Georgia has carved a unique niche for itself as a destination by offering a simplified tax system of 1% for individual entrepreneurs and remote workers working and living in Georgia despite yearly increases in city prices.
According to the Georgia Public Broadcasting Network, the price of necessities has steadily been rising in Georgia over the past few years; however, foreigners continue to move here and work because of the low tax system for remote workers. Andrew Braun, a freelance web developer from the United States moved to Georgia in 2019. His original motive for moving depended on the internet’s portrayal of Georgia as a country with low prices.
However, after moving to Georgia he found the prices increasing each year. This made him question whether to stay or not. Regardless, he ultimately decided to stay for personal reasons and because the amount he paid in taxes was less in Georgia than in other countries he researched.
“Honestly, it has a big impact on me, in my mind I was trying to find alternative places to Tbilisi, but connections here and income are the reasons to stay. But one of the main advantages is the 1% tax I pay for my business,” said Braun in an online interview.
Regardless of where Braun lives abroad, he must pay 15.6% plus normal income tax to the U.S. in addition to the tax he has to pay to his country of residence. So paying 1% worth of taxes in Georgia, regardless of city prices increasing, is still beneficial.
“Registering as an individual entrepreneur can be done in just one day, everything is transparent, and there is no need for additional services [paperwork] when getting started,” said Ekaterina Vasileva, an entrepreneur who moved to Georgia from Russia in 2022.
Vasileva and her husband came to Batumi where they decided to open a lounge bar. During the day the establishment serves as a workplace and in the evening it becomes a place for relaxation. In Russia, the turnover tax rate for entrepreneurs is 6% compared to the 1% in Georgia.
According to the October 2023 report of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the number of registered individual entrepreneurs in Georgia is 572,873, which makes up 59.3% of the total registered enterprises. The minimum tax rate in Georgia has led to a rise in the number of active enterprises registered under the "Professional, scientific, and technical activities," category.
Aside from taxes, some digital nomads stay in Georgia because regardless of the increase in prices, it’s still cheaper than the country they come from. John Igomu moved to Georgia from Nigeria five years ago as a student. He attended New Vision University where he completed his bachelor’s degree and is now working as an English tutor until he finds a master’s program. Igomu said he decided to stay in the country because nothing can compare to prices back home.
“It’s less expensive. I live in the capital of Nigeria, and the cost of living there is pretty high compared to this place - food, transportation, rent, everything is cheaper,” said Igomu in a phone interview.