Lowest vs Highest Capital Gains Tax Rates in Europe

This article is in partnership with Day Translations.

Let’s start this discussion from what is probably the most interesting fact about taxation in the European Union: in some European countries you don’t need to pay tax on the sale of assets such as shares that you have held for a long time.

These countries are:

  • Czechia
  • Slovakia
  • Malta
  • Belgium
  • Luxemburg
  • Slovenia.

However, PwC reported that the capital gains tax is 19% in Slovakia and 25% in Slovenia. If you are interested in these countries, it is worth making enquiries with the relevant local tax offices.

Just outside of the EU, there are three countries that are worth looking at. Historically, Switzerland is the top country for zero rate capital gains tax. Georgia and Turkey also have a zero tax rate on investments (but PwC reports it’s 40% capital gains tax in Turkey).

Capital Gains Tax

Euronews defines capital gains tax as the levy on the sale of assets such as shares, bonds, precious metals, cryptocurrencies, real estate etc.

Tax Foundation reported in 2024 that taxes on investments can vary from country to country within Europe, going from zero to 42%. In terms of investors’ behaviours and how they affect the economy, keeping investments such as shares for the long term without selling them and, therefore, without having to pay capital gains tax, is both the effect of high tax rates and the cause of a lack of liquidity and spending. Say, for example, that a country welcomes immigration from wealthy investors who decide to spend their money elsewhere, then this can have an impact on the local economy.

Even though some countries have zero capital gains tax, their requirements for investors can vary: for example, in Luxemburg you need to hold your assets such as shares for more than 6 months, whereas in the Czech Republic you can’t sell shares for at least three years in order to be tax exempt, but in Slovenia the requirement is to wait 15 years to be tax exempt.

European Countries with Low Capital Gains Tax

There are three European countries with low tax rates on investments and they are:

  • Moldova at 6%
  • Bulgaria and Romania at 10%
  • Croatia at 12%
  • Greece and Hungary at 15%.

Euronews commented that Moldova, Bulgaria and Romania can be interesting destinations to do international business because of lower taxation compared to the EU average.

European Countries with High Capital Gains Tax

The countries with the highest taxation in Europe include:

  • Denmark at 42%
  • Norway at almost 38%
  • Finland and France at 34%
  • Ireland at 33%
  • Sweden at 30%
  • Portugal and Spain at 28%.

The average tax on investments across EU Member States is over 18% (18.6%, as reported by Agence Europe quoting from Tax Foundation). Outside of the European Union, the UK has a capital gains tax rate of 20% and Albania 15% (PwC).

Are You a Digital Nomad/Remote Worker Who Invests in Shares?

The life of a digital nomad or remote worker or freelancer who may be interested in moving to a different country relies on having more than one income stream to provide essential financial backing for the present and the future.

While this is not the right place to discuss investment types, it’s worth spending time researching what options are available in different European countries.

For example, if a freelancer works with some clients plus has an investment portfolio to finance part of their lifestyle, having long term investments may not be an ideal fit if it’s not possible to make regular withdrawals. However, short term gains are taxed at a higher rate as income tax, which can work out more expensive in the long term than capital gains tax. Of course, please speak to a qualified financial advisor to discuss your personal situation and goals.