I spent a good part of my twenties traveling around the world during what was the start of the digital nomad movement.
A recurring theme that I used to hear about was the possibility of optimizing taxes by being a digital nomad.
Just walk in any co-working space in South-East Asia, and a 20 y.o. white guy from the EU or Canada will swear that flying circles in Thailand, Bali, and Vietnam for all year means that nobody has the right to tax his income.
At the time I had decided to keep things simple by just paying tax in my home country where I had always paid as a self-employed person.
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When I started to hear all the strategies others were using, however, I started to feel a bit stupid for not having optimized things. So I embarked on a journey to learn as much as possible about all the options available for legal tax optimization.
It turns out that the strategy I had opted was actually one of the safest ways to act as a digital nomad. The “clever” tactics many others were using were grey area legal schemes at best but mostly just plain old tax evasion that would most likely lead them into trouble later.
To this day, as the digital nomad revolution has grown, I still hear many of these strategies bandied around, so I thought I’d have a go at outlining how I think a digital nomad should pay his/her taxes.