A recent announcement made by Serbia’s Prime Minister, Ana Brnabic, could make the eyes of digital nomads worldwide to focus on the Eastern European country.
The Prime Minister said, during the Coworking & Coliving Conference Southeast Europe that took place in early October in Belgrade, Serbia, that the government has plans to make the country more attractive to digital nomads worldwide.
And how to make it attractive? By offering some amazing tax incentives. For example, Brnabic announced that starting 2020, all digital nomads who reside in Serbia for up to 90 days will be exempt from paying any tax.
This is part of a greater plan that Serbia has to encourage tech-related startups and creative industries, but the tax part sounds extremely attractive to digital nomads elsewhere.
Unfortunately, the details are minimal at the moment and it’s unclear how exactly will this work. I did some research on this topic and couldn’t find anything more than the promise of 0% tax for digital nomads, for periods of time of up to 90 days.
However, before packing your bags and making your way to Serbia, there are still some important questions that are not, at the moment, answered:
– Do you have to register as a resident in Serbia, do you need to start a company there in order to benefit from this offer?
Most likely, you will – because otherwise you will be a tax resident of whatever country you’re currently registered in and still have to pay the regular taxes there.
– What will happen after 3 months? What taxes will you pay?
Of course, for most digital nomads, spending 3 months in the same country seems like a long time. However, for those who would like to stay more (or for those who register), what happens after the 90 days pass?
What taxes will you pay? I checked online and apparently Serbia has a 15% tax rate which isn’t bad at all… but at the same time they have a VAT of 20% and other social contributions that cut into your profits.
However, it is unclear at the moment how exactly would digital nomads be taxed after the 90 tax-free days pass.
Even without the answers to these otherwise important questions, one thing is clear: Serbia proves that they’re a forward-thinking country and they understand that the world is changing.
It would be a win-win situation for both the country and digital nomads if they continue to implement measures like the tax exemption they’re going to introduce starting 2020.
For example, the small Baltic country of Estonia managed to become a hub for tech startups and digital nomad-friendly companies (as well as DNs) after introducing their e-residency programs.
Being part of the digital revolution could really drive a country forward and I am extremely happy to see that smaller countries are taking measures to both help the growing trend of location independent lifestyles and boost their own economy.
Serbia is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, a country that is not a member of the European Union (nor Schengen), which makes it a really interesting choice for those who want to explore Europe and are not EU citizens: spending 90 days in Serbia can help make navigating the Schengen Area easier.
So it’s definitely worth keeping and eye on Serbia: it can become a really solid option of digital nomads starting 2020, and if even more measures follow up on the 0% tax rate, things could get even better.
The Northern part of Serbia is probably the most appealing right now: that’s where you have the country’s capital – Belgrade – as well as Novi Sad, Subotica or Zrenjanin.
On the other side, the country’s Southern regions can be even more interesting thanks to pristine views and even lower prices: cities such as Nis, or Novi Pazar are good choices, while even smaller cities next to the Danube – Negotin, Kladovo or Donji Milanovac being lesser known gems.
What do you think though? Would these tax incentives convince you to move to Serbia – or at least register your company there?