Residency in Gibraltar
Gibraltar offers special residency regimes that are specifically designed to attract HNWIs (Category 2) and High Executives Possessing Specialist Skills (HEPSS). These make Gibraltar a very attractive home for entrepreneurs, for retirees and for suitably qualified individuals and their dependants that wish to enjoy the Mediterranean climate and lifestyle while living in an international finance centre with a favourable tax regime.
Sovereign Fiscalis, now rebranded and trading as Sovereign Tax Services, is a Gibraltar-based tax compliance and advisory firm, specialising in Gibraltar tax and residency. We can manage the entire residency application process, as well as providing introductions to professional service providers, such as legal, real estate and relocation firms. As part of the Sovereign Group, we can also utilise its local and international tax and structuring expertise to advise on international arrangements across multiple jurisdictions.
Individuals applying for Gibraltar residency under the ‘Category 2’ residency regime are required to hold private medical insurance (PMI). Through Gibraltar-based Sovereign Insurance Services (SIS), we can further assist with securing competitive PMI, as well as all types of general or life insurance to meet the individual’s insurance needs in Gibraltar.
The Qualifying (Category 2) Individuals Rules 2004 provide for a well-established regime that limits income tax for HNWIs wishing to reside in Gibraltar.
Key ‘Category 2’ Tax Benefits
- Gross assessable annual income is generally capped at £118,000 (2021 – 2022 £105,000)
- At current rates, maximum annual tax of £44,740 (2021 – 2022 £37,310)
- At current rates, minimum annual tax of £37,000 (2021 – 2022 £32,000)
- Spouse and family income may be included
- Gibraltar does not levy wealth tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax or gift tax and neither does it levy income tax on many types of investment income.
Following successful application to the Finance Centre Director, and receipt of a Category 2 certificate, the holder becomes taxable in Gibraltar, but only to a limited extent. Only the first £105,000 of assessable income derived by a Category 2 Individual is generally taken into account when calculating their tax liability in Gibraltar. However, income from certain Gibraltar activities, if permitted under the Category 2 regime, for example, the receipt of Gibraltar rental income, can be taxable separate to, and in addition to, the Category 2 tax.
The maximum annual tax liability, which generally arises if £105,000 or more of assessable income is received is currently £37,310. Category 2 residency is subject to a minimum annual tax liability of £32,000, which is pro-rated in years of arrival and departure. The Gibraltar tax year runs from 1 July to 30 June.
The benefits of Category 2 residency, which can be a lifetime status subject to the eligibility criteria being satisfied on an ongoing basis, can extend to the worldwide income of a spouse or civil partner and of dependent unmarried children up to 18 years or to the end of their higher education.
Category 2 residency in Gibraltar is awarded on the decision of the Finance Centre Director. To become a Category 2 resident in Gibraltar, an applicant is required to:
- Verify that he or she has a minimum net worth of £2 million and is of good character.
- Either rent or buy appropriate accommodation in Gibraltar for his or her exclusive use.
Eligibility restrictions apply if the applicant has previously been resident or working in Gibraltar within the preceding five years.
Generally, Category 2 residents should not carry out business in competition with ordinary Gibraltar taxpayers. However certain local activities are permitted, with the approval of the Finance Centre Director. Any income derived from such activities may be taxed separate to, and in addition to, the Category 2 tax.
Once established, there is no minimum physical presence required in Gibraltar to maintain Category 2 residency. However, this will not protect an individual from also becoming tax resident elsewhere if they qualify under the residency rules of another country. If a Category 2 individual is spending time outside Gibraltar, awareness of the residency rules in that country is essential.
Gibraltar Category 2 residency is in principle conferred for an indefinite period of time, but it is required to be endorsed every three years. Upon endorsement, the Finance Centre Director considers whether all the requirements of the status have been complied with and that there are no other valid reasons to cancel the residency certificate.
Summary of Benefits
- No gift, succession or inheritance taxes in Gibraltar
- No capital gains or wealth taxes in Gibraltar
- No VAT or sales taxes in Gibraltar
- Generally, maximum annual tax liability of £44,740
- Good economy and infrastructure
- Mediterranean climate
- Vibrant housing market
Find details of the Category 2 regime summarised here:
High Executives Possessing Specialist Skills (HEPSS)
Gibraltar is keen to attract individuals who bring special skills not available locally. The HEPSS Rules 2008 provide a favourable tax regime for individuals who possess particular skills in key positions in a locally established business.
This HEPSS regime has played an important role diversifying and widening the skills base of the Gibraltar economy, particularly in respect of the gaming and financial services sectors. The government is also encouraging the creation of a critical mass of specialists in particular areas such as IT and Digital Ledger Technology (DLT) that will hopefully generate growth in new economic activities.
- Gross assessable income is capped at £160,000 per annum
- At current rates maximum annual tax liability is £43,140
A person in possession of a HEPSS certificate is only taxable on the first £160,000 of assessable income, including any bonuses, perquisites and other benefits in kind connected with employment. At current rates, this would result in a maximum tax payment of £43,140 per annum. This tax is pro-rated in years of arrival and departure.
HEPSS residency is awarded on the decision of the Finance Centre Director. A company that is either incorporated, registered or carrying on business in Gibraltar must apply to the Finance Centre Director for a certificate to be issued designating that a role held within the organisation is to be carried out by a HEPSS individual.
Qualifying individuals are required to satisfy the following conditions:
- The applicant must have specialist skills that are necessary to promote and sustain economic activity of particular economic value to Gibraltar or the establishment, development or growth of which the Government is seeking to facilitate and encourage
- Those skills are not available in Gibraltar and are important for the economic development and growth of Gibraltar
- The applicant will occupy a high executive or senior management position
- The applicant will earn more than £160,000 per annum in Gibraltar
- The applicant must have exclusive use of approved HEPSS property. The property may either be bought or rented
- The applicant has not previously been resident or working in Gibraltar within the three years preceding the application
For HEPSS residents with a valid and in force HEPSS certificate on 31 July 2021, earning more than £120,000 but less than £160,000, there are transitional rules, which can apply to 31 July 2023.
In addition to assessable income under the HEPSS regime being capped at £160,000, Gibraltar does not levy wealth tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax or gift tax and neither does it levy income tax on many types of investment income.
Find details of the HEPSS regime summarised here:
How Sovereign Can Help
We can assist with all matters relating to the obtaining of Category 2 and HEPSS residency in Gibraltar.
We can also combine local and international tax expertise to advise on individual circumstances.
The services we provide include:
- Preparation and submission of the Category 2 or HEPSS residency application
- Obtaining and renewing Gibraltar Civilian Registration Card, reinforcing residency status
- Preparation of Gibraltar income tax returns and other compliance matters required under these residency regimes with Gibraltar Government departments
- Introductions to local estate agents, banks, and lawyers
- Assessing the benefit of any UK pension transfer, under the UK’s Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) regime
- Creation and management of trusts, companies, pension schemes (e.g. Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme – QNUPS) within the Sovereign Group of Companies.