In a recent article in The Economist, the columnist Bartleby asserted that working remotely from beautiful locations will not become a mainstream work
practice. It will remain the privilege of well-paid workers who don’t have responsibilities such as school age children or partners
who are unable to work remotely.
We’re sure he’s right, but nonetheless, more and more countries are issuing digital nomad visas. More and more resorts are beefing
up their wireless broadband connections and adding services that cater to people on “workations”.
And in the forums we follow, more and more digital nomads are waking up to the fact that having a visa to stay for a year
doesn’t make them exempt from paying income tax to that country.
Companies, too, need to be careful of how much time their employees spend in any country. For the
Bartleby interviewed Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb. They have just implemented a policy that allows employees to spend
90 days each year living and working abroad. Mr Chesky acknowledged that this will have tax ramifications.
He’s correct. If all his employees combined spend too many days in a tax jurisdiction, Airbnb could become liable for
tax, under a rule most countries call “having the appearance of a permanent establishment”.
One of the primary reasons we built the Mia Bazo platform for individuals, as well as small businesses, is because I’m
digital nomad. Our tax compliance tool, which automatically tracks my days in any
jurisdiction, keeps me well on the safe side of becoming liable for tax in any of the countries in which I spend
long periods of time.
I’m one of the few and the lucky who can live this life – we want to make sure my fellow remote workers, and their
companies, don’t become tax liable, too.
John Scott is founder and CEO of Mia Bazo and our sister company Voyage Manager, with 24 years in software design and development. He is a digital nomad and committed environmentalist.