Heyo here are Lenny and Freja writing ! )
We want to live a 100% self sufficient and peaceful life by creating our own permaculture project!
We are not sure though, where our vision can get realized.
We were looking a lot into tax laws for different countries throughout Europe and didn't succeed yet finding a good country that matches our criterias.
That's why we thought of seeking help by you beautiful people in this forum!
Here is our criteria:
We would like to be around Europe (not necessarily EU)
We'd like to have sth like Mediterranean climate (growing bananas)
We don't want to pay property tax (land tax) on our land.
We like to be in a country that does not tax low income (like Germany: till 8000€ or Spain: till 5500€ a year ) -> because we will have a super low income but don't want to support actions of governments with tax
It has been quiet difficult to find a country in Europe that matches with this criteria. But that is due to non easy accessibility to such information by governments.
Some countries almost match our criteria (like Spain), but than fail, because of property taxes. But maybe there is a country that can match and somebody of you knows about it.
Especially for countries in southern east Europe (like Albania) we don't have much information.
Although mostly not within your criteria, land tax laws in parts of the US have ways to minimize land taxes that others may want to learn. In the US many states have policies that favor agricultural use of land. Each state is different, there are scenarios where someone could have very low land taxes with agricultural exemptions. For example in New York State you can find 100 acre farms that pay almost nothing in property taxes. The minimum gross income from agricultural sales in NY is 11k per year to qualify on 7 acres producing food. The home and surrounding land that is part of the house area are not exempted, so wanting to minimize taxes a modest structure that doesn’t have a lot of bathrooms or bedrooms could avoid excessive taxes. Timber production can also be included and separate exemptions on woodlands are also available. These exemptions can recaptured by the state if you convert the property to non-agricultural use such as housing or commercial development, so that needs to be factored in. Each state is different and some are easier or harder to claim an exemption. One caution is in some areas I have seen people buy farther out in rural counties and found that their property taxes are higher, acre to acre, than more populous areas.
What I do is see what people pay in property taxes, and then from that, derive an average per acres to see if I am paying more or less than normal. Like my Grandfather, I know he pays $15,000 on only 600 acres of land, so I know he averages around $25 an acre. A friend pays $30,000, but has 900 acres, so he is averaging $33 an acre. Me, I pay $29 an acre, which is about average in this particular town that we all happen to own land in. (Other towns are higher/lower in taxes).
This is not completely accurate; as me, my friend, and my Grandfather, all have multiple houses on this land, but it allows me to quickly make determinations on how much property taxes would be if I bought more land. (Obviously at $29 an acre, I am not buying many more I can tell you that! HOLY CRAP!)
But the other thing is, it is possible that you also can get subsidies on this land too. I get an annual subsidy because my farm is designated "Vital to the State of Maine Agriculture." We have the highest soil fertility in the state, lots of open land, and so the State wants us to keep it in farming. Because I do, they pay me for that annually. It is not much, $23 per acre, but only on open land, but there is no way to add too that acreage amount, or take it away, it is just something they came up wih in the 1930's, and has stuck.
But one thing to keep in mind is, as much as we all complain, deep down inside it is an honor to pay property taxes because that is how all of society operates. And rightfully so. Society is like one big cooperative, and can do things so much more efficiently then I ever could alone. As an example, it would be stupid, and expensive, to plow the road of snow everytime I need to go somewhere. Collectively it is so much cheaper to just let the town pay for its snowplowing for everyone. And yet, as much I do for myself as I can, and dislike some things government does, I still prefer living in a civilized society. Unfortunately, that requires taxes.
A sincere thank you to all of Permies Forums for making Christmas special to Katie and I, and our four daughters. Thank you!
Historically, land has been the source of wealth. What else would you tax?
Taxes may seem like a pain, but if you refuse to pay taxes in a society that only operates because everyone contributes to keep things like roads, utilities, and emergency services running, what right do you have to those services? That says nothing of countries that provide universal healthcare or any form of socialised medicine, or a social safety net as a carrot to the stick of law enforcement to keep crime down and people safe. The real freeloaders aren't those who have to take advantage of social safety nets, but those who view taxes as a thing to be avoided at all costs.
No, I don't agree with how things are taxed in a lot of cases. I'd prefer a green shift-type strategy, myself, where avoidable dangerous pollution is banned outright, and carbon pollution is taxed. I have no problem with this translating to higher energy costs, as long as there are mechanisms to avoid passing those costs on to those least able to pay them.
To my way of thinking, it's nonsensical to tax income. It literally disincents people from productivity in some cases. We need, I think, to use taxes to both encourage good behaviour, both personally and by business, and to punish bad behaviour.
So things that sequester carbon get tax breaks, or carbon credits with actual purchasing power in a carbon credit marketplace. Imagine if a properly carbon cost-accounted land management scheme could be used to get a partial, or even complete, break on land taxes. Imagine if one could, by using permaculturally-aligned management techniques, increase the rate of carbon sequestration in a system, and have that be a source of income, not just a tax break. Imagine if soil-building was worth a certain dollar value.
Considering your particular wants, Lenny and Freja, I suggest you look at Spain, probably the north eastern part, though I know of at least one community in north western Spain that is paying people something like 3000 euros a piece to move there, and 3000 euros for each child, born or brought over.
But I would expect that, unless there's another way for the society in question to pay for those things, that there will be a correlation between how much taxes are paid per capita and the quality of the services those taxes provide. There is a reason that, in poorer countries, or even in poorer areas of affluent countries, you see gated communities, or individual gated compounds, with private security, for those who live with any hint of affluence. That's because not enough taxes are collected to allow for a coherent law-enforcement regimen, so individuals fend for themselves. Depending on the situation, this might also mean the need for private utilities, including water, waste disposal, and power.
I think there are more important issues to consider over tax laws. I think it more important to be aware of corruption on levels that directly impact private citizens, and of situations that incur other costs at the expense of property taxes, such as fear over the need to be solely reliant on onesself in a situation where local law enforcement is less than reliable, for instance. In the case of a permacultural operation, what good is it to invest your time and energy in the land if someone can come along and set fire to it all, or to steal some from you around harvest, with no repercussions because the police are too few on the ground?
Taxes in good society pay for that kind of assurance, that one can work in peace, and because of that peace, be allowed to keep the fruit of one's labours, without someone trying to take it away, to exchange money for goods in a setting where one can be reasonably assured that the seller is going to be held accountable for any malfeasance, and get one's goods, and onesself, to market.
There's a lot more to it, and yes, I don't always agree with how my tax dollars are being spent, in the same way that I don't agree with how taxation is carried out where I live. But that is something that you work to change to everyone's benefit, not avoid so that others carry the cost of your burdens on the system. If you need examples of the harm that kind of culturally-embraced tax-evasion can cause, look at the financial straits that Greece has been in historically. There is apparently a strong grassroots sentiment that considers paying taxes foolish, largely because there are no consequences for not paying it.
So I would look at the original premise. But the untied states is probably out. Canada only wants self-sustaining taxpayers, so that's probably out too, unless you can credibly claim refugee status. Spain is considered one of the easier places to emigrate to, apparently. But I think the original assessment on the nature of taxes leaves a bit to be desired. I think looking at the services provided for the level of taxes paid is probably the wiser plan, along with, you know, what it takes to emigrate to different countries. I suspect some simply won't take you. Unless I began the lengthy process of claiming my European citizenship through my mother, I would likely have issues moving to some of the nicer places in Europe, even with a Canadian passport.
Good luck, in any case. I hope you get things figured out in the best way possible for your situation.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Also consider subsidies. in the EU you can claim subsidies on agricultural land, we could (we don't) claim more here per hectare than we pay in tax, but it has to be kept in what they deem a "farmable" condition.
Were I, I'd look first at the "neighborhood". Something along the lines of what Chris said. To the extent possible, I'd want to "fit in" immediately by nature of my ethnicity, language and general appearance. The social situation is really very important to Quality of Life. I would want to be able to make friends easily and quickly w/out having to jump roadblocks and navigate mine fields. These are things which nobody can know what the future will bring. But at least don't try to homestead in the middle of an ongoing war zone where you look like something _both_ sides will shot on sight.
Don't put bean counting at the top of your search criteria.
Unless, of course, there is a political statement involved here?
I would also compare what you'd pay in taxes to what services you'd like to receive in return. Some countries provide a lot more services than others, and taxes vary based on your income too. In the US if land is classified as something other than residential, and the structures you have are not as expensive, the tax cost is much lower. For example I see land in Washington classified as timber which costs $1 per acre per year, while residential 1/10 acre plots with a house is about 1.2% of value per year, which in my area is $4500-6000 per year, or about $500,000 per acre!
That said, there is a lot of services provided in dense suburbs relative to remote rural locations, but you can purchase several acres classified as non-residential and then have just 1 acre converted to legally cover the bases, and still pay way less per acre. Also Washington has no income tax, but has higher sales tax. So if you're a tightwad like me, then taxes on that front are very low. Several states in the US have no income tax.
I'm not quite a lumberjack, but that's OK, I sleep all night and I dream all day; I'll coppice trees, I'll grow my food, and compost poo and pee! With a well and off-grid solar, it's a permies life for me! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FshU58nI0Ts
Well, they did say they wanted to be in Europe, so the USA is out even without figuring taxes in. However, in defense of the US, there are states that do not have personal property taxes AND in some other places, the taxes are very low. For example, in our low-income county in Missouri, we have 75 acres with a house and outbuildings but have never paid even $100 per year for the 27 years we've been here.
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