I have my Hisec P4 planet working well, making Integrity response drones and import mats, manufacturing then exporting them for just under 970K each, and selling them for about 1,080K each, giving 110K profit per unit. However I am paying 206K tax each (mix of import and export taxes) from a 10% PI world.
Roughly 500 Integrity Response Drones and I would pay for a player owned customs house. 24 per day, assume 3 toons all with PI, and a customs office 'pays' for itself in a week. Alternatively put up a 5% customs house and encourage 6 toons to set up shop 24/7 and it has also paid for itself and made them a profit too.
So, I went hunting for a system:
- Losec so it can have player customs house
- Must have a Temperate or Barren world for P4
- Preferably 0.1 or 0.2 for the bonus materials
- with a Temperate world for lots of Autotrophs (why they go for so much in comparison to Industrial Fibers is beyond me), though
- Low tax player custom houses - can be owned by others or one I put up.
- 4 planets with the above criteria
- Easy access to a trade hub
- The local muscle can be negotiated with - or no local muscle (so much nicer a term than pirate)
I have chosen Eve Planetary Planner to give me candidate planets.
So off I went with a cheap ship with a couple of quick aligning mods, lost it (but got my pod away), realized I should not be scanning lowsec on my toon with implants, and continued my investigation on an unused alt.
What I found
The short answer is that I am not going to find what I want. I can find good enough.
I looked at 30 Losec systems. In the regions I looked at, there are swathes of systems owned by corporations running 10% or even 15% taxes. There are several corporations with a customs office or two offering 5%. There is even a single temperate planet in the Devoid/Semou that has a 0.1% tax rate and a reasonable amount of Autotrophs. It also might be bait - it is so much cheaper than any competition. Not where I wanted to set up, I might revisit it later.
I also had a look at a nullsec system - first time there. I was on an entirely disposable toon and ship. As I had been told, the resources are much greater on the null sec worlds even on the borders; and I suspect would be even greater further in.
I did find a system (Sinq Laison/Basgerin) with several 3% tax and public access in. This means that my Integrity Response Drones became 254K profit after 62K tax (instead of 110K profit after 206K tax). 24 of these per day means 6M profit / day just from a single P4 factory. The hitch? 10M week (lets call it a 'safety levy') for the local 'security forces' (http://www.basgerin-pirate.com/). From my limited dealings with them; they have often been out of system, are sufficiently competent to take down my Iteron, and are 'honorable' (as in didn't shoot me once I paid, and even allowed me to recover my cargo).
With a suitable tax rate, most extraction planets are also profitable under such a low tax rate. Profit from extraction PI (regardless of how much on-planet refining) is Number of units * (Market price - Export tax). For many extraction PI items that are easy to extract (i.e. high number of units) then Market price ~= export tax. Those items that have a higher price have, in my limited experience, have a comparatively low number of units for extraction available.
I have found a currently recruiting alliance of industrialists (Free to Play); with sufficient 'muscle' to keep a small patch of Losec clear of established trouble (though not random roamers). A few 2% Customs Offices for alliance members (even better than Basgerin), though not yet enough for my requirements. There is the option of knocking down some Interbus Customs offices and putting up a couple more.
So far so good.