The principle that your home is your castle is enshrined in Western culture.
It signals that an individual has monarch-like rights to his or her own private property.
But stop paying property tax and you’ll soon feel more like a serf on the lord’s land.
And when they come to take your home, it becomes apparent that the government truly owns your land.
You are just a renter, paying property taxes of 2% or more in some locations on the property’s value. Every single year.
That adds up, especially as home values have skyrocketed over the past couple of years.
In the United States, local governments set property tax rates. But few towns opt to forgo property taxes altogether.
In the US, Alaska offers the best chance to find a community with no property taxes.
The Alaska Department of Commerce says that only 24 of 165 municipalities in Alaska charge property taxes.
In addition, “Alaska exempts from property taxes the first $150,000 of assessed value for all senior citizens (65 years of age and over) and disabled veterans.”
But luckily, if Alaska is too cold and remote for you, the world is bigger than the United States.
And if you are willing to consider purchasing property abroad, there are a number of countries which levy no property tax at all.
Turks and Caicos is one place where you will owe no property taxes. And there are no restrictions on foreigners purchasing real estate.
This Caribbean archipelago is a British Overseas Territory which also levies no income or capital gains tax.
But there will be a sizable transfer tax at the time of purchase in Turks and Caicos, ranging between 6.5% and 10% of the property’s value, depending on the property’s location and purchase price. But at least you have to pay it only once.
Plus the purchase of a home can help you qualify for residency. Depending on the location, you will have to buy a property costing between $250,000 and $500,000 to obtain temporary residency, or between $300,000 and $1 million to skip right to permanent residency.
The Cayman Islands is another Caribbean destination where foreigners can buy real estate, and pay no property taxes.
And investing at least $600,000 into the local economy, with half required to go to real estate, is one way to gain temporary residency in the Cayman Islands. But you’ll also need to deposit nearly half a million dollars into a local bank account, and keep it there for the duration of your residency.
There are cheaper ways to obtain residency, such as the two year Global Citizens Concierge Program geared towards digital nomads. Still, they only accept applications from those with six figure salaries.
The plus side is that the Cayman Islands also levies no income taxes.
Dominica, on the other hand, offers Citizenship by Investment.
That means you can purchase full citizenship and a passport from this Caribbean island nation by buying a property worth at least $200,000 — about a third of the price of residency in the Cayman Islands.
And once you purchase your Dominican property, you will owe no property taxes.
Moving outside of the Caribbean…
Malta, an island nation in the Mediterranean which is part of the European Union, also does not levy property taxes, and allows foreigners to own property.
It does, however, usually charge a one time 8% tax on the total value of property transfers — essentially a real estate sales tax.
Malta is home to a Citizenship by Investment program which requires a real estate investment of at least €700,000 (plus a €600,000 donation to the National Development and Social Fund, and other fees).
However, this program is in legal jeopardy as the European Union tries to halt it.
But buying a €370,000 property could qualify you for permanent residency under the island’s Golden Visa program.
Monaco is another tiny European country which does not charge property taxes, or income taxes.
To become a resident through its Golden Visa program, you must deposit €500,000 in a local bank account and keeping the money there for as long as you want to remain a resident.
And the high price tag doesn’t stop there.
Because of its small size — about three miles long, and half a mile wide —real estate prices can be quite extreme.
You’ll be hard-pressed to buy a two bedroom apartment for less than half a million euros. I found one single parking spot listed for a sale price of €375,000.
The Republic of Georgia is a small country on the Black Sea which identifies as European.
Here, foreigners can buy homes with no yearly property taxes.
Furthermore, Georgia is welcoming to digital nomads and remote workers, who can easily gain residency, and in many cases, pay only a 1% tax on their income.
The United Arab Emirates has no property taxes, or income taxes, and it allows foreigners to own land.
Dubai, one of the emirates, is especially appealing because of its luxury lifestyle and numerous special economic zones tailored to various industries.
Dubai offers a remote worker visa which can be renewed annually, or you could go for a three year investor’s visa by forming and capitalizing a company in Dubai.
These are not the only countries without property taxes.
Fiji is another option, if you are looking for an extremely remote tiny island in the Pacific.
Several Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Oman also levy no property taxes. But the lifestyle and human rights records may leave something to be desired…
Sri Lanka may have been a decent choice to acquire a home free of property tax, before the country began experiencing regulation-induced food shortages and civil unrest.
But if it is important to you to own a property outright, with no recurring yearly “rent” owed to the government, you have plenty of options.
That doesn’t mean you can get everything you ever wanted in one perfect location. Sometimes you have to compromise.
If you want to explore other criteria for which country is best for you, like cost of living, the strength of its passport, crime, climate, and residency options, check out our Global Explorer map here.