If there is one town that is linked to casinos, glamour and the high life- it is Monaco. Monte Carlo sits up there with Vegas as one of the planet’s top gambling towns. And wait untill you hear the latest holiday package to the principality.
But before you phone your travel agent, or book this on expedia, there is one stipulation. You’ll need to prove that you own assets of $30 million. Not a problem for you? OK- then read on.
Monaco is at the centre of the storm brewing at the G20 on tax havens and it is starting to feel the heat. So it has gone on the defensive. Or rather onto the attack. They are marketing the enclave as the perfect millionaires holiday destination. And the target market is those 90,000 odd individuals who have enough lolly in their bank accounts. These people have been classed as URIs, or Ultra Rich Individuals. (We prefer über rich individuals).
If you are a URI, you should receive an invitation from the Royal House that is being referred to as the “key to Monaco”.
When you flash your diamond encrusted URI card, the shop assistants in luxury shops around the principality have been requested to go into total sucking up mode, and private shopping will be the order of the day at luxury stores such as Prada, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Cartier. Head to the famous casino and you can expect the same red carpet treatment. Or pile into the Louis XV restaurant run by Alain Ducasse, and you’ll get a guided tour around their famous 600,000-bottle wine cellar.
OK- the nosh is going to cost you €1,000 a head, but at least you will have seen the cellars.
Need to dash about? No problem- URIs will have a helicopter on standby so that you can get your towel on the sunbeds at St Tropez before the Germans come down for breakfast. An quick tour around the Royal Palace will be also on the cards.
Monaco wants to target China and Russia, but selectively. Then they are hoping that word of mouth will get out on the URI grapevine.
The principality claims that the program is not about tourist dollars, but more about developing an exclusive “Friends of Monaco” club with powerful and influencial people around the world.
Of course Monaco is already a millionaire’s paradise. Sir Philip Green lives here, as does recent Team Brawn Melbourne Grand Prix winner Jensen Button, who lives in the principality with his mate David Coulthaud. There are 35,000 residents and 350,000 bank accounts that have total deposits of in excess of £80 billion in Monaco. This huge number has been fuelled by banking secrecy and the fact that there is no income tax. The Grimaldi family is following the G20 summit and Gordon Brown’s plans with nervous apprehension and baited breath.
Prince Albert is trying to get Monaco removed from a blacklist of states – (Liechtenstein and Andorra are also on the list).
Will he succeed? Time will tell, but it seems like the tide has turned somewhat on the likes of Monaco and Andorra. But with new “Friends of Monaco” arriving at the casino and yacht clubs every day, they may just get themselves a stay of execution.
Other Tax Havens
Monaco is not the only territory that is starting to feel the heat from the G20 summit in London. Other tax havens that are in the firing line include:
Andorra. 0% personal income tax.
Anguilla – A British Overseas Territory and offshore banking paradise
Anjouan – offshore centre started in 2005
Antigua and Barbuda
The Bahamas- 0% income tax
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 10% corporate income tax, 10% income tax, 10% capital gain tax
British Virgin Islands: 41% of the world’s offshore companies are based here. And it’s not of the sun!
Campione d’Italia- an Italian principality in Switzerland
Channel Islands,- Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney & Sark. No tax on overseas gains.
Cyprus- thanks to its unusual staus with the EU
Delaware: a low income tax state
Hong Kong- 17% tax, no tax on foreign earnings, no capital gains
Ireland- corporation tax is only 10% or 12.5%.
The Isle of Man no corporation tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax or wealth tax. Personal income tax is levied at 10-18%.
Labuan, an island off Borneo
Liechtenstein – recently in the news over banking secrecy
Macau – similar set up to Hong Kong
Macedonia – corporate taxes 10%, income taxes 10%
Monaco- no personal income tax.
Nauru – No taxes. Period. Except at the airport.
Netherlands Antilles -under fire from te Dutch government in the same way as UK territories are in Brown’s sights.
New Zealand – no tax ton he foreign income of new residents for four years. No capital gains tax.
Norfolk Island – no personal income tax.
Russia – 13% income tax
St Kitts and Nevis
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Switzerland- complicated often secretive tax negotiations
Turks and Caicos Islands
Ukraine – 15% income tax
UK- foreigners pay a flat fee of £30,000 on their overseas inmcome.
United Arab Emirates.
United States Virgin Islands- 90% off U.S. income taxes and 100% off all other taxes