I am a US citizen, and professionally I am an independent software developer contractor. I want to live in Vienna, Austria but still contract with companies from the United States and work remotely with those companies via the Internet. I will apply for my own residency in Austria myself.

Austria has extremely high taxes -- much higher than I am paying now in the United States. I'm trying to determine the best business structure in order to maximize tax efficiency while living in Austria.

I understand that there are other countries such as Malta, Gibraltar, and Lithuania that have low taxes. I also understand that I can start a business in one of these countries and legally leverage their accounting rules to maximize my tax efficiency. For instance, perhaps I could start a business in Malta and pay myself via dividends rather than via a salary.

What are some options as far as navigating the business and tax laws in order to reach my outlined goals and achieve a legal, tax efficient business structure? I will speak with a tax advisor in Austria soon, but for now I just want to get a basic idea of my options. Here is what I have in mind so far:

Possible business structure

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    I'm sure it goes without saying that you will incur a lot of accounting expenses. – quid Jun 16 '17 at 0:41
  • As long as the expenses plus my taxes do not exceed my current taxes in the US, that doesn't bother me. – Chad Johnson Jun 16 '17 at 1:23
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    I would expect (but IANALOATE) that you would have to consider US/Maltese/Austrian taxes on the respective corporations. I could also foresee problems if you're paying yourself too obviously a too low wage for the work being done. – TripeHound Jun 16 '17 at 10:54
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    As a US citizen, you are taxed on all worldwide income. As a US citizen abroad, you can claim an exclusion of a reasonable amount. So provided your other country taxes and expenses don't go above that figure (at your marginal rate) you should be ahead. However, I suspect that the accounting required to do it the way you suggest might cost more (in time and $) than any benefit. – Peter K. Jun 16 '17 at 12:47

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