Tag Archives: Second Passport

Singapore Tops Hong Kong as Residence for Mobile Rich in Asia

Hotel guests are seen at the infinity pool at the SkyPark atop Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Courtesy of photographer: Sam Kang Li/Bloomberg

According to Bloomberg news; Singapore topped Hong Kong as the most desired place in Asia for so-called mobile millionaires to reside, with quality of life cited as the main attraction, a RBC Wealth Management (RY)survey showed.

Almost a third of the millionaires in Asia who live, work or spend more than half their time outside their countries of origin prefer Singapore, while 24 percent pick Hong Kong, the second most popular in the region, RBC and The Economist Intelligence Unit said in a joint research report yesterday.

Singapore topped Hong Kong as the most desired place in Asia for so called mobile millionaires to reside, with quality of life cited as the main attraction, a RBC Wealth Management survey showed.

Real estate led the list of preferred assets for the internationally mobile wealthy, according to the survey, which showed 23 percent of those in Singapore reporting a “high propensity” for property investment, compared with 7 percent in North America. The island’s home prices climbed to a record in the third quarter, prompting the government to restrict home loans and cap property development. Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook Inc., moved to Singapore in 2009, and Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, relocated there in 2007.

“Singapore always has this quality as a safe haven, not just for your money, but also for your family,” said Wai Ho Leong, a senior regional economist at Barclays Plc in Singapore.

For mobile millionaires who moved to Singapore, 89 percent ranked quality of life as important and 83 percent cited the country’s political stability as important, the survey showed. Infrastructure and educational opportunity were also given as reasons to live there.

Most Millionaires

Singapore posted a 14 percent increase in millionaire households to 188,000 last year, when the Asia-Pacific region countered a decline in wealth in Western Europe and the U.S., according to a Boston Consulting Group report published May 31.

The proportion of millionaire homes in the city was 17 percent, the highest in the world, followed by Qatar and Kuwait, according to Boston Consulting Group. Singapore has a population of 5.3 million, of which about 2 million are foreigners.

“High net worth individuals with global outlooks for their businesses and families are choosing Singapore to live and invest in,” Barend Janssens, the Singapore-based head of RBC’s wealth-management unit for emerging markets, said in a statement.

The city-state is grappling with the elevated inflation that comes with years of economic growth and population expansion on an island smaller than New York City, with rising demand fueling record property and car prices.

Property Boom

In the three months ended Sept. 30, the island’s private residential property price index rose 0.6 percent to a record 208.2 points, according to government data. In prime districts, apartment prices gained 0.2 percent, compared with a 1 percent increase in the suburbs.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore told lenders on Oct. 5 to restrict home-loan maturities “to curb continued upward pressure on residential property prices,” in an attempt to avert a housing bubble. The government said in September it plans to cap the number of homes that can be developed in suburban projects as it seeks to curb the increasing trend of so-called shoebox apartments.

The cost of a permit to own a small car for 10 years rose to an unprecedented S$78,523 ($64,300) on Dec. 5 from S$46,889 at the start of the year. That excludes the cost of buying a car. The government auctions limited vehicle permits to control congestion and pollution.

“Only if you’re very young and highly qualified would you want to rough it out in Hong Kong for a few years,” Leong said. “But once you have kids, the pollution gets to you, the lack of greenery gets to you, the crowdedness gets to you.”

Doing Business

Hong Kong is the best place to do business, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The city of about 7 million people secured the top position in an index based on six criteria including the degree of economic integration and labor costs. Singapore ranked ninth in the index published in March by Bloomberg Rankings.

Hong Kong acts as the gateway to China, the world’s most populous nation, with free-market policies and low corporate taxes.

“Hong Kong is a very big financial center in the region and in recent years has also benefited a lot from China opening up its markets,” said Frances Cheung, a Hong Kong-based strategist at Credit Agricole CIB. Hong Kong is “about the opportunities, especially in the financial world.”

The World Bank ranks Singapore and Hong Kong top in its gauge focused on the ease of doing business. The Washington- based Heritage Foundation has named Hong Kong the world’s freest economy for 18 successive years.

See the full article from Bloomberg here.

Panama – City of Knowledge offers no taxes for research and high tech corporations

Panama has established City of Knowledge in order to attract research and high tech corporations. This includes internet commerce, bio and nano tech corporations. Only 15 minutes drive from down town Panama City it also offer great life style possibilities.

 

Panama City, Republic of Panama     Picture courtesy of Photoatlas

City of Knowledge

Being part of the City of Knowledge implies a commitment to innovation and sustainable development, but it also involves a broad range of benefits designed to make your operations more effective.

Here are some of the direct benefits for affiliates and users recognized by the City of Knowledge:

  1. Tax and immigration benefits through affiliation to the City of Knowledge Foundation project.
  2. Telecommunications, IT and educational technology services, including an intelligent high-tech center with the required capacity for teleconferences, distance learning, fast internet connections, and other services.
  1. A Point of Presence -POP- with direct access to the land portion of 5 International Fiber Optic cables that go across Panama (PAC, SAC, ARCOS, Pan-American and MAYA).
  2. Infrastructure and buildings in good maintenance condition, easily adaptable to various uses.
  3. Technical, administrative and consulting services. Constant electricity flow (99.9%) with redundant power supply from the Panama Canal thermal plant located 300 m (328 yards) away in the Miraflores locks.
  4. Complementary accommodation and catering service.
  5. Sports and recreation facilities.
  6. Access to the major higher learning and scientific research centers in the country.
  7. Access to the Panama Canal Basin, a living laboratory for scientific research and technological innovation on advanced tropical ecosystem management.
  8. Central location: next to the Panama Canal, 15 minutes from downtown Panama City, 5 minutes from Amador resort and 45 minutes from Colón city, located on the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal.

Here are the incentives for those participating in the project under Executive Order # 6 of February 10, 1998, which states the basis for the Panamanian State’s support to the City of Knowledge Foundation.

Tax Benefits

  1. Exemption from all taxes, levies, fees or import duties on machines, equipment, furniture, vehicles, appliances or materials necessary for the operation of companies accepted into the City of Knowledge Technopark.
  2. Exemption from Service and Personal Tangible Asset Transfer Tax (ITBMS) on machinery, equipment, vehicles, appliances and materials purchased or necessary for the operation of companies accepted into the City of Knowledge Technopark.
  3. Exemption from any taxes, fees, duties or levies on overseas money remittance when such money remittance or transfer is done for the purposes of companies accepted into the City of Knowledge Technopark.
  4. Innovating companies producing, assembling or processing high-tech goods or rendering similar services for sale in the local or international market at the International Technopark of Panama (ITP) will have the following benefits:
    1. Their activities, operations, transactions, procedures and transfers of personal and real property, purchase and import of equipment and construction material, raw materials, machinery, tools, accessories and supplies will be a hundred percent free of direct taxes, levies, fees, duties and national taxes. This includes income tax exemption for companies.
    2. Their capital will be free from direct national taxes, including patent or license tax.

Immigration Benefits

The State will grant special visas to foreign staff entering the country to contribute to the development of the City of Knowledge project. For further information, see the Immigration and Naturalization Bureau website.

Labor Benefits

Companies affiliated to the City of Knowledge are authorized to hire any international staff necessary for their operation.

taxmoneyhavens.com

Irish passport granted based on investment, start of a business or Irish ancestry

The Irish government is offering special residence visas to foreign individuals willing to invest in the country.

This new program began on April 15, 2012, and if you make the investment, it can lead to full citizenship. Irish citizenship opens the door to full personal and commercial access to all 27 countries in the European Union.

Ireland’s aim is to attract both money and wealthy individuals from outside the EU who want to take advantage of new and existing investor schemes to immigrate to Ireland.

The virtue of an Irish passport is access to all EU countries, plus visa-free travel to over 150 countries, including the entire British Commonwealth.

Under the new 2012 programs potential Irish investor immigrants have several choices, including an investment in a low-interest bond, or  a venture capital fund, or a property investment or government securities. The minimums amounts range from 500,000 euro to 2 million euro ($627,000 to $2.5 million).

There is also a separate residence visa program for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to start an innovative business valued at a minimum of 75,000 euro ($94,000).

There is another citizenship options in Ireland as you can use Irish ancestry to claim an Irish passport.

taxmoneyhavens.com

Uruguay to attract foreign residents with tax exemption

More than a year after introducing tax laws that made certain foreign-source income taxable to all residents of Uruguay, the Uruguayan Government decided to provide a tax exemption for all foreign residents in order to keep the existing foreigners in Uruguay and encourage their continued future immigration into the country.

 The new exemption, enacted in May 2012, provides foreign tax residents (non-Uruguayan citizens who spend more than 183 days per year inside Uruguay) a five-year tax-free window during which they will not be liable for income tax on any foreign source income. Foreign tax residents retain their non-resident tax status for five-years. After the five years expire, foreign tax residents must pay a 12% income tax on foreign interest and dividend income like all other Uruguayan residents; however, all other types of foreign income will still be tax-free, including capital gains, pensions, rents, etc.

In order to ensure that foreign tax residents are not taxed twice on their foreign income, Uruguay has also agreed to forgo taxes on foreign interest or dividends if that income is already taxed by another country. Uruguay will thus provide a full tax credit for any foreign taxes paid. This added incentive is significant because many foreign residents moving to Uruguay are already paying significant taxes in their home country. This is particularly true for citizens of the United States, who pay taxes on their world-wide income.

The news certainly calmed many foreigners still living in Uruguay, many of whom were very upset and frighten by the government’s decision to enact a world-wide tax on interest and dividend income. Some of the foreigners had already left Uruguay and opted for friendlier tax jurisdictions like Chile, Paraguay, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean. More important many more foreigners was considering to exit Uruguay unless this tax exemption was introduced rather quickly.

This new exemption will entice some of those foreign residents to return to Uruguay. The new tax exemption will certainly encourage prospective foreign residents to consider Uruguay again.

Evidence of Uruguay’s great past (Uruguay was a very rich country in the beginning of the twentieth century with higher average pensions and salaries than that of Italy and France as late as in the 1950’s) can be found in the old city / down town Montevideo with its great architecture. The long term decline of the country since then has made it affordable. Average salaries and pensions are now considerably lower than that of Italy and France giving the country a low cost level compared to Europe. The depression in the last decade was the worse recorded in the history of the country and created an historical opportunity for investment in Montevideo with its architectural treasures.

With great nature, good climate, beautiful beaches, colonial architecture, rich in agriculture commodities and fresh water resources, as well as a renaissance of the old city center /  down town Montevideo, many foreigners are looking at Uruguay as an interesting country. The government’s latest tax exemption shows prospective foreign residents that Uruguay is serious about attracting them to the country.

www.taxmoneyhavens.com

Belize – Offshore corporations, offshore banking and residency possibilites with no taxes.

Belize (formerly British Honduras) is the only English-speaking nation in Central America, its offshore laws ensure maximum financial privacy. These laws allow asset-protection trusts, maritime registration and encourage international business and banking.

belize-blue-hole-lighthouse-reef-480x800

The Great Blue Hole in Belize. Picture courtesy of guyspeed.com. Click on the image for larger picture.

There are no local income taxes, either personal or corporate, and no currency exchange controls. So it’s a place where you can arrange your affairs so you gain residency here but pay no taxes locally. And one of the most attractive benefits is that you can maintain your residency in Belize without actually spending much time there.

In Belize people are friendly, oceanfront real estate is still relatively cheap, and Belize’s parliament, courts and government are low tax and pro-offshore.

Designed to attract foreigners as residents, Belize’s “qualified retired persons” (QRP) program resembles Panama’s popular pensionado program. The QRP (administered by the Belize Tourism Board) offers significant tax incentives to those who become permanent residents of Belize, but not full citizens. The program is mostly aimed at residents of the U.S., Canada and the U.K., but it’s open to all.

When you qualify, you’re exempted from all taxes on income from sources outside Belize. QRPs pay no import duties on personal effects, household goods or on a motor vehicle or other transport, such as an airplane or boat.

There’s no minimum time you have to spend in Belize and you can maintain your status so long as you maintain a permanent local residence, such as a small apartment or condo. You must be 45 years of age or older to qualify and be able to prove personal financial ability to support yourself and any dependents.

Initial fees for the program are $700, plus $100 for an ID card upon application approval. The minimum financial requirements include an annual income of at least $24,000 from a pension, annuity or other sources outside Belize.

www.taxmoneyhavens.com