Expatriates in Malta
Foreign professionals who take up employment in Malta in target sectors instead of tax rates of up to 35 per cent, tax will be limited to 15 per cent on their salary. This option is available to qualified persons who occupy eligible offices with companies licensed or recognized by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) such as banks, fund managers and insurance companies as well as companies operating internet gaming and lottery services that are licenced by the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA).
Income from work outside of Malta is tax-free as long as not remitted into Malta. Overseas capital gains are tax-free, even if remitted.
Qualifying Contract of Employment
An individual may benefit from the 15% tax rate if the person satisfies all of the following employment conditions:
derives employment income subject to income tax in Malta;
employment contract is subject to the laws of Malta and proves to the satisfaction of the Malta Financial Services Authority that the contract is drawn up for exercising genuine and effective work in Malta;
proves to the satisfaction of the Malta Financial Services Authority that he is in possession of professional qualifications and has at least five years' professional experience;
has not benefitted from deductions available to investment services expatriates with respect to relocation costs and other deductions (under article 6 of the Income Tax Act);
fully discloses for tax purposes and declares emoluments received in respect of income from a qualifying contract of employment and all income received from a person related to his employer paying out income from a qualifying contract as chargeable to tax in Malta;
proves to the satisfaction of the Malta Financial Services Authority that the activities performed are those of an eligible office; and,
proves that: they are in receipt of stable and regular resources which are sufficient to maintain themselves and the members of their family without recourse to the social assistance system in Malta;
the applicant resides in accommodation regarded as normal for a comparable family in Malta and which meets the general health and safety standards in force in Malta;
The applicant in possession of a valid travel document; and,
The applicant is in possession of sickness insurance in respect of all risks normally covered for Maltese nationals for themselves and the members of their family.
The applicant has an annual income of at least €75,000 (excluding the annual value of any fringe benefits and discretionary bonuses).
Application to Benefit from the Scheme
An application for a formal determination relating to eligibility under the Highly Qualified Persons Rules must be made to the Chairman, Malta Financial Services Authority on the appropriate form, found on the tax authority website.
The benefit is exercised for each year of assessment by means of a declaration made on the RA17 form signed by the beneficiary and endorsed by the Malta Financial Services Authority. This form is to be attached to the income tax return and filed with the Inland Revenue Department by the tax return date.
ACQUIRING PROPERTY IN MALTA
In view of the limited number of land available for construction, Malta has always had special rules for foreigners buying property. Individuals who are not citizens of an EU-member state require a permit to acquire immovable property in Malta referred to as the AIP permit. Citizens of EU-member states who have not resided continuously in Malta for a minimum five-year period require a permit to acquire immovable property for secondary residence purposes. On the other hand, EU citizens who have resided continuously in Malta for more than five years or EU citizens who intend to acquire residence in Malta do not require a permit. Properties falling within “Special Designated Areas” are exempt from the restrictions set out in the AIP Act.
TAXES ON PROPERTY
There are no annual property rates or taxes in Malta.
The transfer of immovable property is generally subject to 12% final withholding tax however certain exemptions and opt out provisions are available. Where one opts out of the final tax, income tax is due on the adjusted capital gain at the standard personal income tax rates. Property sold within a seven year period from the date of acquisition, provided certain conditions are met, may opt out of the final tax and apply capital gains if this is more efficient. Subsequent transfers, a final withholding tax of 12% on the transfer value is applicable. Non-residents producing a certificate from the tax authorities of their country of residence to the notary can opt out from paying this final tax. The opt out is also extended to the sale of property made within a Special Designated Area provided the necessary conditions are met. A total exemption from property tax applies if the property is used as one’s own residence for 3 years prior to disposal provided the property is disposed of within 12 months from the vacation of the premise as well as donations to close relatives
Inherited property that is subsequently disposed is subject to a final rate of tax of 12% on the difference between the transfer value over the acquisition value as declared upon inheritance, where a rate of 7% on the transfer value applies if the property was acquired before November 1992.
There is no inheritance tax although a duty on documents and transfer tax, referred to as stamp duty, is due on transfers, including those arising upon death. The rate is 5% on transfers involving immovable property (including shares in property companies) and 2% in the case of shares held in Maltese companies. However certain transfers may be exempt from such stamp duty..