Montenegro, known as ‘The Jewel of the Adriatic’ has become one of the most friendly places for business in Europe. It is now a decade ago since the semi-autonomous region of Montenegro, declared its independence and went on to become a sovereign state.
Much of Montenegro’s allure comes from its shining mix of colors: aquamarine waters, green pine-forested mountains, blazing blue skies and white pebble beaches.
Montenegro was featured in the glamorous James Bond film “Casino Royale.”
Sveti Stefan near the town of Budva in Montenegro. Image courtesy of Travel the World, Wiki Commons.
Porto Montenegro – sometimes called the Monte Carlo of the Adriatic – has upgraded this tiny Balkan state from a favorite destination of average Russian and Serbian tourists to a mecca for some of the world’s wealthiest people.
However, Montenegro has also attracted a lot of attention for another reason: it is one of the easiest places to do business in Europe. Starting a company in Montenegro takes an average of about a week and requires no paid-up capital. To form a Montenegro corporation, you must follow six procedures, most of which are simple. The only documents you have to submit to the government are the articles of incorporation, corporate statutes, and list of directors.
There is no such thing as anonymous ownership of a company in Montenegro, as you have to disclose your name, any former names, and your citizenship. However, if you’re looking for a solid company to do regional business, Montenegro is hard to beat. Being a director of company could even qualify you for Montenegrin residency with a little bit of cash.
There are several other steps to form a company here, but the total cost to be paid locally in Montenegro is about USD 100.
Montenegro offers global entrepreneurs a low-tax haven where they can pay a little tax and gain access to a network of treaties.
While countries like Monaco have become less attractive as holding vehicles for patents or royalties, a Montenegrin corporation is suitable for a number of business activities.
In addition, Montenegro has some of the lowest tax rates in Europe and even the world. Corporate taxes in Montenegro are a flat 9%. While royalties and capital gains are also subject to the 9% rate, there are no surtaxes or minimum taxes for companies doing business in Montenegro. There are also no stamp duties, although real property is subject to a 3% tax payable by the buyer at transfer.
Resident individuals in the country pay a maximum 15% tax on salary earnings (9% to about $1,000 per month, 15% on the balance).
Montenegro also offers relief from taxes on foreign source income under an extensive network of tax treaties, although the United Kingdom and most countries in Europe dominate the list, along with China, Korea, India, and Malaysia, and some African countries. The United States, Canada, and Australia are not on the list.
Montenegro Airlines flies to the capital of Podgorica and to the Adriatic Sea airport of Tivat from European cities including Paris, Rome, Budapest, Zurich, Moscow, Frankfurt, Istanbul and Ljubljana. JAT Airways, the Serbian national airline, flies to Belgrade from most European capitals, and has several flights a day from Belgrade to Podgorica and Tivat. A return ticket for a 45-minute flight from Belgrade costs USD 125.
Contact us if you want to set up a Montenegro company.
The US domination of the global banking system coming to an end ?
International payments for trade are typically routed through the US banking system in New York, and settled in US dollars.
China launch CIPS (China International Payments System).
Image Chinese Yuan courtesy of Prison Planet, Wiki Commons
A few years ago China started working on an alternate competing system whereby international payments no longer needed to clear through the US. It’s called the China International Payments System (or CIPS) and it was launched early October 2015
So far CIPS is just been being provisionally tested; 11 out of 19 banks using it are Chinese and state-owned. But many banks, particularly in Europe, have already agreed to join the network.
If successful, CIPS could take a substantial market share from the US banking system, giving foreign banks and governments less and less reason to hold US dollars and US government debt.
Macau is a former Portuguese colony and was administered by Portugal from the mid-16th century until late 1999 when it was ceded to China. Macau became the second Special Administrative Region after Hong Kong.
In 2002, the government of Macau enacted a law from 2001 which legalized gambling, and offline casinos opened up. Macau’s Internet gambling sector was regulated in 2003.
Today, Macau is the gambling center of Asia. Its offshore financial sector is growing but still is nowhere near the size of Hong Kong.
Macau by night courtesy of Inamoka, Wiki Commons.
Macau has many different types of corporate structures available, allowing for a wide range of liability.
- Unlimited Liability Company (S.N.C.)
- Mixed Liability Company by Quotas (S.C.)
- Mixed Liability Company by Shares (S.C.A.)
- Limited Liability Company by Quotas (L.D.A.)
- Limited Liability Company by Shares (S.A.)
- Limited Liability Company by Sole Owner (S.U.L.)
Macau companies are exempt from tax on the first 200,000 MOP (Macau pataca), or roughly $25,000 USD, and the next 100,000 MOP is taxed at 9%. Remaining income is taxed at 12%.
Unlike Hong Kong, there’s no territorial taxation system in Macau. Worldwide income may be subject to tax. However, under the Offshore Regime of Macau, companies can be fully tax exempt if they do not operate in MOP currency, do not target Macanese persons, and do not focus on other Macanese companies.
Unlike Hong Kong, where you pay tax depending on the source of income, Macau has taken a different approach of either full tax exemption or full tax liability.
There is no sales tax (VAT) in Macau.
The Offshore Regime creates two types of offshore operations: Offshore Commercial Service Companies and Offshore Auxiliary Services Companies. Both are designated International Business Companies (IBC), but are significantly different from the IBC legislation of Belize, Seychelles, and so on.
The differences between Offshore Commercial Service Companies and Offshore Auxiliary Services Companies lie within their scope of operations. While auxiliary services companies can only perform duties for holding or parent companies, commercial service companies are free to conduct business with anyone. Auxiliary companies pay a lower annual fee—between 4,000 and 10,000 MOP less per year.
All companies in Macau—even those registered under the Offshore Regime—must prepare and file financials. The costs of forming a regular or offshore company in Macau are higher than in Hong Kong, but not by much.
Residents are liable for income tax on salary from employment with Macanese companies or salaries paid into Macau, which means that if you work remotely for a foreign company, you pay no tax. This can be used to live and work tax-free in Macau.
There is no capital gains tax, capital duty, capital acquisitions tax, inheritance tax, wealth, or sales tax.
In late June 2015 the Deputy Finance Minister of Greece Nadia Valavani revealed to Greek television that the government and banks had agreed that people would not be allowed to withdraw cash from safe deposit boxes for as long as the capital controls were in place.
Earlier this year, on 1 April 2015, Chase bank in the US advised clients who rent safe deposit boxes from them that there would be some changes in their policies, by giving them this message,
Notice the the following condition: “Contents of box: You agree not to store any cash or coins other than those found to have a collectible value.”
Picture Courtesy “Safe 01” by Корзун Андрей, Wikimedia Commons.
The banks are convincing people to put their wealth into cash, and their cash into banks in the form of deposits. They’re being assisted by many of the world’s governments, which are increasing the level of legislation that controls what individuals are allowed to do with their own wealth.
After this is completed, the bank customers are “sitting ducks’ for confiscations of their cash holdings. These will of course be implemented by the banks, and in order to maximize the amount that will be taken, it will be necessary to force people out of other forms of wealth storage and into bank deposits.
And even in a confiscation situation, banks would be reluctant to raid safe deposit boxes, as they would a) have to force them open, and b) have to deal in some way with the non-monetary contents of the boxes, such as documentation and fine art. To do so would glaringly expose the banks as plunderers (assuming the theft of deposits had not already achieved that end).
In the future, we can expect to see more steps taken by banks and governments to squeeze people out of other forms of wealth storage like precious metal, fine art, jewelry, etc. and to deposit the wealth as cash in the banks.
The EU, US, Canada, and several other jurisdictions have passed bail-in legislation the last few years, opening the possibility for confiscating the cash deposits of bank customers, if they deem this necessary.
Believe it or not, you just wake up one morning, and your cash deposits have been raided.
In addition to The United States, here are four other countries where you can own arms:
The Swiss are not only allowed to have guns, but many citizens were traditionally required to own one and go through training on how to use it.
Switzerland’s laws require having a permit in order to be able to buy certain firearms, and these are attainable relatively easy.
Swiss flag image courtesy of Wiki Commons
Czech Republic is another place in Europe where you relatively easy can get a permit for gun ownership, also for most foreigners who live there.
There’s no limit to how many firearms you can own and you can carry a concealed firearm.
Private possession of a large variety of guns is allowed for Estonian residents under a license. These can be obtained for any number of reasons, including self-defense.
The government maintains a record of individual civilians licensed to possess firearms and ammunition, but private sale and transfer is allowed, as is concealed carry.
Most types of firearms can be legally purchased in Paraguay, but a license is required and a central registry of gun ownership is maintained.
Even as a tourist you can legally buy weapons in Paraguay.