Three Country Strategy- 180 Day Rule

As a remote worker for some 2+ decades I thought to share some insights regarding a strategy I use to deal with the 180(s) day residency rule. This note is primarily intended to alert NOMADS that I have considerable local knowledge available to share ,on the logistics of living in the 5 countries below, every year.

This life-style choice is not for everyone. As a life long traveller I feel no need to remain anchored in one 'home ā€™ location, just the opposite. Treasured possessions do not need to surround me in my day to day, which transpires largely in cyber space or between my ears. My lifestyle is not dictated by partners changeable ways, and pets have a way of finding me in any location.

The basic principle of this strategy is that tax liability in particlular jurisdictions accrues based on residency calculated in number of days per periodā€¦often now convergence is towards 180(3) days and/or 90 days in 180 etcā€¦ and so I look to stay in no one jurisidiction more than 178 days per year and no longer than 88 days in consecutive duration.

In addition to fulfilling this strategy requirement, it meets my personal life-style preference of living in the Eastern Mediterranean. Having previously lived and grown up on five continents, my choice is governed by preference for this part of the worldā€™s climate, food diet, cultural affinities, and out door pursuits.

So, I have adjusted my life style to across a choice of five countries, all easily accessible from one another by cheap cheap and local air networks, by ferry boats, by bus. I maintain an EU residency in Bulgaria, and to spend time in the halcyon islands of Greece (Athens is a charm but not always logistically convenient), Albania (the friendliest people anywhere in raw natural beauty of landscapes and pristine seas), South West Bulgaria (the most under-rated quality of life in any country ever encountered), and Turkey, where the cosmopolis of old Constantinople counties to reign as the centre of the universe for all surrounding regions, as it has done for two millenia. Turkey and itā€™s sublime coastal regions are a treasure for living in, as three thousand years of civilization can attest, no where on any of the five continents I have come to know (including North america and Europe) comes close to comparing, and by comparison, the other places are somewhat primitive. However Turkey is and has its challenges and Istanbul in particular suffers not unlike many major metropolae, from urban catastroph-acation. Cyprus I am fond of, both North and South, for its natural beauty and wonderful climate, especially in winter. But the North does not offer South western facing horseshoe bays to suit my wintering preferences, and the south seems to have lost its traditional knowledge of healthy Mediterranean eating, replaced instead by a fast food culture, and that simply isnā€™t tolerable for any duration. Ans so Cyprus receives less of my patronage then it otherwise might.

So for travel tips, accomodation tips, insights about mobile fones, bank account opening, rentals, property investment, listed investments, and a wide range of general living considerations, perhaps I may provide useful insights for the reader.

8 Likes

Interestingā€¦ :slight_smile: so what kind of phone do you use while traveling? I think Internet phone like Dingtone is the only phone that will work across five countries.

Have you ever had debit card fraud detection issues while traveling? i.e. when you use your debit card at a different country, sometimes, your issuing bank will automatically freeze your bank account and card because they think itā€™s a fraudulent transaction.

I use local pay-as-you go mobile sim cards. I also use a voip fone service provider for incoming call mesages, recordings etc and to make outgoing international calls. If Dingtone works that would be great.

Never had a bank acount frozen but have often had card access restricted from ATMS which has required contacting the banks involved to inform them and instruct them to re-adust settings.

1 Like

This is an interesting post. Please may I ask some follow-up questions?

  1. The title says ā€œThree Country Strategyā€, but then you go on to name five countries. Could you please say how you would typically spend a year - how many days are spent in each country?

  2. You say you ā€œmaintain an EU residency in Bulgariaā€. Am I correct is assuming this is your tax residency?

  3. What about accommodation? Do you have permanent accommodation in any/all of the countries or do you use hotels, airbnbā€™s etc.?

I would like to know the answers to the above questions as a starting point to further discussion.

Many thanks.

2 Likes

Where are you originally from and why have you chosen this strategy, to avoid all tax residencies? What drawbacks have you experienced?

1 Like

For this pan European mode I would highly recommend a prepaid card from three.co.uk. They have a very convenient ā€œfeel at homeā€ roaming package for data, which I had used extensively in the last 4 years. Perhaps this will change in the near future as the year ends and new brexit regulations kick in, but I can confirm it still works well

Thanks for posting!
Can you please give us your actual yearly plan?
Such as:
Ferry to ____ Dec 1 - Mar 1 ____, Greece
Ryan Air to ______ Mar 2-June1 __________

great postā€¦need more details about your strategyā€¦

Lotā€™s of questions come to mind.

  1. :chart: Do you invest in stocks, if so is Bulgaria your tax residence?
  2. :moneybag: Do you earn a salary / income or do you run a business?
  3. If salary, what is your rough tax % paid in income tax per year? If Iā€™m not mistaken Bulgaria has a residence based taxation system.
  4. :house: How about your property investments, do you look to own property in the countries you visit frequently?
  5. :people_holding_hands: Are you able to maintain friendships etcā€¦ with your lifestyle?

Thanks for sharing! :pray:

  1. I would use the max amount of days possible in the country I prefer most and spread the remainder among the others, ensuring I do not exceed the EU and EEA residency rules for tax purposesā€¦ Albania and Turkey are ideal for thatā€¦ so is Nothern Cyrpus but it is less comfortableā€¦ Quite often I spend a large proportion of time in Istanbul, Greece, Albania, Bulgariaā€¦

  2. Yes when choosing a EU residency for freedom of travel purposes, the Tax residency in Bulgaria is pretty close to being idealā€¦ Obviously that takes precedence over tax optimisation, if your travel documents are such that you need a EU residency to travel freely in he Euā€¦

  3. I have had semi-permannent (rental) accomodation in all the countrues on a short term let basis and am free to re postion easilyā€¦ Air BNB is too expensiveā€¦ local short term rents are idealā€¦ in ost of these countrus thre is also an oversupply of summer rentals proeprties that are very cheap in the winter and the climate is greaatā€¦

of course if you are on a boat there are other flexibilitiesā€¦

Tax optimisation, and maintaining EU residencyā€¦ No drawbacks because it is my preferred lifestyleā€¦ it wont work easily if you need to surround yourself ith a truckload of prsonal possessionsā€¦

Thats really kind of you for the recommmendationā€¦

I dont have a yearly planā€¦ every year it changesā€¦ and I know all the transport links very well so its prety much go as I pleaseā€¦ my time is allocated depending on my other activitiesā€¦ but if you wanted a recommendation of how to set yourself up for the first year with an itinerary and rentals etc I could probably do somthing for youā€¦ but first would be a uick trip to ā€˜tasteā€™ the locationsā€¦ it may not be acceptable to youā€¦ I love the sea and mountains so I am always happy when they are nearby

I am happy to provide brief answers to specific questionsā€¦> :slight_smile:

  1. Yesā€¦ but I am not your average investorā€¦ and yes, but not many in Bulgariaā€¦

  2. Business

  3. Yes its 10% on all incoming

  4. I dont invest in property with ā€˜buy and holdā€™ strategiesā€¦ for usage, I rentā€¦ but i do advise investors on transaction managementā€¦

  5. Yes but spread over digital networks and in places where I visit and in allof them I am a little bit famous just for being unusual in that respect I guessā€¦ but i do ot have partnersā€¦ but the lifestyle is suitable for a coupleā€¦

1 Like