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Which country is best for webmasters?

 12:58 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Which country do people recommend for webmasters with no ties and income derived from a website advertising - ie no need for premises, employees, etc?

Taking into account Tax, Standard of Living, Security, etc.




 7:54 pm on Jan 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> Many rich people register in the Caiman Islands but live in Canada.

I dont know about canada .But in US you have report your worldwide income .. its not as easy as people think to conceal income thro a offshore company/bank account (unless you give up your citizenship and settle in caymen or for that matter any other carribean tax haven )


 8:04 pm on Jan 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

But in US you have report your worldwide income

But only countries with tax reporting agreements will supply this info to the US - if the IRS asks the Cayman Islands if you have any money in a bank there, they won't answer.


 6:59 am on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Try Pakistan. It may sound funny due to current situation but Pakistan offers

1. Tax Holiday for Software/Internet related business upto 2007 or 2015

2. Cheap Skilled labour.

One can incorporate in Pakistan, and work via Gulf (Dubai) if security is a concern


 7:17 am on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Florida is tax friendly, has a low cost, and high standard of living. Great lifestyle and weather too.

Once your liquid net worth is over $10 million then I guess the best place is a Caribbean island.

I favor the Bahamas simply because it is a short boat ride to Florida and no one will really know for sure where the heck you live;)

If you are a US citizen then there are issues that you should take up with a professional tax attorney....otherwise get tax free status in your country of citizenship and enjoy!


 7:53 am on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

The first thing to determine is where you are actually allowed to live and work - the situation is very different depending on whether you are British, American, etc.

Americans in particular seem to think they can just go to any country and start working there... (since you're asking about tax, I'm assuming you're only interested in somewhere you can live and work legally).

I know that in some cases it's possible to get immigration visas, work permits etc, but depending on your background it's by no means guaranteed - few countries (however shortsightedly) are interested in one-man companies.

One option for EU citizens is the Isle of Man - low (but not zero) tax, secure, excellent communications, good services, and a goverment that tries to keep things simple for businesses. Can be cold and rainy though. Property is now expensive to buy but cheap to run, much lower than UK.

It's more suited to a family base (i.e. somewhere safe for children etc), or as a base that you're rarely at, bit boring otherwise.

If you want the really quiet life, Sark is even better (almost no tax).

Otherwise, if you really mean the "no ties" bit, form the company in a good offshore country (e.g. Nevis) and just travel the world, never staying anywhere long enough to bother with residence, tax etc. Can be a great lifestyle, but you have to be a nomad at heart, and sometimes you have to move just when you're settling in to a place...


 8:03 am on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

>One option for EU citizens is the Isle of Man

That is a great place to have a bank account (best in the world bar none), especially with Barclays in Douglas that have great worldwide operations for added convenience.

But as for living there.....dang, the sun don't shine!

Nice business expense for a visit and meeting with the bank if you like watching motorcycling though;)


 8:15 am on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

But as for living there.....dang, the sun don't shine!

I know - but it makes a good home base to take extended trips from, and a place to base a company (corp. tax rate currently 10%, reducing to zero in two years time, but still within the EU for customs and VAT purposes).

I've now noticed that cpnmm seems to be British, so that really does narrow the choices down to the EU, or getting a work visa somewhere (which is a hassle in most of the nicer countries, including NZ).

I did a spreadsheet a few years ago (taking into account tax rates, cost of living, travel, social security/health insurance etc) and NZ/Australia/Canada came out top - i.e. expensive. The US varies a bit (health insurance is a major thing) but watch out when some states (like Florida) say they have "no income tax" - that's just the state tax, there's still plenty of federal income taxes, property taxes etc. plus mountains of paperwork.


 9:24 am on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am surprised no one said India.

1) Life is roller coaster ride…

2) Tax haven, forget tax, you can pay taxes as low as 10% with proper tax management, lots of loop holes in tax and law structure. Tax holiday on IT related industries 2008.

3) Very skilled, low cost talent, available in abundance.

4) Low cost of living, cheap, dirt cheap – 1$ USD = Rs.50

5) No china made goods

6) All US MNC are here – MS, Oracle, SAP, Google, Yahoo, AT&T, Cisco - you name it, we have it. Includes Mac, PizzaHut, Pepsi, Coca Cola, etc.

7) Very cheap inland air travel, hottest tourist spot in the whole world. (Incredible India.org)

8) Very good connectivity Hathway, Primis, etc. Good cellular network, cheaper rates – AT&T, Orange – GSM. WWL network covering the entire country.

9) Best places to live and hard-core party crowd – Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Banglore, Hydrabad, Kochin

10) Amazing girls!


 10:04 am on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree with you, shaadi. Infact, I was gonna post a very similar post like that, but you just did!

India is almost like the 'Home of the IT' , 1000s of Indian programmers have a degree in IT, many of them, have even gone abroad, and that too, succeeded!

I mean, Look at Krishna Bharat, creator of Google News, such a intelligent guy. And also, theres somebody (I forget his name), who is the creator of Hotmail , It was actually created by an indian, but then acquired by Microsoft. Theres also the President of InfoSpace I think, who is an Indian. So many others!



 11:10 am on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

My girlfriend just returned from traveling all over India. You have to be carefull to stay in large major cities, or even a phone will be far and few inbetween, let alone showers and clean water/air.

Don't expect a high standard of living, except in the bigcities like New Delhi.
Otherwise, no cellular network at all, and only the occassional phone/inet cafe.

Has anybody considered the Freedom Ship here? My father want's to settle there, and I wouldn't mind it as base of operations. Just have an office there and occassionally visit for holidays, when it'S somewhere in the world that you like.



 11:27 am on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

sidyadav, Hotmail [hotmail.com] was co-founder by Sabir Bhatia. He hit the news headlines in 1997, when he walked away with a $400 million deal with Bill Gates. While Rohit Sharma did a repeat with a share-exchange worth $900 million, when his 1997 infant ONI Systems merged with CIENA Corporation [ciena.com] in June 2002.


 4:15 pm on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Shaadi, India is good taxwise and costwise but if you want to explore new oppurtunities, USA is the place to live ...America is the technology/internet/ecommerce capital of the world , i dont think that status-quo is going to change in another 25 years!

Sid , siliconValley is full of indians and chinese .By conservative estimate almost 25% of all the silicon-valley high tech companies have indian or chinese founders . Also one of the most powerful technology industry association in US is TiE [tie.org]


 12:17 pm on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Go New Zealand - Middle Earth :-) If you've seen Lord of the Rings, you know why people go there!

Having just moved from Dunedin, NZ to Brisbane, Australia and now just starting my own business, NZ is far more beneficial. Just about everything is cheaper, including buying a house, particularly in the South Island. The prices of a 'nice' house in the South Island are about a 1/4 of Auckland, NZ and Brisbane, Australia.

Plus, no real concerns with poisonous/dangerous creatures in NZ.

Just don't get too attached to the sporting teams (other than Rugby) :-)

NZ is just as functional (technology wise) as Australia, if not more in some cases.

[edited by: Travoli at 4:08 pm (utc) on Mar. 15, 2004]
[edit reason] de-linked [/edit]


 2:22 pm on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)


Just don't get too attached to the sporting teams (other than Rugby) :-)

which position do you play mate? :)

Having just moved from Dunedin, NZ to Brisbane, Australia

why'd ya do that? ;)


[edited by: sidyadav at 2:26 pm (utc) on Jan. 14, 2004]


 2:25 pm on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am surprised no one said India.

Shaadi... absolutely! With a name like shaadi you are obviously in the marriage business so I'll take your point about great girls with a pinch of salt. While India regularly wins Miss World type competitions don't encourage our webmasters here to come to India for girls. They'll find a pretty one, ask her for a date and end up getting slapped by her and beaten up by her family. So nice girls... just not easily accessible ;-)

My girlfriend just returned from traveling all over India. You have to be carefull to stay in large major cities, or even a phone will be far and few inbetween, let alone showers and clean water/air.

Rubbish! Mobile access in rural India is as good as some parts of Scotland or Arizona. Landline phones are everywhere, except in the most remote areas. The genreal population shower or bath at least one a day as you'd expect in a tropical country. And even if you live in a remote Assamese village a cool, clean, freshwater spring is probably not far away (avoid big rivers though). And the air quality is appalling in the cities but so superb in the villages that it's worth dying for.

There is no question about the quality and education level of staff and the low price they are available for. There are also a lot of sops for businesses and a lot of loopholes. In fact Indian businesses thrive on the loopholes.


 2:27 pm on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

yep, I totally agree with Macro, India is an excellent place to study/start a business at. And of course, get married ;)



 3:17 pm on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Basically, a lot comes down to your priorities and standards-- the Caribbean is still cheaper than San Francisco or London but you may not like the lifestyle; the U.S. has excellent infrastructure and good business climate but a highly competitive (even adversarial) culture; some countries (Japan and Denmark for instance) have official or unofficial "zero immigration" policies which may give you a hard time legally or socially.


 5:55 am on Jan 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

sidyadav - going slightly OT - I played rugby (right wing) for one year at the age of 24, took me a long time to do it, but glad I did! Too small to play in the forwards, too slow for the backs - lol. Most guys were at least 20 kilo's heavier than me including the backs. There's nothing like being at the bottom of a ruck of 5 to 10 other people. You learn to appreciate the value of your ribs!

We moved to Brisbane for family reasons, and also wanted to experience living outside of NZ. You don't know what you miss until you don't have it :).

More reasons for NZ - your never far away from ski fields or lakes. Another reason for Dunedin, NZ - highest pubs per people ratio in NZ 8)


 6:01 pm on Jan 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here in Portugal we arenīt seen as other professionals (fortunately our image is becoming better). Even so, it still isnīt seen as a regular job. I often say that I have my own company about tech stuff. I donīt say that itīs web stuff, because most people think that itīs a kidīs job...


 9:50 pm on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just as soon as I'm making enough, I'll be moving to Sweden. I must be one of the only people around here who thinks paying high taxes is actually a good thing >;->


 10:17 pm on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just as soon as I'm making enough, I'll be moving to Sweden

Make it down the South, and don't come here in the winter, ronin. It's my first winter here, and I can't believe how cold it gets. My eyeballs actually ache from the cold when I'm outside, and getting icicles up your nostrils is an experience I wouldn't wish on my worst SERP competitor. Mind you, it's enough to make you forget about the tax issue.



 6:06 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Those thinking of moving themselves or their money out of the USA might want to check out this link:


Especially this part:

"Modify Tax Rules for Individuals Who Give Up U.S. Citizenship or Green Card Status - If an individual gives up U.S. citizenship, or terminates long-term U.S. residency, with a principal purpose of avoiding U.S. tax, the individual is subject to an alternative tax regime for 10 years. "

IIRC, I read somewhere that the US government was trying to end the exemption of taxes earned on income from work outside of the USA by US residents. And in this new Patriot Act era, folks who used to rely on bank secrecy to avoid taxes might want to reconsider just how much financial privacy and secrecy they really have.

I think I recall reading the IRS's budget for "enforcement" was to be increased by 4.6% to help with the new "initiatives", too.

Might make more sense to just pay up and focus on earning more rather than cutting the 'ol tax bill by moving out of the USA.



[edited by: midwestguy at 6:15 pm (utc) on Jan. 26, 2004]


 6:10 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Anyone living in Eastern Europe - Prague looks nice!

Yep I can recommend it, not expensive either and the best beer in the world.

Sorry forgot its -15C with a lot of snow at the moment but the summer is very nice :)


 6:49 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some folks mention India. Not too long ago I saw a documentary style program on cable. I think it was entitled something like "Make it out/back alive".

It profiled the case of an American Medical doctor/intern -- Indian too, but American citizen -- who was kidnapped by corrupt Indian police, tortured and maimed, held for ransom, put in prison on some made up "land fraud" charge, and had to have his family pay a lot of bribes to get out of prison and the country.

FWIW, I think it would be quite wise to really consider these kind of risk before moving out of the USA to some low cost destination where one would be viewed as a big rich plump American target ripe for exploit, plunder and extortion.

Maybe I'm just a bit too negative on this topic, but I've heard a lot of stories about how Americans are hated abroad. And remember, the same folks who smiled at you and were so friendly as they were taking your money when you were just a tourist/customer might prove quite hostile to you once you became a local resident.

BTW, NZ is quite a lovely place -- but it's also basically right on top of a lot of volcanic hot spots. Never know when those might blow.



[edited by: Travoli at 2:15 pm (utc) on Jan. 27, 2004]
[edit reason] toned-down [/edit]


 8:59 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

BTW, NZ is quite a lovely place -- but it's also basically right on top of a lot of volcanic hot spots. Never know when those might blow.

I only know of one active volcano and that's in the North Island of NZ. The southern alps are on a fault line but that's runs up the middle of the South Island and no where near the major centres. Dunedin harbour is an old volcano but there hasn't been any activity there the whole time I was living there.

Media, generalization and other peoples fear... there lies the source of many problems.


 9:17 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

midwestguy- you make a good point about Americans being basically hated around the world. Canadians are starting to get a bad rap too, especially as their corporations engage in less than ethical behaviour (arsenic spills near goldmines, etc...). We are also starting to deserve that reputation- and make no mistake about it, some of our nationals have unfortunately been real a**es for a few decades now, and we all suffer for it.

And yes, the world over, people see rich tourists as money machines. I can hardly blame them; however the cost to me of staying in a lot of those countries would still be less than living "at home".

As for the risk of being sent to jail and tortured- well, that happens almost everywhere. And without wanting to start a kerfuffle here, I might mention I haven't been back to the US in 3 years because of horror stories there.

I actually met people in Nova Scotia who have received an apology from the US consulate for having been illegally detained - without access to a lawyer, a phone call to the closest Canadian embassy or consulate, no charges, nothing. To say nothing of more recent cases like those of Maher Arar. The Canadians in charge of such dossiers believe there may be over a hundred people languishing in your jails, who have never been charged, or been allowed to communicate with the outside.

As a person that has been very involved in politically touchy issues (e.g. Iraq since 1999) I am especially careful. I imagine I would need to keep my political views to myself in a number of other countries too; Cuba, Korea, China, and most of the middle-east come to mind.

To get back on our thread- are there any other countries that have been recommended here that people would be afraid to live in?


 9:20 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

are there any other countries that have been recommended here that people would be afraid to live in?

Ask again in November...


 11:57 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some folks mention India. Not too long ago I saw a documentary style program on cable. I think it was entitled something like "Make it out/back alive"

Midwestguy , i am originally from india and i accept its corrupted more than USA . But what you say is too much and i blame only western media for creating this type of stereotypic image.

Until 2 years ago in US the only india related media coverage i will see is either if there was some flood/eartquake or some documentry about some weird nomad snake charmers! ...An average american always thought india as an strange poor country of billion snake charmers/magicians/gurus , have bizarre beliefs and die in a young age of disease and hunger!

But contrast to this nowadays i am seeing media hype about how India is stealing US high skilled jobs .Both this images are not true , the fact lies somewhere in the middle.

India is almost like europe and have both rich and poor states .In general the western and southern states are good and north/northeast/central states are poor and more corrupt.

Might make more sense to just pay up and focus on earning more rather than cutting the 'ol tax bill by moving out of the USA

Very true for USA citizens ...they have to report worldwide income wherever they live and it dont make sense to relocate just for tax sake...

Also its not like US citizens can just go anywhere in the world and start business/work ...Work/doing business is different than just visiting and most countries need a work permit/visa for foreigners including americans.


 12:09 am on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

well I've never lived there - but Belize is a beautiful place and has a growing reputation as a tax haven. They even have a plan in place to provide the entire country with wireless internet(its a small country).

its only a few hours from Cancun and Cozumel wich have any North American Convience you may have missed in Belize. Also they have a fixed exchange rate of $1usd = $2bz.

Besides that the people are very freindly and the entire country is just absolutly amazing.

Of course a lot of places seem great when you visit, but may lose their charm after a few years.


 2:10 am on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I found the documentary on the guy kidnapped and tortured in India -- it's this tape put out by the History channel entitled "Come Home Alive: Journey Through Torture: India":

<snipped link>

Would suggest folks view this if it comes on the History channel again. Really gives a sobering view of what happens to some Americans when they are targeted for exploitation for profit in a foreign country.

[edited by: Travoli at 1:56 pm (utc) on Jan. 27, 2004]
[edit reason] de-linked.. still easily findable. Also, no politics please [/edit]


 2:20 am on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'll be glad to never set foot in India or anywhere else corrupt police are know to kidnap Americans

and America doesn't do this to people from other countries? hmmm... I'll leave it at that.

BTW, I'm looking forward to travelling most of the places mentioned here. One cannot truly tell what it is like until they have been there and experienced it.

Never judge a book by its cover!

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