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For years, Malta has punched well above its weight. With a population of only 413,000 people, it has its own armed forces, embassies across the world, an impressive education system and a thriving tourist industry. Now, however, the country is seeking a safe economic passage through the EU’s current recession, and it aims to do this by encouraging new industries and wealthy property buyers.

These are not hollow aspirations: in the past year Malta has introduced tax legislation designed to attract international high-fliers. Last January, there was the introduction of the Highly Qualified Persons Rules, which aim to bolster the financial services industry and stipulate that incomers in a range of executive positions in financial services will pay tax at a rate of only 15 per cent, provided they have an income of at least €75,000 a year for five consecutive years.

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