Monaco, low tax land of glamour

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Ah, Monaco! Monte Carlo! Images of the Formula 1 GP, Grace Kelly, James Bond holding court at the casino, the shimmering seas, the yachts. It’s all good.

Only it’s not quite like that. Yes it can be a pleasant part of the world but not everyone likes it. I do some work for small outfit that has clients in Monaco but I don’t live in the principality.

Trafic jams the hilly roads, basic goods are expensive and above all, housing makes Tokyo or Singapore look cheap.If you want the joie de vivre of the south of France, well that’s to be found elsewhere. Why? Well a lot of people live in Monaco for tax reasons, it’s a dodger’s paradise with the jet-set here on the recommendation of their accountant, not by choice. Given their prodigious wealth, some of these people don’t make much of an effort to fit in, preferring others to adapt to them.

Not that every tax dodger is like that. Several cyclists are here because of tax reasons, although their wealth is missing a few zeros to compete with the real jet-set of old money, Russian kleptocrats and certain players from the financial world.

Where I lay my head isn’t my tax domicle
But one thing is common: more people claim to live in Monaco than actually live here. I won’t name names but several rent small studio apartments in the principality but keep more spacious homes in nearby France or Italy, either rented via their other half or a friend. They pay income tax at Monaco levels, ie 0%, but live beyond the cramped conditions and crowded roads. I know for a fact that at least one well known pro does this.

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