Top 10 Expat-Friendly Countries with No Capital Gains Taxes (2024)

Jon Miksis Jon Miksis clock Updated July 4, 2024 tourism Dream Destinations
by Jen
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Dreaming of a tax-free life abroad? As an international investor who has been to over 60 countries, I’ve compiled a helpful guide to expat-friendly countries with no capital gains taxes.

As someone who has navigated the complex world of international taxes, I understand the importance of finding a place where your financial goals align with your lifestyle needs. That’s why I’ve put together this guide on expat-friendly countries where you won’t face capital gains taxes.

With Canada’s recent hike in capital gains tax and President Biden’s FY2025 budget proposal that would double the long-term capital gains tax to 39.6%, it’s time to look at better options. This guide focuses on 10 countries where you can live without paying capital gains taxes. From Singapore to Monaco, I’ve handpicked places that balance financial perks with great living conditions.

This list is your gateway to understanding where you can enjoy your earnings to the fullest while experiencing new cultures and communities. Let’s explore these tax-free countries that could be your next home.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. Tax laws and regulations are subject to change and can vary greatly depending on your circumstances and where you reside. Always consult with a qualified tax accountant or other relevant professionals to get the most accurate and up-to-date advice tailored to your specific situation.

Top expat countries with no capital gains taxes in 2024
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What are capital gains taxes?

Capital gains taxes are what you pay when you sell something for more than you spent to buy it. Think about when you sell stocks, a piece of real estate, or even a valuable painting. If you sell any of these for a profit, that profit is what’s known as a capital gain.

For example, if you buy a house for $300,000 and sell it later for $400,000, the $100,000 you made is subject to capital gains tax. Different countries have different rules about how much tax you need to pay on these gains.

Some countries, like those we’ll explore in this guide, don’t charge any capital gains taxes at all. This can be a big benefit for expats looking to maximize their investments.

Now, let’s take a closer look at Singapore, where vibrant living meets zero capital gains tax.

1. Singapore

Singapore ranks highly on the list of countries with no capital gains tax. Unlike many places where selling assets like properties or stocks can lead to a hefty tax bill, Singapore lets you keep the full profit from such sales. This policy is clear-cut: profits from the sale of assets are yours unless trading these assets is your core business.

This zero tax on capital gains is a big plus for expats. It means less hassle at tax time and no surprises chipping away at your profits from investments. It’s ideal for professionals who are looking to move their career to a global hub without complicating their financial life.

Singapore not only offers this financial perk but also a high standard of living and a strong economic environment. In my opinion, it’s one of the best tax-friendly countries for expats, offering clear benefits for your wallet and your lifestyle.

Singapore is one of the top expat-friendly countries with no capital gains taxes.
Singapore ranks highly among countries with no capital gains tax, allowing you to keep full profits from asset sale.

2. Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the best tax-free countries for expats. Here, private capital gains on movable assets like shares are usually tax-exempt. This exemption applies unless your trading activity classifies you as a professional dealer.

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However, if you’re looking to invest in real estate, be aware that Switzerland does tax capital gains on property. But even here, the system has its perks. The tax rates and rules vary by canton, which means you can strategize where to buy. For example, long-term property holdings are favored. The longer you hold your property, the less tax you pay when you sell. This progressive system rewards patience and planning.

Cities like Zurich and Geneva not only offer economic stability but also high quality of life. You’ll find excellent public services and stunning natural landscapes. Whether you’re relocating for work, retirement, or lifestyle, Switzerland provides a blend of financial savvy and lifestyle quality that’s hard to beat.

Read also: My 20 favorite destinations to visit in Switzerland

Image of Switzerland with houses and mountains in the background

3. The Bahamas

If you’re considering a move to the Bahamas, the financial advantages are compelling. There are no taxes on capital gains, estates, or income here. To enjoy these benefits, you need to either buy property worth at least $750,000 or secure a residency permit.

Living in the Bahamas isn’t just about tax benefits, though. It’s about waking up to the sea, meeting friendly faces, and joining a community that’s laid-back yet vibrant. Life in places like Nassau or the Exumas can be expensive, but without the major taxes, it often works out financially.

The only significant tax is on national insurance, which you and your employer will pay to fund local benefits.

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This is how you give back to the community that welcomes you.

For many expats, the Bahamas balances out as a great place to live: minimal taxes and a quality lifestyle.

Moving to the Bahamas means no taxes on capital gains, estates, or income with property ownership or residency.
Moving to the Bahamas means no taxes on capital gains, estates, or income with property ownership or residency.

4. New Zealand

New Zealand doesn’t have a general capital gains tax, which is appealing for expats. However, there are exceptions. If you sell a property within ten years of buying it, you’ll pay taxes on the gain, especially if you bought it with the intent to resell. Also, profits from financial instruments like stocks are taxable, either when sold or based on their accrued value over time.

One of the world’s most beautiful countries, I’d highly recommend a move to New Zealand, I’d suggest looking into Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown.

Auckland offers a dynamic job market and is culturally diverse. Wellington, the capital, is known for its vibrant arts scene and easy accessibility, ideal for those who prefer city life without the sprawl.

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Queenstown is unbeatable for nature lovers, with its access to some of the best outdoor activities and landscapes in the country.

Calm night scene in Auckland harbor

5. United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a big draw for expats with its zero personal income and capital gains taxes. It’s pretty straightforward—you earn, you save, with none of it going to taxes on your income or investment gains.

Dubai is popular for its energetic vibe and career opportunities, perfect for those looking to boost their careers while enjoying a lively city life. Abu Dhabi offers a quieter, family-friendly atmosphere with plenty of cultural depth. I’d recommend it for those seeking a balance between work and family life.

However, moving from countries like Canada, the US, or the UK, you might find the weather and cultural norms a bit of a shift. The UAE is much warmer, and the cultural landscape is deeply rooted in traditions that might be new to you. It’s a good idea to read up on local customs and prepare for a significant change in climate.

The UAE offers expats zero personal income and capital gains taxes, simplifying finances
The UAE offers expats zero personal income and capital gains taxes, simplifying finances

6. Barbados

Barbados is a top destination on the list of countries with no capital gains tax. The island doesn’t charge capital gains, wealth, inheritance, or gift taxes, keeping financial matters straightforward.

VAT is set at 17.5%, and the corporate tax rate is 9%. Non-residents only need to pay taxes on income earned within Barbados, topping out at 28.50%. For expats choosing where to live in Barbados, Bridgetown, Holetown, and Speightstown are my top picks.

Bridgetown is the heart of the island with a lively mix of modern conveniences and historical sites. Holetown offers a quieter setting, ideal for those looking for a serene beach lifestyle. Speightstown provides a blend of less commercial, authentic local life, which makes it attractive for those seeking to integrate more closely with the community.

Barbados combines a relaxed atmosphere with a simple tax regime. It’s ideal for expats prioritizing ease and quality of life.

Vew of a beautiful sandy beach in Barbados

7. Hong Kong

Among the countries with no capital gains tax, Hong Kong ranks high up on the list. However, if you’re selling assets, keep in mind that these might be taxed if the transactions are considered trading activities based on your specific situation.

Living options vary across the city.

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Central is ideal for those looking for a bustling work environment and active nightlife. For families seeking a quieter but accessible lifestyle, the Mid-Levels area is perfect. Meanwhile, Tsim Sha Tsui offers a cultural mix and beautiful harbor views.

With its straightforward tax situation and range of living options, Hong Kong is well-suited for expats looking to balance work with an engaging lifestyle.

Hong Kong has no capital gains tax, but asset sales may be taxed if trading activities are considered.
Hong Kong has no capital gains tax, but asset sales may be taxed if trading activities are considered.

8. Belgium

Navigating the capital gains tax landscape can be complex. However, Belgium stands out among countries in Europe with no capital gains tax, though conditions apply.

Capital gains on personal assets typically escape taxation if they fall within what’s deemed normal private management. However, this term is subjective and leans heavily on individual case law.

Speculative actions like quickly selling shares after purchase or a substantial sale price increase could trigger a 33% tax rate. Companies face a different scenario; their capital gains are taxed at the corporate income tax rate of 25%, with a lower 16.5% rate for substantial participation.

Real estate rules vary. Selling your primary residence is tax-free if you’ve lived there for a year before the sale. Other real estate sold within five years attracts a 16.5% tax, but sales after that period are exempt. For undeveloped land, a 33% tax applies unless you’ve held it for over eight years.

While it’s not the simplest system, Belgium’s approach to private capital gains on shares is mostly tax-free. This positions it among the more appealing countries in Europe for those looking to optimize their tax situation.

Image of colorful houses and lake in Belgium

9. Bahrain

Looking for minimal taxation? Bahrain is your place. Here, there are no taxes on income, sales, capital gains, or estates, except for businesses in the oil and gas sector. These specific industries face taxes on profits from oil and gas extraction or refining.

Living in Bahrain is ideal for those who enjoy a lively cultural atmosphere and sunny weather. It’s perfect for expats seeking a dynamic community with top-notch schools, modern healthcare, and plenty of entertainment.

However, remember that Bahrain upholds its traditions alongside its modern amenities. The country offers a unique mix that might just be the right fit if you’re looking for a place that respects the old while embracing the new.

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Bahrain offers minimal taxation, except for the oil and gas sector, with no taxes on income, sales, capital gains, or estates.

10. Monaco

If you’re on the hunt for places with no capital gains tax, Monaco should be at the top of your list. Honestly, it’s an amazing place! The stunning views and upscale lifestyle in this South of France gem are unmatched, and the financial benefits are just the cherry on top. Living here means you’re in one of the most exclusive spots in the world, all while enjoying some serious tax perks.

Monaco doesn’t charge capital gains or net wealth taxes. It’s a paradise for those looking to keep more of their wealth in their pocket. However, there’s a twist for those coming from France. French expats need to know that moving to Monaco doesn’t necessarily cut all ties with the taxman back home—France might still tax your worldwide assets.

Thinking about settling down here? You’ll need to snag a Carte de Residence by securing a local address and promising to stick around for at least three months each year. For full tax residency, make sure Monaco is your primary home by living there at least 183 days a year or spending the majority of your time annually.

Image of Monaco with buildings, boats, and mountains

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about countries with zero capital gains tax

Find answers to your questions about countries with no tax on capital gains in our FAQs.

Which EU country has the lowest capital gains tax?

Belgium has some of the lowest capital gains taxes in the EU. Private individuals generally don’t pay capital gains tax on the sale of shares if held for personal investment purposes. However, this exemption doesn’t apply if the selling is speculative or professional.

Belgium has low capital gains taxes for private individuals, except for speculative or professional sales.
Belgium has low capital gains taxes for private individuals, except for speculative or professional sales.

What are examples of capital gains?

Examples of capital gains include profits from selling stocks, real estate, or other investments at a higher price than what they were bought for.

Which country has the highest capital gains tax?

Denmark is known for having the highest capital gains tax rates, with individuals potentially paying up to 42%.

Which countries have no tax on dividends?

Countries like the United Arab Emirates and Bermuda have no tax on dividends.

The top expat-friendly countries with no capital gains taxes
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