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8 Expat-Friendly Countries with No Capital Gains Taxes

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If there’s a number one rule at Nomad Capitalist, it’s that everyone should go where they are treated best.

That conviction and how to find legal ways to help people achieve is what makes us get out of bed in the morning. Our teams travel the world looking for places which roll out the welcome mat for foreign investment, making it easy for you to grow your wealth, diversify and keep more of your own money.

One of our key strategies is to help you reduce your tax exposure so, naturally, we pay a lot of attention to issues like capital gains tax. Taxing a profit from the sale of property or financial holdings like stocks and bonds is a significant consideration when choosing where to invest and how to maximise your offshore strategy.

At Nomad Capitalist, we believe that paying capital gains tax is frustrating, discourages investment and prevents capital from reaching its highest potential.

You can read our extensive research on which countries charge the highest capital gains tax rates separately. But the flip side of that particular coin is knowing which jurisdictions savvy investors can invest in to take advantage of favourable capital gains tax rates.

Many countries, including the usual players like Barbados and tax havens like the Isle of Man, impose no taxes on capital gains whatsoever but there are also a few surprising options out there, like Egypt and Iran.

The focus at Nomad Capitalist is on no-capital-gains countries that are friendly to expats and offer a high quality of life.

For an investor looking to hold stocks and other investments in their own name rather than an offshore corporation, the countries listed below carry no capital gains taxes and may also provide an excellent base for your Nomad lifestyle plan

These eight nations offer appealing tax incentives and exemptions on capital gains, making them popular choices for investors and entrepreneurs. Some lead with no capital gains tax on securities trades, other popular tax havens levy no capital gains at all while others base charges on various factors and exceptions. 

Counting down from number eight, Switzerland is one of the most welcoming environments for international business and investors. 

8. Switzerland

Switzerland
Switzerland is a beautiful country but, even better, it doesn’t have a capital gains tax.

Switzerland, one of the world’s renowned centres for banking and stores of wealth, makes the list with no capital gains tax on securities trades.

Gains from selling private property are not taxable, while gains from business properties are taxed as income taxes. However, cantonal or municipal taxes are imposed on both types of property.

Switzerland taxes capital gains on other investments and stocks if you’re trading for a living, but otherwise, there are no capital gains. With Switzerland’s progressive tax rates, the longer a property is owned, the lower the tax. Canton-level rules apply for immovable property, with the tax burden ranging from 25% to 50%.

In short, it pays to understand that not everyone goes to Switzerland for the cheese and high-quality watches. Thanks to its progressive taxes, owning property here is more affordable than you might assume. 

7. Singapore

Singapore Landmark business district
Singapore has an awesome economy and does not impose capital gains taxes.

Singapore again joins the list of nations offering competitive incentives for entrepreneurs and capital. The thriving city-state continues to attract foreign capital with its strong banking security and alluring tax incentives.

Gains from the sale of property in Singapore, profits or losses from trading shares or financial instruments and payouts from insurance policies are generally not taxable as they are considered capital gains or personal investments.

In fact, until recently, there was no capital gains tax in Singapore. However, as of 2024, Singapore has started taxing foreign-sourced disposable gains, including capital gains from the sale of foreign assets. 

The move represents a significant shift in Singapore’s tax system, which previously only taxed revenue-based foreign-sourced income. The determination of whether an entity has ‘economic substance’ in Singapore will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Still, while some aspects of financial policy have become tighter for expats and newcomers to the country, Singapore remains a solid choice among English-speaking, low-tax nations for the time being. 

6. The Cayman Islands

cayman islands
The Cayman Islands is ideal for those who love the sun and want to avoid capital gains tax.

The fact that the Cayman Islands made it to this list is hardly a surprise – with its high standard of living, the possibility of living in the Caribbean and no capital gains tax, how could it not?

The Cayman Islands is a well-known tax haven and overseas banking hub. As one might expect from this pro-growth jurisdiction, no capital gains taxes are charged on any transaction here.

Other jurisdictions may tax Cayman Islands entities but the British overseas territory doesn’t impose an additional tax burden on capital gains itself.

This English-speaking island nation offers an excellent business environment for foreign investors, bolstered by a high quality of life and all the perks of living in the Caribbean with its solid tourism infrastructure.

5. Monaco

taxes in Monaco
Monaco doesn’t have capital gains tax, making it a business-friendly location.

Monaco is the epitome of wealth. The crème de la crème come to live and invest here and not be burdened with capital gains tax – unless they’re French, in which case they have to pay. C’est la vie.

Monaco understands the benefits of making a tax and business environment that is attractive to foreign wealth; thus, capital gains are not taxed. That’s why glamorous Monaco is one of the world’s most famous tax havens and has long been a magnet for the ultra-wealthy.

The Principality offers numerous paths to residency and may be a valuable part of your strategy if you are a high-achieving entrepreneur looking to elevate your investments.

4. Belgium

Belgium
Although not a tax free country, people in Belgium don’t pay capital gains tax.

Belgium is living proof that capital flight is real. Many wealthy individuals have fled here: Actor Gerald Depardieu famously moved a few miles over the border to escape France’s high-income tax regime.

Belgium’s own tax system is quite demanding but there’s no capital gains tax here. Other taxes may apply based on different criteria, so it’s essential to understand the full scope of taxation.

Still, while Belgium may not be completely tax-free, its personal income tax rates are certainly more favourable than its neighbour, France. Another French exile – billionaire head of luxury giant LVMH, Bernard Arnault – also moved from France to Belgium for ‘family inheritance reasons’, but seasoned observers surmised it was to avoid a new ‘super tax’ imposed by French socialists.

It’s essential to note capital gains in Belgium are not 100% tax-free. The deciding factor on whether capital gains are taxable is whether they are realised privately or can be attributed to business or professional activity.

Generally, capital gains are not taxed if they can be considered part of the normal private management of personal assets. However, ‘normal’ is largely subjective and often determined by case law on an individual basis.

If, for instance, you sell your shares shortly after acquiring them or there is a significant difference between the purchase and sales price, your activity may constitute speculative intention and subject you to a 33% capital gains tax.

Capital gains realised by a company are subject to the normal corporate income tax rate of 25%. Other capital gains that involve ‘substantial participation’ will be taxed at a rate of 16.5%.

Special rules also apply to mergers and splits, trading company losses and shares, capital gains derived from IP, embedded royalties and infringement compensation. There are many caveats and exceptions, but all private capital gains on shares are generally exempt from tax, except for fixed-income securities.

Your private residence is also tax-exempt as long as you occupied it for at least a year before selling. Any other building sold within five years of purchase is taxed at a rate of 16.5%. Otherwise, it is also tax-free.

Capital gains from the sale of undeveloped land are taxed at a rate of 33% unless the land is sold after holding it for at least eight years. 

Finally, if you benefit from the expatriate special personal income tax regime, the rules apply only to Belgian-source capital gain tax.

In short, Belgium isn’t exactly a low-tax country, even by European standards and, as you can see, the capital gains landscape is tricky to negotiate. However, Belgium’s (mostly) zero capital gains rate makes it one of the more attractive jurisdictions in Europe. Nomad Capitalist is here to help you overcome the obstacles.

3. New Zealand

New Zealand
New Zealand’s free economy makes it ideal for tax residency.

New Zealand isn’t called heaven on Earth just because of its stunning nature and scenery. It has one of the very few, truly free economies on the planet so you can forget about capital gains taxes here.

According to the Heritage Foundation, New Zealand is one of only six ‘free’ economies in the world. It offers investors and entrepreneurs stability and independence and is a growing ‘safe haven’ jurisdiction for assets.

New Zealand does not impose a capital gains tax on the sale of equities or other investments. It does have a formal law stating that real estate purchased for the express purpose of resale can be made subject to capital gains taxes. However, this law is rarely enforced.

2. Belize

Belize capital gains tax

Belize is coming more and more into the investor-immigration equation as it takes second-residence options for expats more seriously.

Located near Mexico’s tourist-filled beaches in Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize has been an expat-friendly haven for decades. Since winning its independence from Britain in 1981, the country has made itself one of the more attractive places for expats with cash.

The country is competing in a tough market with numerous second residency options available in other Central American countries. But considering Belize is a small, independent, English-speaking country, it’s no surprise so many expats flock there and boasting zero capital gains taxes for residents and non-residents alike doesn’t exactly detract from its appeal.

Belize is considered a tax haven, thanks not only to the lack of capital gains taxes but also because it offers the option for business incorporation with tax exemptions, minor property and income taxes for residents. 

1. Hong Kong

Hong Kong
Hong Kong does not tax capital gains.

If it’s true that there’s no place quite like Hong Kong for investors and entrepreneurs then, near the top of the list of reasons why, is the fact that this banking, financial and expat hub doesn’t impose capital gains tax.

While it might be appended to the world’s foremost Communist powerhouse, the Special Administrative Region of China is the freest economy in the world and a bastion of expats, bankers and professionals worldwide. Grab a drink at any view bar on a Wednesday night and you’re more likely to run into someone from Long Island than Hainan Island.

Hong Kong does not tax capital gains as part of its tradition of respect for capital but, as with every rule, there are exceptions. Among these are shares issued to employees as part of a pay package – these are taxed at the city’s flat income tax rate. 

The potential issue with this concerns expats who leave before receiving all proceeds from their shares – they will likely owe tax in two countries, as Hong Kong has few dual taxation treaties. So, it pays to be careful and plan for such contingencies. Unrestricted shares and options are free from capital gains taxes.

For investors, Hong Kong is one of the world’s most crucial financial markets, though it’s also worth bearing in mind that the current political situation is far from ideal. Officially, Hong Kong still operates under the ‘one country, two systems’ policy, though this has come under strain in recent years, emphasising the importance of diversification.

At Nomad Capitalist, we consistently advise clients not to put all their eggs in one basket. After all, even the freest economy in the world can fall prey to draconian government rule and other crises. Still, with careful planning you can protect your assets and weather any storm that comes your way. Talk to Nomad Capitalist about creating your crisis-proof, holistic Action Plan today. 

Capital Gains Tax Considerations

This comprehensive overview of global destinations where you can invest to minimise taxes on capital gains shows that opportunity comes in many forms and some of the countries on this list offer incentives for high-achieving entrepreneurs who want to be smart about their internationalisation strategy. 

Our list isn’t exhaustive and there are other capital gains tax-free options out there. For instance, no British Crown Dependencies nor most British Overseas Territories (CDOTs) apply a capital gains tax.

But the list does illustrate the point that many locations want your business and money and are willing to create attractive tax incentives to facilitate both. All that’s left is to determine which jurisdictions work best as part of your offshore strategy. 

Still, as we constantly remind clients, bear in mind the international, capital gains landscape is a problematic one to negotiate, which is where we come in. Here at Nomad Capitalist, we’re committed to finding you the best places in the world where you can grow and keep more of your wealth. If you want to learn more about building your nomad strategy, reach out to our team today.

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