More about Malta
The Republic of Malta consists of three islands, situated just 80 kilometers off the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, in the centre of the Mediterranean sea. The climate is typically Mediterranean with scare rainfall between March and October. The population is just under 400,000 and the official languages are English and Maltese, though Italian is widely spoken.
Malta became independent from Britain in 1964 and is a Republic since 1973. It is a democratic country with respect for the rule of law. Malta is a member of the major international organizations including the United Nations and the Council of Europe, the International Monetary Fund and is a member of the European Union as well as the Eurozone and the Schengen Area.
Living in Malta
Malta has a sound infrastructural setup. Telecommunications, postal and courier services, banking and all other services are generally very efficient and of a high standard. The national airline, Air Malta, operates 35 flight routes, mostly within Europe and the Mediterranean region, and most major European airlines have frequent flights to Malta. There is a regular sea link with Italy.
Malta is one of the most attractive locations in Europe for tax-advantaged private residence.
The English-speaking population makes integration and communication easy. All official documentation is in English, commercial and business relationships are in English, and laws are in English and Maltese. There are also private English-speaking schools, which offer a high level of education; the University is open to children of Permanent Residents. There are also a number of private hospitals offering a high quality medical service. Malta has been ranked 5th in the world by the World Health Organization for medical services and facilities.
While Malta has a high standard of living, comparable to other European countries of the Mediterranean region, the cost of living is generally lower than in Europe. It is therefore possible to live a comfortable life with lesser expenses. Life is more laid back than in Europe, and particularly in Gozo the pace of life is slow and relaxed and the charm of this little island is difficult to get away from. The crime rate is very low, drug abuse is still very limited and is not a problem. Children can be very safely brought up and there is a general care and awareness given by the people to children and elderly persons, particularly where foreigners are concerned. Most foreigners who come to live in Malta are surprised at the help and attention they are given by the local population.
The warm climate is a particular attraction to persons coming from colder regions of the world. Particularly in spring and autumn Malta is an excellent place to be.
The taxes imposed on Permanent Residents are very low. The low tax rate, coupled with the many double taxation treaties that Malta has negotiated with other countries, makes residence in Malta a very attractive solution for high-net-worth individuals. An income tax of just 15% is levied only on income brought into Malta. There is no tax on worldwide income or assets.
Doing Business in Malta
In recent years the Maltese government has actively sought to attract foreign capital with attractive incentives, including generous tax breaks, aimed at international investors and entrepreneurs. During the last fifteen years, Malta has developed into a modern financial centre and today is one of the most important jurisdictions within the Southern European region. Malta is an excellent jurisdiction to establish low-taxed international trading companies and treaty-protected international holding companies. Malta also has an important shipping register and is one of world's preferred jurisdictions for tax-free yacht registrations.
The work force in Malta is English speaking, motivated and well educated. Malta grants tax and other incentives to foreign persons or companies setting up business in Malta, including low rents for factories and low interest loans. Besides this, its strategic location, excellent international trade relations and a good quality of life make it on of the most attractive places for business in the Mediterranean.
The Law in Malta
Although a former British dependency, Maltese law is codified and there is no British "common law" tradition. Broadly speaking, the law is divided into two main branches, the Civil law and Criminal law, which follow different traditions.
Maltese Civil law is based on the Napoleonic Code, itself based on the older Roman Law concepts. Therefore, particularly in the older areas of civil law, especially those concerning property, contracts, obligations and so on, Maltese law is very similar to French and Italian law and reference is often made to French and Italian authors in the interpretation of Maltese law.
In the Criminal Law field however, Malta has borrowed heavily from the British system. Therefore all trials are tried by juries (except for lesser offences) and the whole system is based on the British Criminal Law set-up.
In the newer fields of law, particularly in the environmental, financial, company and fiscal legislative areas, a large number of new laws have been enacted over the past ten years and these tend to be borrowed from other countries (in particular from Britain) and adapted to Maltese requirements. Today Malta is amending its body of laws to bring it into line with the laws of the European Union for which Malta has applied for membership and is now in the process of negotiations.
Malta offers many advantages, including:
- Very low income tax, no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax
- Favourable double-taxation agreements with key countries
- Highly respected jurisdiction for incorporating low-tax companies
- Excellent banking centre with a presence of major international banks
- Ideal location in the centre of the Mediterranean
- Excellent access by sea and the international airport of Malta
- English-speaking environment, high standard of living
The Services of Henley & Partners
To establish yourself or your business in Malta will require securing relationships with key partners such as government officials, bankers and corporate professionals. You need experienced consultants to build a network of contacts and to help you to become established in your new environment.
The specialised services of Henley & Partners are a resource and complement to other law and consulting firms. We can help other firms and their clients with the unique and specific details required by the immigration and business relocation process and tax planning involving Malta and other key jurisdictions worldwide.
Through its offices in Malta, Henley & Partners assist international clients in obtaining residence and citizenship under the respective programs. Please contact us for more information or to arrange for an initial personal consultation.