Expat Tax Planning: Four Great Retirement Destinations

Expat Tax Planning in Retirement Destinations

The only thing better than moving abroad for work is moving abroad when you retire. With endless opportunity to travel and explore – or simply to sit back and relax – retiring overseas can provide the ideal lifestyle. Not sure of the best place to retire? Here are a few suggestions to help you begin brainstorming – and of course, we didn’t forget about the details surrounding expat tax planning in these locations! Get the details below.


With warm, sunny days, beaches for miles and close proximity to the US, Mexico has the potential of being the ideal retirement destination. You’ll be pleased to know that there is a US – Mexico Tax Treaty and the tax year mirrors that of the US, which might make it a bit easier to keep track of your expat tax planning. Similar to the US, Mexico taxes its residents on worldwide income, so if you meet the qualifications to become a Mexican resident, be prepared for this if you’re earning some soft of income. You can read more specifics in this Mexico country guide.

While there are many destinations in Mexico fit for an expat, CNBC has reported that San Miguel de Allende and Mazatlán are superior locations for the retiree lifestyle.


You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the diverse landscape and culture of Malaysia – ranging from a traditional to modern setting, you should have no problem making yourself at home here. In particular, George Town, on a tropical island, has one of the best retirement opportunities in the world. This is followed closely by Kuala Lumpur, a thriving urban city with excellent health care, transportation and not far from beaches and mountains. You’ll be pleased to know that Malaysia doesn’t tax worldwide income – only income earned from events in Malaysia or paid in Malaysia. The tax year also follows that of the US, but there are big differences in the reporting details. It’s also important to note for expat tax planning purposes that there is no tax treaty or Social Security agreement between the US and Malaysia, so it’s important to consult with an expat tax professional to discuss your tax situation if you live here. Read more about expat taxes in Malaysia here.


The entire country is filled with beauty, but in particular, the south of France makes an excellent place to settle down after a lifelong career. With beautiful, temperate weather, plenty of reasons to get outdoors and modern infrastructure, yet a slower pace of life – expatriating to France certainly has its perks. When it comes to taxes, there is a tax treaty and Social Security agreement in place, which makes the process more simple. The tax year also follows the calendar year, but the filing deadlines differ slightly from that of the US. You can expect to be taxed on worldwide income if you are considered a resident of France, so be prepared for that if you are earning an income. Get more details about expat taxes in France here.


A beautiful, sunny destination flanked by the Atlantic on the west coast, Portugal is a great place to call home if you plan to retire abroad. The Algarve Region in particular tops the list for retirees, as the cost of living is about 30 percent less than other places in Western Europe and offers the culture, beaches and Old World lifestyle you may be seeking. Another popular destination, Lisbon, has a large expat community and has more of the traditional and more urban lifestyle you’d expect from a larger European city. The tax year follows the calendar year, similar to the US, but the tax return due date differs slightly. If you are considered a resident, you should be prepared to pay taxes on worldwide income. Fortunately, there is both a tax treaty and a Social Security agreement in place between the US and Portugal, which makes it easier to determine to expat tax planning requirements. Read more about your expat taxes in Portugal here.

No matter where you land upon retirement, it’s a good idea to consult with a tax professional for expat tax advice so you’ll be prepared when tax time rolls around. Don’t forget – as long as you remain a US citizen, you must also file a US Tax Return annually if you meet the filing threshold! Also, be sure to download a US expat tax guide for more helpful advice and money-saving tips.

Are You a Retiree and Need Help with Your Expat Tax Planning?

Contact us today – our team of expat-expert accountants are standing by to answer all of your expat tax questions and help you better understand your tax situation.