Monaco is a place straight out of a James Bond movie — a place filled with opulence, charm, seduction, and a touch of the exotic. When it comes to population, this small country is the richest in the world; poverty is non-existent, and extravagance is the norm.
Land of the Wealthy
There is no 1 percent in Monaco. A third of its citizens are millionaires, and poverty has been long forgotten. Yachts, sports cars, planes, penthouses — everything is for sale if you have the money and the right contacts. Maseratis and Ferraris are regular sights on the streets, and even visitors can get to drive the fanciest cars they want with a swipe of a card. If cars aren’t your thing, the annual Monaco Yacht Show might be the place to spend some cash. The country is a bastion of the global order. More than half of its residents are immigrants and wealthy immigrants at that. Monaco is the place where the wealthy go to enjoy their wealth. There will be no judging eyes or loose lips as even the most affluent are commonplace.
A Tax Haven Like No Other
Taxes — or the lack of it — is the primary draw of the small country. No income tax, wealth tax, or capital gains tax — you keep what you’ve earned. Corporations are still taxed, and there is a VAT (value-added tax) on most items. Even with the sky-high property costs, there is no property tax. You’ll get charged a flat 1 percent of the annual rent if you lease your property, and you’ll need to pay a 33 percent tax on profits if you ever sell real estate. The tax on real estate only applies if you profit from the transaction. Losses from previous sales can even offset the profits you make on a later sale as long as it does not exceed a 5-year period. There are no gift or inheritance taxes for direct descendants, but there is an 8 percent tax when gifting to a sibling and a 16 percent tax when gifting to an unrelated individual. Monaco may be a tax haven, but it is no Switzerland when it comes to bank secrecy. The country has begun signing transparency agreements with several countries to dissuade the more shady individuals from taking residence.
Making a Home in Monaco
Whether it’s the taxes, the opulent lifestyle, or maybe even the Formula 1 Grand Prix, once you decide to be a resident, you’ll need a bit of commitment. Residency is not permanent, and you would need to reside within the country for at least three months. You’ll also need to provide proof that you have a place of residency within the country (bought or rented for a whole year) and that you have the money (around €500,000). After going through a series of residency cards that need to be renewed every three years, you can finally apply for citizenship in your tenth year.
Monaco is where the rich come to play and be themselves. Wealth is commonplace, and you can live a luxurious and extravagant life with no government dipping into your bank account.