Thanks to Emancipation Day — a D.C. holiday celebrating the abolition of slavery in the capital city — Americans don’t have to file taxes until April 18 this year. If you’re just learning about that now, it’s probably too late (unless you live in Maine or Massachusetts, where Patriot’s Day pushes the deadline to April 19). If you already filed your taxes, hopefully you set the mood and all the painful paperwork went down smooth as possible.
But the United States’ tax system is so hopelessly complicated, “smooth” is probably not the first word that comes to mind on tax day. Handing over money to the least liked federal agency in the country is hard enough without wading through piles of receipts, W-2s, W-4s, 1099s, and 1040s. Yet as John Oliver pointed out last year, even the IRS might not know what you need to do with all those stacks of papers you kept, let alone the papers that you didn’t keep.
Tax day is enough to make people want to pack up and move to some tax haven bordering the Caribbean — well, at least people who haven’t already established shell corporations there. But again, it’s too late for that. Here are four places with the easiest tax codes in the world for next year though.
Around 95 percent of people in Estonia file their taxes via the country’s online system. This isnt some third-party TurboTax deal either, it’s set up by the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. The whole process of doing taxes typically takes three to five minutes. No, really. And as of 2015, one-click tax returns brought that down to less than a minute.
This tiny country lodged in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain is a renowned tax haven. First off, it doesn’t have any income tax. It doesn’t get much more simple than zero. The country doesn’t have any value-added tax either, meaning no taxes on purchases. Get started now though — the path to citizenship can take more than 10 years, but just think of all the time you will save not paying taxes.
United Arab Emirates
There are no personal income taxes in the UAE. No wonder everyone seems to have so much money to toss around in Dubai. The country does, however, have a property tax for both owners and renters, as well as a tax on services. Still, if you can stand to live in a land of extravagance with million-dollar drone races and people flying around in jetpacks, things don’t get all that complicated on the tax front.
Sunshine, rum, and no personal income taxes. Good luck finding an easier key to happiness. Best of all, you don’t even have to move that far from home. While the Bahamas don’t have income taxes, things can still get a little more complicated than the two above — but still far less complicated than the good ole U. S. of A. First off, there’s a stamp duty tax, applicable to buying real estate and sending currency. There’s also a hefty importing tax. The Bahamian government shares information about non-residents with other countries, so you won’t be off the hook unless you become a citizen.