning Thai language. Itโ€™s great fun, though not easy. I go to school and have to check in with immigration every quarter. If you want to stay in Thailand for a while joining a Thai school is great option. Canโ€™t remember how much I paid, maybe $1,000 or something for the year.

Itโ€™s easy to get a Thai bank account. I opened my bank with Bangkok Bank when I had a tourist visa. Now Iโ€™m a student it would likely be even easier. Many of the banks wonโ€™t let you open an account without a residency letter (from immigration), however Bangkok bank were fine with me.

I have Thai friends and a Thai girlfriend, though I tend to hang around with other expats. I talk with Thai friends daily, but my Thai is not good enough to hang out with non-English speakers.

Avoid farrang rates? Mmm, what do you mean by that? The only people whoโ€™re gunna take advantage of you are Taxi & Tuk Tuk drivers. Prices are stated on food stalls, restaurants and super markets.

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@alawyerabroad | 6yr

I had to pay the farang rate at a local amusement park in Bangkok. They wouldnโ€™t allow me to use the coupon my Thai girlfriend had because I was a foreigner. Ridiculous! $30 instead of $5.

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@levelsio | 6yr

Yeah itโ€™s weird but I thought about it longer and think of it as that the avg income of a foreigner is usually $2000+/m, avg income of a Thai is $500/m.

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@alawyerabroad | 6yr

The problem isnโ€™t the money, really. Itโ€™s that Iโ€™m always an โ€œother.โ€ The average income of locals doesnโ€™t really excuse institutionalized racism.

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@idrisraja | 6yr

Price discrimination sucks. It happens all over the world, and is more dependent upon someoneโ€™s ability to pay than their race.

I see it happening all the time in Ubud, Bali when expats are offering services to other expats. For example, yoga classes are often free for the locals and normal western prices for the expats. Thereโ€™s laws against this in the US, but it hasnโ€™t stopped places like Amazon from charging different prices for different locales.

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@alawyerabroad | 6yr

Since it was my first time out of the US, I was a little taken aback. Not too butthurt over it anymore, though :smile:

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@skatkov | 6yr

Iโ€™ll try to answer some of your questions:
2 double entry tourist visas will give you (60days*30day extension) * 2. There are also education visas, but you donโ€™t want to go that routeโ€ฆ Thai government made view changes that make them totally not worth it (only if you donโ€™t mind learning massage, muay-thai, thai cooking or thai language).
3. Basically i have multiple bank accounts in different countries. Itโ€™s probably not a good idea, but i donโ€™t like to put all eggs in to one basket. And yes I have bank account in Thai bank, now itโ€™s a little bit troublesome to get oneโ€ฆ but there is a workaround with a little overhead on top (5000 baht).
4. Yes, i have some Thai friends, itโ€™s pretty strange to live in Thailand and donโ€™t have them here. There are a lot of interesting expats population here (from all over the world), that help me get away from my IT bubble and see life in different colors. The only type of people i try to avoid are expats with drinking problems and drug addicted. To avoid farang rates you have to speak decent Thai at least, but in some cases it will not helpโ€ฆ Thais believe that people who have more, should share/pay more. So it depends on how you position yourself (how you dress, that car/motorbike you drive, do you have/not have gold on you and etc).

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@skat, related question, since you mention it above: If Iโ€™m actually interested in learning MT, is an educational visa worth it? Most of the trainees I know whoโ€™ve been to Thailand seem to go on tourist visas anyway. Any benefit to the education visa vs. entering as a tourist? Thanks!

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@skatkov | 6yr

@Dave_Chakrabarti itโ€™s really hard to find gym that is accredited to provide you with education visa, i would say that 95% of gyms donโ€™t bother with it. Iโ€™ve only heard of couple gyms in BKK that can provide education visas, never heard about these kind of gyms outside BKK (but i was not looking hard too).

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@chris_mcguire | 6yr

I was wondering the same and will be following this thread. So I donโ€™t start another thread, Iโ€™d like to piggyback this one and also ask if you guys can give details about the internet there. Upload speeds? Download speeds? Reliability? Thanks!!!

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@bradonomics | 6yr

Internet in Chiang Mai varies. A lot. When it works, it works great. When it doesnโ€™t, it doesnโ€™t. Hereโ€™s a few links that might help.

Kevin and Richard have taken speedtests at various cafes around town: http://www.nichesitenomads.com/category/cafe-report/

Hereโ€™s a test from my office this morning: http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4098257795

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@hesitantnomad | 6yr

I concur with the above. :stuck_out_tongue:

All you folks based in Thailand, share with us your wisdom!

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Read and participate in 13,969 discussions on Nomad List

Suggested topics

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Where should I set up my company as a remote worker?


by @beloruchka | 18d 17 days ago | 6 comments

Iโ€™m looking for any recommendations for services or people others have used to get answers on the best place to set up their businesses based on their personal circumstances.

Leaning towards Singapore after a ton of research, but would really like some concrete advice before jumping in.

Appreciate it!

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Bali to focus on attracting remote workers when the island reopens for tourism


by @levelsio | 2mo 1 month ago | 0 comments

When reopening for tourism, Bali says it will focus on attracting remote workers to choose the island as their workplace:

"We will focus on a new pattern of how Bali is not just for leisure, but indeed to work in Bali as well"

thebalisun.com/bali-tourism-will-target-digital-nomads-and-those-who-work-online/

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Any attorneys working remotely?


by @rohitsn | 2mo 1 month ago | 3 comments

Transactional Attorney with a focus on US Immigration. Burnt out doing the law firm thing. Trying to leverage skill to get on this digital nomad tip. Love the traveling experience, hostels, seeing new places, new cocktails etc etc.

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What's the best SIM card you can get for traveling to Spain?


in Spain by @gabygarreau | 2mo 1 month ago | 3 comments

Hi! I want to relocate to Spain and I was wondering if someone can recommend a SIM card with a good data package.

Thanks

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What do you use to work together remotely?


by @artofwarbiz | 3mo 3 months ago | 6 comments

What do you use to work together remotely with your team?

I know Slack, Hipchat and Hall.

Which ones do you guys use and why?

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What have been your biggest challenges working remotely in your team?


by @wanderer | 3mo 3 months ago | 2 comments

My interest in DN lifestyle started when half of our company have been taking 1 month for remote work @ Ko Samui. It was truly cool but we observed quite some communication challenges. Communication seemed just โ€œriskierโ€ when online.

What were your worst situations caused by misunderstanding while communicating online with your teammates? What do you do to avoid misunderstandings?

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Central America - Where and what's next?


by @as11 | 7mo 6 months ago | 11 comments

Currently in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and heading to Santa Teressa, Costa Rica next week.
Then Aruba in the Caribbean Sea for Christmas and New Year.

However I feel I want to head back to Central America to bring living costs down, rather than staying in the Caribbean Sea among the expensive Islands.

This means I have around 2 - 2,5 month of unplanned travelling.
Any digital nomads who have ideas about where to head in that timeframe?

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What's the first step now that I can work remotely?


by @mariaplslourdes | 10mo 10 months ago | 4 comments

Hi everyone and nice to e-meet you!
finally, after so long I found a job that allows me to work remotely.
But now? Do you have any practical advice that I can use to approach this new world?
In particular, I have to put my tax situation in order, do you know a good tax advisor from whom I can ask for advice? (Iโ€™m Italian but I live in Franceโ€ฆI donโ€™t know how long it will beโ€ฆ) )
Beyond that, any advice is welcome.
Thank you!
Maria

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What's the best warm destinations in Europe in the winter?

 

by @jammingsloth | 1yr 1 year ago | 33 comments

Planning ahead for the winter. Iโ€™ll be in Spain in the Fall and want to go someplace warm for the winter in or near Europe, but not Schengen. Was first thinking Cape Town, but the internet is slow and it is very far. Was also thinking:
Israel - but airbnb listings are very pricey.
Morocco?
Turkey - maybe a little chilly.

Any other suggestions?

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What's the best bank account for a global nomad?

 

by @barrybjjoubert | 1yr 1 year ago | 25 comments

Dear all
As a wanna be nomad figuring out a way to get free of the rat race, I was wondering what is the best bank account to have while travelling the globe? I need an account where is easy for me to receive payments from all over the world and it also need to be a bank that I can find almost anywhere in the world. I want to avoid carry cash on me if itโ€™s possible.

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Recommendations for UK/Scotland accountants that understand remote businesses?


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

Looking for recommendations for reliable accountants who understand how remote businesses with off-shore freelancers and clients work. Thanks!

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What's the best CRM/system for managing remote work opportunities?


by @panoramica | 1yr 1 year ago | 3 comments

Iโ€™m currently doing some work through Upwork, but itโ€™s sporadic and Iโ€™m keen to get more active on other platforms like Freelancer, Toptal, CodeMentor, Fiverr etc

Currently Iโ€™m managing leads in a Google sheet. Basically itโ€™s just a list of projects I pitched for, how much I bid, what I did differently from the last pitch/bid, how much time went by before I got a offered a job etc.

Iโ€™m not actively following up anybody, and Iโ€™ve in fact โ€˜lostโ€™ a few jobs where the client was keen, but then disappeared without a trace. I guess I need to keep in touch with those people to ensure that they remain focussed on our agreementโ€ฆ

Iโ€™m also keen to take on more small projects concurrently, without dropping the ball on any of them.

Iโ€™ve done a quick Google and turned up a few names including Salesforce, Zoho, Nutshell, HighRise, Base, Nimble, etc etc. But testing out all these products isnโ€™t all that appealing, so I thought Iโ€™d ask here first :slight_smile:

Ideally Iโ€™d like something that integrates with remote job boards in some way.

Feature list

Iโ€™ve done some research and currently have this feature list:

Proposal building & tracking

  • Compile proposals from snippets - technologies, past projects
  • Quickly pull together a realistic/client friendly quote
  • Test and measure different approaches
  • Beat proposal deadlines while maintaining quality
  • Fine tune pitch material to bid more quickly and win more work โ€“ templates
  • Store history about past projects involving common needs and technological solutions
  • Learn which proposal content is working, and which is not

Lead generation and client management (CRM)

  • store info about regular clients
  • track remote projects which Iโ€™ve pitched for
  • Remote Job Board integration
  • search multiple job sites for keywords
  • track projects across multiple remote platforms โ€“ API integration / message alert/response

Project Management & Scheduling

  • Break projects down into granular tasks
  • Gantt chart to visualise overlapping jobs
  • Calendar to schedule daily work, deadlines, R&D
  • follow up, plan and schedule future work now, rather than once current work has dried up
  • offline reminders via a dedicated Android app
  • time tracking โ€“ to get an idea of true cost, to flag issues to client
  • BitBucket integration

Billing

  • Integration with Xero
  • tracking status of payments, actual payment date vs expected payment clearance date

Marketing

  • Get repeat business
  • Build Word Of Mouth
  • Proactive lead generation
  • Publish proposals as case studies

Cheers,
Dan

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What's the best place to incorporate an online business?

 

by @octave | 1yr 1 year ago | 63 comments

I have an commerce website. We get around 1000 orders per month and this is going to get quite a bit bigger in next few years.

I am British. I live in Thailand.
Im not allowed to majority own a Thai business and small foreign entrepreneurs are not really welcome. So i need an offshore company.

I need PayPal and an ecommerce internet merchant account. Also looking at alternatives like worldpay. 2checkout etc

Does PayPal need me to be a resident to the country i register my account to? Are there complications being a non resident to get other payment solutions?

Apparently in Hong Kong you need 2 years trading history to get an Internet Mechant Account and they generally turn their noses up at those with less than $1m(us) a year turn over. Singapore seems a bit easier.

I really want to avoid paperwork and book keeping. I hate it.

So i was looking at Seychelles, Panama, BVI, Belize.

Does anyone have experience with payment providers in these countries?

Most nomads i see donโ€™t really have a high volume of small monthly transactions which i do. Im going around in circles and donโ€™t know where to start.

Ill also need a bank account for business and a personal bank account to pay my salary into

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Are there comparable companies like Iglu in Thailand?


in Thailand by @stiensf | 2yr 1 year ago | 2 comments

You can look up the Iglu company in Thailand. It is a legal way of working in Thailand with a work permit for digital nomads. Are there other companies in Thailand offering work permits for digital nomads? They charge you 30% of your salary, which is a lot. Are there other companies charging less than Iglu or have a different pricing scheme?

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What's the best mobile-data option in New Zealand for nomads?


in New Zealand by @goldsaj | 2yr 1 year ago | 2 comments

Hi All! Iโ€™ve heard Spark and Vodafone are the best. I plan to move around, so I care mostly about having good coverage, and all Iโ€™ll need is around 1 GB of data or so.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

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Is there a US bank for easily creating new business checking accounts remotely?

 

by @tylertringas | 2yr 1 year ago | 23 comments

Every accountant is going to tell you that you really should be keeping separate accounts for all your businesses and even projects that may one day become businesses. But in my experience setting up a new account associated with an actual business entity is a pretty annoying process involving an in-person visit to a bank branch, proof of residence in that branchโ€™s region, etc. Has anybody seen a bank that letโ€™s you easily create a simple business checking account online and more importantly that would let you add additional accounts and transfer funds between them?

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Remote worker in Amsterdam: taxes and legal status?


in Amsterdam, Netherlands by @think | 2yr 1 year ago | 1 comment

Hi all,

I am moving to Amsterdam in January and looking for advice regarding legal status.

I work for a small French company. They agreed to let me move to Amsterdam as a remote worker starting January. :v:

However, they have no business entity and no employee in the Netherlands, so we have no idea how to set up the whole thing legally speaking. Should I remain an employee of the French entity, should I charge them as a consultant/contractor?

Of course, I am looking for a solution that is both simple and with minimum taxes :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Thank you for your help!!
Steph

PS: If you can recommend a good accountant that is competent on the topic, I an happy to pay for the service too!

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Where can I go for remote working while surrounded by nature (ocean waves, mountain, etc)


by @nish81 | 2yr 1 year ago | 7 comments

I have this dream scenario in my head, and Iโ€™ve searched for a while without figuring out how I might best achieve it. I donโ€™t need many places, just one or two that I can go back to over and over again. I want to be working on my laptop while being surrounded by nature; for example a place right on the ocean where I can hear the waves crashing and look up and see them, then look back down and go back to work (but it would have to be very close by to achieve this feeling, not a distant sea view).

In itself this might not be so hard but my total list of requirements makes it difficult:

  • Fast internet: at least 20Mbps down with ethernet connection possible.
  • Very close to emergency medical services: so not in the middle of nowhere, and ideally in/very close to a decent size town (I have some medical issues)
  • Not more than ยฃ70/night to stay
  • It doesnโ€™t have to be a residence: it can also be a coworking space that meets all these requirements, and I can stay somewhere else and work at this space

So far I thought of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: there seem to be some flats with a nice ocean view, although Iโ€™m not sure how close to the ocean they can get. And maybe also Valencia?

Anyway, Iโ€™m not sure if anybody else has had this kind of dream as well. But I would very much appreciate any tips for places I can check out :slight_smile:

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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

Iโ€™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?

Iโ€™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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What's better? Puerto Vallarta vs. Playa del Carmen in Mexico?


in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico by @oskar | 2yr 2 years ago | 12 comments

Iโ€™m going to travel to Mexico by the end of february and i would like to know which place do you recommend to stay at for a month or so. Which one would fit better for a digital nomad? Pros and Cons for each place are welcomed :smile:

thanks!

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