Officially the ‘Bailiwick of Jersey’, this financial center is the furthest south of the Channel Islands, a series of British Crown Dependencies located just twenty kilometers from France’s northern coastline. While UK currency is accepted on the island – and likewise Jersey’s own currency within the UK – the island is not governed by Britain’s standard tax code or economic requirements.
A popular financial center for Britain’s ultra-wealthy, living in Jersey can result in some worthwhile taxation and business benefits. Financial services amount for over sixty percent of the island’s economy, taking advantage of a flat 20 percent income tax rate and minimal GST. However, this low-tax destination is only for true high-rollers – foreign residents are required to have over £5 million in assets to qualify for property ownership and other privileges.
6. Hong Kong
Home of skyscrapers, immense crowds, and some of the world’s best food, Hong Kong is one of the world’s most amazing cities and a business-friendly destination in every sense. While the small Chinese-run territory has done its best to brush off a reputation as an irresponsible financial haven, the island’s investment and service economy continues to thrive due to ultra-low tax rates.
There are no capital gains taxes in Hong Kong, leading many ultra-wealthy investors to establish their companies in the territory to avoid overseas taxes. Income tax rates are capped at 17 percent, making this exotic Asian megacity one of the most financially appealing in the continent.
While Hong Kong, Monaco, and Jersey demonstrate the best of what offshore financial centers have to offer, the small Pacific island of Nauru unfortunately demonstrates the worst. This ultra-poor island has relied on foreign aid and wacky tax regimes for the better part of the last century, with a small minerals boom in the early 1980s providing the only break from long-term unemployment and overseas assistance.
After a bizarre attempt at branding itself as a center for tax avoidance and money laundering in the 1990s, Nauru took up another strategy for gaining national income: supporting newly established countries. Their latest ‘declaration’ was South Ossetia, an international decision that’s due to land the ultra-small nation almost million in international aid.
Singapore is no stranger to foreign wealth. The small city-state has been one of the world’s most prosperous countries since the early 1960s. Due to its trade-friendly location and smart investment decisions, the small country has established itself as one of the world’s leading financial management and international business locations.
While not a tax haven per se, Singapore’s business-friendly laws make it a more attractive location for business than neighboring countries such as Malaysia or Thailand. Over forty percent of the island’s population are citizens of countries other than Singapore, many of whom live in the city-state for the sole purpose of establishing an international business – a hugely popular location for overseas removals.