As June 30 rolls around and your mind goes into overdrive as you mentally spend that tax return, we take a moment to consider how the other half spend theirs. That champagne-on-a-super-yacht, helicopter-to-Cannes-for-lunch, own-your-own-island other half. A far-fetched dream for some, a business reality for others, here is a sneak peek into the exclusive world of tax havens. With a bit of planning, perhaps you can include a stop at one of these playgrounds of the rich and famous on your next adventure, and add a dash of super-luxury to your itinerary.
From the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, to the lavish cars that line the streets of Monaco or the tranquil turquoise waters off Caribbean islands, 'tax haven' may as well be accounting code for 'travel heaven'. A long shot perhaps, but either way these finance gurus sure know a good destination when they find one. When looking to off-set millions and set up shell companies, the world's money savvy must have a hard time selecting their preferred tax haven.
While Monaco and its 37,000 inhabitants may reside on just two square kilometres of land, quality-over-quantity is the main ethos, as the place just oozes luxury! Nestled below the picturesque Alps, it boasts the famous Monte Carlo Casino, prestigious Monaco Grand Prix and one of the world's most expensive restaurants - Louis XV. If you've still got tax-free dollars to burn after a Michelin-starred lunch, then do as the locals do and head over to Avenue de la Costa and Boulevard des Moulins for a spot of shopping.
For the more laid back tax evaders, the likes of Mauritius, Bermuda, Seychelles and the Cayman Islands are ideal duty-free destinations. Palm tree-lined beaches meet turquoise waters, hammocks and sunsets are the perfect pairing and a cocktail hour is never far away. Equally pleasant is the Bahamas, an archipelago made up of over 700 islands and cays in the Atlantic Ocean. Here you can submerge yourself in crystal clear water, admire seamless beach horizons and even frolic with local swimming pigs. For a change of scenery, simply hop aboard a luxury yacht and set sail to another island... No tax, no tie required.
If you've ever shopped with Amazon, chances are some of your hard-earned dollars have made their way into Luxembourg, home to their European headquarters. This tiny tax haven borders Belgium, Germany and France and really packs a punch in terms of variety. Outside the finance arena, Luxembourg is famed for its medieval ruins, rich history and architectural diversity, plus a good smattering of fine art and elegant dining. Claiming corporate catering has never been easier!
The United Arab Emirates is another huge player in the tax-free game, Dubai being a particular standout. Sitting at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, the city offers a fusion of culture, making it the perfect place for a weekend stopover or to offset that spare million or so that you have managed to accrue. With its luxury shopping, six star hotels, world-class events and lively nightlife, you won't struggle to spend that juicy tax return.
So if you want to take a walk, albeit brief, in the shoes of the mega-wealthy, include a short stay at one of these opulent and decadent luxury locations.