Having been on the road for a while, and able to sustain (more than sustain) myself, I want to ask my fellow itinerant brothers and sisters how they deal with this one little thing that, as the saying goes, is as inevitable as death: taxes. I always pay my taxes promptly upon request, just in case the IRS or its equivalent in one of the 200 odd countries has tuned in to this blog. Let’s say, you’re “on the road”, meaning you don’t have a tenant or ownership relation to a street address, and consequently no registration as being a resident of any country. Now you work for company A that has its headquarters in country X. Your passport was issued in country Y. You have taken your laptop abroad to work on a job for company A in country Z.
This situation might sound complex, but is actually the default for a certain segment of the virtual workforce: travelers. Company A lets you sign a statement that the work is not done on its territories and hence no taxable in country X. The law of country Y, the issuer of your passport, states that you have to pay taxes to that country’s revenue if 1) you are registered a resident of Y, or 2) you perform work for a company based in Y. Since you work for a company in X, your income is not taxable in Y. So you rush to the IRS office of country Z, telling them could I please pay my taxes? You have entered on a tourist visa and are not allowed to perform work (that is, take part in the value creation side of the economy of Z) in country Z and hence are not allowed to pay taxes in Z. The fact that you perform work for company A from country X can’t possibly be a concern for the authorities of country Z, as it doesn’t affect its economy. So, neither X, Y, or Z can tax your income.
I want to start another country, Taxandria, where itinerant people pay their taxes. The government of Taxandria will use it to combat world hunger and the destruction of nature.
If this conundrum sounds interesting or familiar to you, please respond to this article, and we could work out a way to contribute to some society with our taxes. After all: no representation without taxation.