Tax free work in the sun, sounds good to me | A blog by Business Butler

Tax-free work in the sun, sounds good to me

Most remote workers will know the joy of working in the sun. It can be nice and rejuvenating to get your work done in the garden, feeling the breeze on your face when the weather allows it! The pandemic locked us all down but it did allow some workers to have a new sense of freedom when deciding how to conduct their work from home. Some even decided to jump on planes, trains, and automobiles to set up camp in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Coming with the change of how working from home can be, schemes have been put in place to actually make it easier for workers to jet off, work, and make it easier for them to stay for weeks or even months at a time.

Digital nomads

Some countries have put measurements in place to help out workers who migrate to work for periods of time. Barbados was one of the first countries to make arrangements for workers to use their “welcome stamp” which was first launched June in 2020. In order to qualify for this, workers must earn over £37,000 during the 12 months they are in the country. On top of this, they must also pay £2,000 for the application, furthermore, the worker would not need to pay income tax while remaining in the country.

In a recent article it was discussed that Malta has also launched a ‘nomad residence permit’ which allows workers to live in the country once they are earning £2,230 a month, applicants who want to take part in Malta’s permit must pay €300 per person. Among these countries taking part; Iceland has also been operating a long-term visa for remote workers since October of 2020, Bermuda has also implemented a “work from Bermuda '' certificate, Sri Lanka and Spain are also planning to follow these footsteps.

Freedom to travel

These schemes all work in a similar fashion. In order to take part, workers must pay to do the application to obtain the rights to stay in the country to work for their employer who is based somewhere else. These visas usually last a year but typically you can extend your time once the year is up if needed. Once you have your permit in place, you can rent a property to live in and can have the freedom to travel in and out of the country for work.

Working in paradise

This sounds good, right? Having the freedom to do your job from another country. Before you decide to pack your bags and run off through the night, there are certain things to bear in mind before making the plunge!

Lee McIntyre-Hamilton of Keystone Law who has specialties in global mobility said in a recent article: “Being a digital nomad can be made to work. However, it is seldom as straightforward as people sometimes think. Obtaining a visa is just the start of the process.”

A software developer named Alex Lilburn decided to move to Barbados from the UK in January of 2021 after completing his application for Barbados’ welcome stamp. Mr Lilburn is quoted saying, “I saw a piece on the BBC headlined something like: Working remotely? You could be working from paradise.”

The aforementioned article discussed Barbados so Mr Lilburn decided to look into the practicalities from going through with it. He said: “I worked from home before, but suddenly there was no expectation from clients that we would turn up once a month. I spoke to my employer. They were very supportive and said if there were no tax implications, they would help make it happen.”

It is refreshing to read about employers being so open with ideas as extravagant as moving over to work in Barbados!

Corporate tax issues

In some cases being employed means you can be contractually obliged to work from where your employer is, jetting off overseas might not be an option for everyone! The act of moving away could potentially trigger certain obligations within your company. An example of this could be, the payment of social security contributions in the country you move to could become tangled. Mr Lilburn said “For example, if a UK citizen and employee of a UK company went to live and work in Spain indefinitely, they would immediately trigger an obligation for their UK employer to register as a foreign employer and operate a payroll there,” He went on to mention that your presence could also prompt a corporate presence for the company overseas and what that demands for corporate tax could rise. Moving away with the help of one of these permits can’t be done without consulting your employer first! It can be more straightforward if you are self-employed but of course you would still have to discuss it with your clients.

Dreams come true

Will you be jetting off to work remotely from Barbados or any of the other gorgeous aforementioned destinations? It is a very interesting time for remote workers, what is your next step? Your dream of working abroad could come true quicker than expected!

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