Obtaining Maltese citizenship as a result of applying under the Malta Individual Investor Program (MIIP) doesn’t automatically result in you becoming tax resident in Malta. During the first 12 months there is a requirement for an individual to be a resident of Malta prior to the issuance of the citizenship. The term "residence" here doesn’t necessarily mean "tax residence"; it means that the individual is expected to create genuine links with Malta, one of which could be tax residence. From a Maltese perspective, you will be considered a tax resident in Malta either if you spend more than 183 days here or if you register as such. Therefore, if you spend one whole year in Malta and leave the country the following year, then yes, you would be deemed to be tax resident in year one and possibly non-resident in year two.
How is my tax residency decided under the Malta Individual Investor Program?
It is not clear to me what would decide one’s tax residency under MIIP. I was told that even if I decide to primarily reside to Malta, I do not necessarily become a domiciled person for tax purposes. What are the factors of tax status under MIIP? Does it depend on the length of my annual stay in Malta? If I reside in Malta for one whole year, then leave the country for the following year, am I a tax resident for the first year then a non-resident for the next?
The MIIP grants a citizenship and a right to reside in Malta. However, it does not automatically make the person a tax resident. For the person to become a tax resident he needs to actually take up a physical residence in Malta and spend considerable time in Malta. If one exceeds 181 days he will be considered a tax resident.