Looking to save money on your next holiday without putting forth any extra effort? With Budget 2012 coming into effect, hotel price comparison site www.trivago.co.uk has shared its top low-tax destinations with us. Many of these destinations are regarded as “Tax Havens,” and we think these breathtaking destinations are some of the most perfect places to take your next holiday from the Tax Man.
Nestled within the eastern Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain, Andorra is one of Europe’s tiniest nations. Due to the fact that it is not an official member of the European Union and often regarded as a Tax Haven, visitors are able to enjoy the benefits that the EU has to offer without the traditionally high costs—including the use of the euro. Its ‘duty-free’ status is not only intriguing to potential holidaymakers, but also a big factor which pulls them to the rugged, alpine country. With the average hotel accommodation price at £73 this month – as reported by the trivago Hotel Price Index in April 2012, it’s easy to see why so many tourists feel as though they’ve found a hidden European secret.
Central America’s southernmost country, formally known as the Republic of Panama, is one of Latin America’s most beautiful and economically prosperous. For British travellers, Panama is a great option, as the average hotel accommodation price this month is only £90. With endless beaches, multi-canopied rain forests, tropical weather and a mix of Latin American, Native American and European culture, Panama may well have something to excite you. To add to the experience, it offers a rich local cuisine, an abundance of regional festivals – with vibrant Panamanian colors and hand-crafted masks – and what seems to be a never-ending desire to dance.
Like Andorra, Luxembourg also offers tax saving benefits for travel goers to Europe. Often regarded as “tax-free” but in fact with a 15% VAT, it’s easy to see why visitors opt for Luxembourg over its next door neighbour, Germany, which instead collects 19% in value-added tax. Although one of the smallest countries in Europe, Luxembourg has one of the wealthiest populations per capita. This is evident in the fact that the country has more Michelin-starred restaurants per square mile than possibly any other country in the world. Visitors come from all over the world to Luxembourg for its famous Moselle wine, Villeroy & Boch porcelain and high-quality chocolate.
4. Isle of Man
In the Irish Sea, not far off the coast of Great Britain and Ireland, lies the Isle of Man – a quaint, cultured, self-governing Crown Dependency of the Irish Kingdom. Unlike its neighbouring cities, the Isle of Man reports having only a 17% VAT— while Dublin instead has a 23% and London 20%. For residents, the Isle of Man does not have any capital gains tax, inheritance tax or wealth tax to speak of. The family-friendly, nature-rich island is great for coastal diving, exploring shipwrecks, swimming with sharks, rock climbing, fishing, golfing, biking, hiking and much more. The Isle of Man is a great alternative for travellers looking for a cheaper, more adventurous, yet still uniquely Irish holiday.
5. San Marino
Tucked tightly into the surrounding Italy on the eastern side of the Apennine Mountains, sits the tiny enclave of San Marino. Also known as the “Most Serene Republic of San Marino,” this ‘microstate’ is not only one of the oldest sovereign states, but also one of the world’s smallest republics – with a total area of only 24 square miles. The isolated nature of San Marino is arguably what has kept its culture, history and moreover, economy, so intact. With one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe and a budget surplus, it’s no wonder world-famous traveller Rick Steves once said, “As sales tax is about half that of surrounding Italy, shoppers have long come here [San Marino] for the savings.” For those looking to experience Italian culture without the high prices, San Marino is an affordable and alluring alternative.