With all the fuss going on about Swiss banking right now, many people might have overlooked the fact that you can simply move to Switzerland and live virtually tax-free, legally, and without being subject to notoriously strict Swiss immigration controls. How? Through the Italian tax haven enclave of Campione d'Italia - a little part of Italy, with some very special personal tax concessions, that functions like a part of Swiss territory.
"So Campione is an interesting option for anyone who wants a tax haven residence, but doesn't want to spend the twenty times more that Monaco would cost... It is similar to Andorra taxwise, but warmer, and more conveniently located. It is a short drive to Austria, Liechtenstein, Germany or France," says a veteran resident of Campione we interviewed for this article, a retired lawyer who has practised in both the USA and Switzerland.
"For a non-Italian who lives in Campione, the income tax is essentially, ZERO. There is no property tax if property is held in personal name. There is a very low property tax otherwise."
It is therefore well worth considring Campione residence if you are attracted by the relatively mild climate of the Lake Lugano area of Switzerland, jokingly referred to by locals as 'Switzerland's Banana Belt.'
Residents of Campione benefit from super efficient Swiss postal and phone service, as well Swiss health coverage and Swiss broadband internet. You also get Swiss license plates for your car, but you avoid the disadvantages of Swiss taxes and the lengendary Swiss military service duties.
Campione d'Italia is a small Italian commune of 1.7 square kilometres located entirely within Switzerland, on the eastern shore of Lake Lugano at the foot of a beautiful mountain. There are approximately 3,000 inhabitants, about 1,000 of them foreigners. The official currency is the Swiss Franc, but the Euro is accepted as well. All banking is done through Swiss banks. A famous Casino generates substantial revenue, which is one of the reasons why the residents of Campione enjoy some very special tax concessions.
Campione's tax advantages only apply to private persons resident in Campione, and not to companies domiciled or managed from there (except that there is no VAT in Campione, which is naturally is a big advantage for companies).
How can you obtain a residence permit in Campione? You must normally buy an apartment or a house - simply because there is very rarely the opportunity to rent. Once in a while, a good luxury rental deal comes up.