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Andorra Opens The Door For More Tax Exiles

Aug 18, 2007
The demand for residency in the European tax haven of Andorra has increased significantly in recent years, as rival tax haven Monaco has seen her property prices rise significantly.

And while property prices in Andorra have increased significantly as well, particularly in the last three years, it started from a much lower base than Monaco, and a property in Andorra still costs less than a quarter of that of Monaco.

The lowest price property in Andorra is currently a 38m2 studio apartment at 145,000 Euros, while in Monaco a 30m2 studio with a 7m2 balcony is on the market for 720,000 Euros.

Similarly, a three bedroom two bathroom 100m2 apartment in Andorra's prime ski village of Soldeu is being marketed at 395,000 Euros, while in Monaco 2,500,000 Euros is being asked for a slightly larger 108m2 two bedroom apartment in the Fontvieille district of the principality.

As well as lower cost property, Andorra has the added advantage over Monaco of lower closing costs - while Monaco is in double digits Andorra's is around six per cent.

One of the reasons for Monaco's soaring property prices has been the lack of new buildings and properties in recent years. Although some new building is currently taking place, the apartments will be for Monaco citizens rather than incoming residents, ensuring key workers can live as well as work in their home country.

A new island is planned to be built off Monte Carlo which will add housing stock for new residents, but this could be as much as ten year before it is ready.

The tax benefits of Andorra compare very well Monaco, with private banking, income and inheritance tax at zero, security and privacy achieved for high net worth individuals in both.

Buying a property in Andorra is often seen as a route to residency, which entitles people to live in Andorra and benefit from her tax haven status.

To obtain residency in Andorra, applications need to be submitted in Catalan. A notarised copy of the applicants passport, birth certificate and a certificate of good conduct from the home country are submitted at the same time. According to one local travel guide residency normally takes between three and six months to be approved.

Once residency is granted, residents are supposed to spend six months a year in Andorra, but this isn't policed.

One of the drawbacks for those looking to become a resident in a tax haven when considering Andorra has been that the country has no airport of its own, and is unlikely to have ine future given that it is located in the Pyrenees. The nearest airports are Barcelona and Toulouse.

Recent improvements in the road from Barcelona to Andorra though have cut the travelling time by some thirty minutes to two hours fifteen minutes.

'Given the tax advantages Andorra has', note the guide, 'A two and a quarter hour trip to the nearest international airport could be viewed as a small price to pay for those who will be saving substantial amounts of money in taxation.'
About the Author
Residency information for Andorra can be found at YourAndorra.com

For the snowboard and ski holidaymaker, the guide also has information about Andorra ski holiday companies including UK ski company Thomson ski and the weather in Andorra with a snow report.
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