Overall, Cyprus has a business-friendly environment, with significant competitive advantages. In addition to safe and welcoming environment with excellent quality of life, the island offers a reliable legal and regulatory framework, based on English Common Law fully compliant with the EU, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, USA Federal Law (FATCA), the Financial Stability Forum laws and regulations and Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Directives of the European Parliament and European Council. With a transparent tax regime with one of the lowest income tax rates worldwide charged at 12.5%, and multiple tax incentives, Cyprus is a highly competitive business hub.
As a Member State of the European Union (EU) since 2004 and the member of Eurozone since 2008, with strategic geographical location and high human talent, Cyprus has strong infrastructure, advanced educational institutions and medical centers, and a government with a business-friendly approach, focusing on promoting research, scientific excellence, innovation, and technological development.
Cyprus is a major entrepreneurial hotspot and a credible platform for investments, tax planning and international banking, as well as one of the top global hubs for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), ship owning and shipmanagement services.
Cyprus is not an offshore jurisdiction, nor is it a tax haven.
Quoting the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus, Constantinos Petridis, “Cyprus is not a tax haven but it is a competitive investment destination due to the legal framework, investors, natural wealth and skilled labour.”
Cyprus’ offshore corporate structure was eliminated upon entering the European Union. Further, after being declared by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as largely compliant with standards set by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, Cyprus (along with Luxembourg and Seychelles) has obtained the same rating as the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.
|DBRS Morningstar||BBB||Stable||Apr 08 2022|
|Standard & Poor’s||BBB||Stable||Sep 02 2022|
|Moody’s||Ba1||Positive||Aug 19 2022|
|Fitch||BBB-||Stable||Sep 16 2022|
|Gross Domestic Product (GDP)*||$27.7B||$27.6B||$24.7B|
|GDP Real Growth**||4.1%||5.3%||-5.2%***|
|GDP per capita (PPP)*||$48,443||$45,034||$41,347|
*Source: World Economic Outlook Database: Cyprus, International Monetary Fund
**Source: Winter 2022 Economic Forecast for Cyprus, European Union
***For comparison, the world average in 2020 based on 176 countries is -4.86% due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Cyprus has an advanced high-income economy with well developed infrastructure and a very high Human Development Index.
Business services sector remains the fastest growing sector of the economy. As of 2016, Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) reportedly regulates world’s biggest brands in retail forex. Estimated 70% of GDP is deriving from the financial sector, whereas shipping contributes with 7%. Construction industry contributes with 6.3% of GDP. Currently, around 70 high-rise buildings are proposed and/or under construction, of which 29 are skyscrapers, including the ‘City of Dreams Mediterranean’, the Europe’s largest casino resort.
The workforce in Cyprus is characterized by high education and diversity in skills. With the second-highest tertiary education (including diplomas, undergraduate and graduate certificates, and associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees) attainment rate in the EU at 57.1%, Cyprus surpasses the EU average of 40.7%.*
*Source: European Commission
Based on provisional data, the average gross monthly earnings of employees during the fourth quarter of 2021 amounted to €2.341 compared to €2.259 during the fourth quarter of 2020, marking an increase of 3,6%.*
* Source: Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus
The education system is divided into pre-primary education (ages 3–6), primary education (ages 6–12), secondary education (ages 12–18) and higher education (ages 18+). Full-time education is compulsory for all children aged between 5 and 15. State-provided schooling including higher education is paid for by taxes.
With its practically-oriented curriculum, high graduate rates, accessible study programmes and high living standards, Cyprus is a great option to obtain a globally accredited undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at 4 public and 6 private universities.
Cyprus an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea with an estimated population of 1,223,824, and it is one of the countries with the lowest crime rates (0.929 per 100 persons) within the EU.
According to the latest Census of Population and Housing 2021 of the Republic of Cyprus dated 1st October 2021, Nicosia (the island’s capital) has a population of 351,600 (of which 62,800 foreigners), Limassol has a population of 258,900 (of which 53,100 foreigners), Larnaca has a population of 154,200 (of which 29,100 foreigners) and Paphos has a population of 101,900 (of which 38,700 foreigners).
The official languages of the Republic of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish.
Proficiency in English is higher than in many other European countries, being taught as a second language in schools, with over 80.4% of residents in Cyprus having high level of proficiency.* Many Cypriots speak French, German and Russian language.
*English language was the sole official language during British colonial rule and lingua franca (until 1960) and continued to be used (de facto) in courts of law until 1989 and in legislature until 1963.
|2022 public holidays in Cyprus|
|01/01/2022||New Year’s Day|
|25/03/2022||Greek Independence Day|
|01/04/2022||Cyprus National Day|
|22/04/2022||Orthodox Good Friday||(Movable)|
|23/04/2022||Orthodox Easter Eve||(Movable)|
|25/04/2022||Orthodox Easter Monday||(Movable)|
|01/10/2022||Cyprus Independence Day|
|28/10/2022||Greek National Day|
The Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) is the central bank of the Republic of Cyprus and was established in 1963, shortly after Cyprus gained its independence, in accordance with the Central Bank of Cyprus Law, 1963 and the relevant articles of the Constitution. CBC is governed by the Central Bank of Cyprus Law, 2002 as amended.
Following the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union in 2004, CBC became a member of the Eurozone group of central banks in 2008.
The banking sector in Cyprus is comprised of domestic banks and international banks with Cyprus-based subsidiaries or branches. In addition to the traditional deposit and lending services, banks in Cyprus operate under the universal banking model, offering a diverse range of products and services. As of February 2022, Cyprus’ banking system Liquidity Coverage Ratio amounts to 344%, which is almost double than the respective EU average of 175%.
*Following a relevant decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) as per the official announcement dated 24th March 2022, the ECB restricted RCB Bank Ltd’s business. In this regard, as from the ECB’s decision date and onwards, RCB Bank Ltd is not able to take new deposits, grant new loans, or make new investments.
Subsidiaries of foreign credit institutions from EU member states:
Subsidiaries of foreign credit institutions from non-EU member states:
Branches of foreign credit institutions from EU member states:
Branches of foreign credit institutions from non-EU member states:
*Following the amendment of the licence of the branch of Public Joint-Stock Company Commercial Bank “Privatbank” by the Central Bank of Cyprus on 20th December 2016, the said branch is not permitted to engage in any banking business, other than: (i) the repayment or renewal of existing deposits and the acceptance of payments towards existing credit facilities, and (ii) the repayment of administrative expenses relating to the operations of the branch.
Cypriot nationals, residents, non-residents, resident and non-resident companies can open personal and/or corporate bank account in Cyprus, subject to conditions specified by the relevant financial institution. Depending on the circumstances, bank account can be opened online or in person, by submitting the application form accompanied by the requested documents.
Documents can be submitted in original and/or as true copies, notarized and certified by Apostille. Further, the documents should be in Greek or English language, or officially translated by relevant authorities.
Timeframe is dependent on multiple factors, including the jurisdiction of the non-resident individual and/or company, business activities, physical presence in Cyprus, Know Your Customer (KYC) and due diligence checks, low/medium/high risk categorization, etc.
*All physical persons, including UBOs, Director(s), Secretary, and the Authorized Signatory of the bank account.
The above documents and information are required for the pre-approval stage of the procedures, however, financial institutions may require additional documentation and clarifications, as well as in-person interview with the applicant.
Yes, a non-Cypriot can open a bank account in Cyprus.
Cypriot nationals, residents, non-residents, resident and non-resident companies can open personal and/or corporate bank account in Cyprus, subject to conditions specified by the relevant financial institution.
Establishing and managing a company in Cyprus is fairly simple – with the business-oriented government, Cyprus supports local business development and encourages foreign investment.
Timeframe: 2 weeks
The process of incorporating a company can be broken down to 4 steps, though certain business activities might require business permits or licenses issued by relevant authorities and/or regulating bodies, prior to commencement of business operations.
Registration with the relevant authorities:
Maintaining a healthy and legally compliant business in Cyprus, statutory responsibilities must be followed:
Under expedited procedure, it takes 3 business days to get the company’s name approved. Once the approval of the name of the new company has been confirmed by RoC, the approval of the application to incorporate a company should take around 7 business days from the date of application. In total, it takes 2 weeks to incorporate a company.
Holding company does not conduct business operations and its purpose is to hold the controlling stock or membership interests in other companies, allowing diversification of investment across multiple industries, while creating streamlined management and maintaining ownership over each relevant business.
Cyprus tax-resident holding company benefits from multiple advantages, including but not limited to:
Yes, a non-Cypriot can own a company in Cyprus. There is no restriction on foreign ownership, or nationality and residency of the shareholder(s) of a company in Cyprus.
Yes, a non-Cypriot national can be a Director of a company in Cyprus. There is no requirement to have a Cypriot national as the Appointed Company Officer (ACO), i.e. the Director and/or Secretary. However, it is required that the ACOs, especially the Secretary, have sound knowledge and understanding of Cyprus Companies Law (Cap.113).
Yes, a non-Cypriot national can be a Secretary of a company in Cyprus. There is no requirement to have a Cypriot national as the Appointed Company Officer (ACO), i.e. the Director and/or Secretary. However, it is required that the ACOs, especially the Secretary, have sound knowledge and understanding of Cyprus Companies Law (Cap.113).
Every company, registered with the RoC of the Republic of Cyprus, must pay an annual fee of €350 by 30th of June of each year of its operation.
The annual company levy can be paid: i) electronically, ii) in person in Cyprus, iii) in person in the Cyprus Embassy of the relevant country, iv) via bank transfer.
It is noted that, if a company fails to complete the payment of the annual fee in a timely manner, penalties for late payment will apply as follows:
Companies belonging to a group, for which the total payable fees do not exceed the sum of €20.000, can complete and submit the application for the payment of annual fee by allocating the sum amongst the companies in equal parts.
A local accounting firm can provide assistance with the payment of annual company levy in Cyprus.
Company is required to keep at registered office, or at a location designated by the directors:
Registration of trademark constitutes a form of intellectual property and can be completed at the Intellectual and Industrial Property Section of the Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property of the Republic of Cyprus.
Trademark is a distinctive element or a combination of elements, which is used to distinguish the products or services of an enterprise from the products or services of other enterprises, such as:
Eligibility for a Distinctive Mark entails: i) being capable of distinguishing the products or services of an enterprise from those of other enterprises; ii) determining the object of the protection provided to its beneficiary with clarity and accuracy.
Trademark neither protects the appearance of a product nor an invention. To protect the appearance of a product, or invention, other forms of intellectual property rights are available (e.g. industrial design or sample, patent etc).
There are multiple EU and national grants, tax incentives, programmes and financing options available to eligible candidates for obtaining business funding in Cyprus, including but not limited to:
EU Competitive Programmes
Transnational programmes, financed directly by the EU΄s budget, aimed at contributing to the implementation of EU policies.
Co-funded by: i) specific funds of the EU multi-annual budget* allocated to Cyprus, and ii) national resources (state budget).
Cyprus Recovery & Resilience
Temporary EU funding: i) economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; ii) sustainable development; and iii) resilience of EU economy.
National Grant Schemes
Funded solely by national funds; focusing on e.g. strengthening employment, promotion of tourism, etc.
Support for investments and funding: loans, guarantees, equity and other risk-bearing mechanisms, combined with technical support, interest rate subsidies etc.
Local accounting firm can assist with business funding options available to eligible candidates.
*Programmes mainly funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds.
To have access to regulated professions and to exercise specific services and activities, certain permits and authorizations are required to be granted by the relevant authorities of the Republic of Cyprus. Requirements, procedures, fees and timeframe for obtaining a specific permit and/or license will depend on the industry, economic sector and commercial or professional activities, as well as on the authority issuing the license. The main categories of operating permits for businesses are as follows:
Local accounting firm can assist with obtaining permits and/or licensing in Cyprus.
Overseas company incorporated in an approved jurisdiction can be registered as continuing and transfer its registered office to Cyprus, subject to the legislation of its current jurisdiction and company’s MoAA permitting such transfer.
Key points in relocating your business which will define the timeframe and efficiency of the entire process include:
Apart from being rightfully acknowledged as a perfect holiday destination with a plethora of stunning beaches and ancient antiquity sites, Cyprus is an entrepreneurial hotspot and an established business hub with excellent geographical position, well developed infrastructure and island-wide commercial 5G network.
According to global immigration experts, Cyprus ranks as one of the best relocation destinations of the world and a hotspot for relocation of an existing legal entity for its key business and leisure indicators – EU Member State status, geographical location and climate, educational benefits and highly favourable tax incentives.
Depending on the requirements of the business operations, local market parameters, or even personal preferences, a sustainable business can be established and thrive in any city or town on the island.
While Nicosia, as the capital of Cyprus, may be a better option for businesses dependent on governmental institutions, Limassol is the unofficial business capital of the region. With a futuristic waterfront skyline and the tallest seafront residential building in Europe, Limassol is a home to major international companies and, with estimated 300 sunny days each year, it’s worth considering a coastal location for a perfect work-life balance.
Since the early 2000s, major international technology companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Amdocs, SAP, IBM and TSYS have been operating in Cyprus, with the likes of Movavi, Wargaming, Sykes and Whipper joining the trend in the last 5 years.
Cyprus has become a prime location for the fintech industry, welcoming some of the world’s most prominent forex brokers and online trading platforms, including BDSwiss, Plus500, Alpari, GO Markets, FBS, Forex Time FXTM, FP Markets, Hot Forex, Trade360, XM, Exness, and Plum.
With tech industry on the rise, both global tech leaders and small startups are establishing their presence on the island. Multinational ICT* companies, including fintech, regtech and consulting firms, are making Cyprus their operational base for:
*Information and communication technologies
Submitting UBOs details to the BO Register in Cyprus is mandatory, under the 5th EU AML Directive and it must be completed within 30 days from the date of company’s registration. Further, any changes in the UBO’s details must be submitted within 14 days from the date of the change. The deadline for registration of existing companies with the BO Register is 31st July 2022.
In 2018 the European Council issued the Directive (EU) 2018/843 (the “ 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive), which amended the 4th Anti-Money laundering Directive. Under the revised provisions, EU Member States were required to launch publicly accessible registers of beneficial ownership of companies. The 5th EU AML Directive was transposed into Cyprus Legislation through the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering Activities Laws of 2007-2021 on 23rd February 2021. According to the Law, companies and any other legal entities incorporated in the Republic of Cyprus must obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial ownership, including details of the beneficial interests held.
BO Register registration can be completed as follows:
Ultimate beneficial owner means any natural person(s) who ultimately owns or controls the customer and/or the natural person(s) on whose behalf a transaction or activity is being conducted and includes, at least, a shareholding of 25 % plus one share, or an ownership interest of more than 25% in the customer held by a natural person, hence an indication of direct ownership.
As of 1st June 2022, the general public, as well as obliged entities, can have access to information regarding the BO Register of companies and other legal entities. To receive information on UBOs, interested parties must submit a written application (including the name and registration number of the company or other legal entity, as well as an e-mail address for reply purposes) to RoC, with a fixed fee of €3.50 per company or partnership.
Notwithstanding the criminal liability or prosecution of any person, where there is a failure to comply with the reporting obligations about the UBOs of corporate and other legal entities, the corporate or other legal entity and each of its officers shall be liable to a fine of €200 and a further fine of €100 for each day of continuation of the violation with a maximum total fine of €20,000.*
*Provided that an officer of a corporate or other legal entity shall not be subject to a fine if he had exercised due diligence to comply with the provisions of the paragraph 11 of the Directive for the Prevention and Suppression of Monay Laundering and Terrorist Financing R.A.A 112/2 and the violation is not due to any act or omission or negligence on his part.
Cyprus Tax Department is responsible for the implementation of the Laws on Direct and Indirect (VAT) Taxation, the collection of government revenues deriving from these Laws, the implementation of Double Tax Agreements between the Republic of Cyprus and other countries, the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters on the basis of European Directives and other International Conventions.
Cyprus has an extensive network of over 67 Double Tax Treaties (DTTs), ensuring that dividend and interest payments, made to/from Cypriot companies by foreign subsidiaries/debtors, are subject to minimum or no withholding taxation in the remitting country.
(Source: Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus)
|No:||State||Date of Signature||Entry into force|
|3||Austria (new agreement)||20/03/1990 21/05/2012||01/01/1991 01/04/2013|
|12||Czech Republic (new agreement)||15/04/1980 28/04/2009||30/12/1980 26/11/2009|
|13||Denmark (new agreement)||26/05/1981 11/10/2010||10/04/1982 07/09/2011|
|14||Egypt (new agreement)||19/12/1993 08/10/2019||14/03/1995 31/07/2020|
|20||Germany (new agreement) (amending protocol)||09/05/1974 18/02/2011 19/02/2021||11/10/1977 16/12/2011 08/12/2021|
|24||India (new agreement)||13/06/1994 18/11/2016||21/12/1994 14/12/2016|
|27||Italy (new protocol)||24/04/1974 04/06/2009||09/06/1983 23/11/2010|
|31||Kingdom of Bahrain||09/03/2015||26/04/2016|
|32||Kuwait (new agreement)||15/12/1984 05/10/2010||25/09/1986 30/08/2013|
|39||Mauritius (new protocol)||21/01/2000 23/10/2017||12/06/2000 2/5/2018|
|43||Norway (new agreement)||02/05/1991 24/02/2014||01/01/1995 08/07/2014|
|44||Poland (new agreement)||04/06/1992 22/03/2012||07/07/1993 09/11/2012|
|48||Russia (amending protocol) (additional amending protocol)||05/12/1998 07/10/2010 08/09/2020||17/08/1999 02/04/2012 15/01/2021|
|49||San Marino (amending protocol)||27/04/2007 19/05/2017||18/07/2007 27/6/2018|
|55||Slovenia* (new agreement)||29/06/1985 12/10/2010||08/09/1986 14/09/2011|
|56||South Africa (amending protocol)||26/11/1997 01/04/2015||08/12/1998 18/09/2015|
|59||Swiss Confederation (amending protocol)||25/07/2014 20/07/2020||15/10/2015 03/11/2021|
|62||The States of Guernsey||15 /07/ 2014 (in Cyprus), 29 /07/2014 (in Guernsey)||04/03/2015|
|63||Ukraine*** (new agreement) (amending protocol)||29/10/1982 08/11/2012 11/12/2015||26/08/1983 19/08/2013 28/11/2019|
|64||United Arab Emirates||27/02/2011||01/01/2014|
|65||United Kingdom (amending protocol) (new agreement) amending protocol||20/06/1974 02/04/1980 22/3/2018 19/12/2018||18/03/1975 15/12/1980 18/7/2018 2/10/2019|
*7 Denmark – The existing Convention shall cease to have effect as from 1.1.2012
* The treaty between Cyprus and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is still in force.
** The treaty between Cyprus and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic is still in force
***The treaty between Cyprus and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is still in force.
No, tax is not high in Cyprus, quite the opposite – Cyprus has one of the lowest EU corporate tax rates at 12.5% and is considered an attractive tax regime with and multiple tax incentives, in addition to being a business-friendly, safe and welcoming environment with excellent quality of life.
Cyprus does not have net wealth tax, nor withholding tax, nor inheritance tax.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is imposed at the rate of 20% on profits from the disposal of:
CGT is not imposed under certain circumstances, e.g. disposal of shares listed on any recognized stock exchange; transfer upon death; gifts between spouses, parents, children and relatives up to third degree of kindred; gift to a charitable organization, the Republic of Cyprus, or a political party; gift to a company of which the shareholders are, and continue to be for 5 years after the gift, members of the disposer’s family; etc.
*Or of companies which indirectly participate in a company or companies which own immovable property in Cyprus.
Corporate income tax in Cyprus is calculated at 12.5% on the company’s net profit.
Taxpayer’s registration and obtaining the company Tax Identification Code (TIC) from the Cyprus Tax Department is mandatory and it must be completed within 60 days of the date of incorporation of the company.
Tax registration can be completed by submitting at the Tax Department district offices the Form TD2001, accompanied by supporting documents which will depend on the type of legal entity submitting the request for tax registration. Tax Identification Code (TIC) is issued within 1-3 working days.
Local accounting firm can assist with corporate income tax registration in Cyprus.
Value Added Tax (VAT) is imposed on the provision of goods and services in Cyprus and on the importation of goods into Cyprus. It comprises of three rates: zero rate (0%), reduced rate (5% or 9%) and the standard rate (19%).
VAT registration at the Cyprus Tax Department is not mandatory if the taxable transactions value of goods and services carried out in 12 preceding months and/or in the next 12 succeeding months does not exceed the threshold amount of €15.600.
If applicable (subject to the threshold), VAT registration must be completed prior to issuing the first invoice and company must submit VAT declarations and pay VAT liability (before the 10th day of the second month following the end of each VAT reporting period, i.e. approximately 40 days after VAT reporting period end).
VAT registration can be completed by submitting at the Tax Department district offices the Form TD1101, accompanied by supporting documents, including but not limited to a copy of an official receipt/document, proving that the entity carries out taxable activities/transactions in the Republic of Cyprus (e.g. copy of a contract, copy of an invoice related to their activities/transactions).* VAT Registration Certificate is issued and sent by post within 8-12 days.
*Additional documents may be required.
Local accounting firm can assist with VAT registration in Cyprus.
Registration at the Social Insurance Services and General Health System (GHS) is mandatory before the commencement of employment of the first employee in Cyprus and can be completed by submitting an application for employer registration.
In brief, Social Insurance contributions for employees have a rate applied up to a level of earnings, charged at 21.5%, of which 8.3% is paid by the employee, 8.3% by the employer and 4.9% from the Consolidated Fund of the Republic of Cyprus.
Detailed rates for the two categories (employees and self-employed) compulsory insurance are as follows:
Employed persons’ contribution
Self-employed persons’ contribution
Voluntary insured persons’ contribution
Contribution of voluntary insured persons working abroad in the service of Cypriot employers
|Category||Applied on||Contribution rate|
|Persons holding office||Officers’ remuneration||2.65%|
|Persons earning rental, interest, dividend and other income||Rental, interest, dividend income, etc||2.65%|
Cyprus has relatively low personal income tax – yearly income of up to €19,500 is tax free for Cyprus tax residents. The tax rate is increased as the taxable amount increases, with the highest rate of 35% for yearly income of €60,001 and higher.
|Annual income||Tax rate|
An individual that is not a tax resident in any other single state (for one or more periods that in total exceed 183 days within a same tax year), nor a tax resident in any other state for the same tax year, will be considered a Cyprus Tax Resident if all of the below conditions are met:
In case where any and all of the above conditions have been disrupted (e.g. termination of employment, termination of rental of the property, etc) during the tax year, an individual will not be considered a tax resident of the Republic of Cyprus.
The 183-Day Rule (implemented in cases where an individual resides in Cyprus for not less than 183 days during the tax year) remains in force without any further requirements.
Either 60-Day Rule or 183-Day Rule can be called upon during a tax year in consideration of Cyprus Tax Residency for individuals.
Tax registration can be completed by submitting at the Tax Department district offices the Form TD2001, accompanied by supporting documents, including but not limited to a copy of a valid identification document.* Tax Identification Code (TIC) is issued within 1-3 working days.
*Additional documents may be required for EU citizens and for non-EU citizens.
Local accounting firm can assist with personal income tax registration in Cyprus.
Yearly salary of up to €19,500 is tax free in Cyprus. Cyprus tax residents are taxed on all chargeable income from all sources in Cyprus and abroad.
Non-Cypriot tax-resident individuals are only taxed on income accruing or arising from sources in Cyprus, and are exempt from tax on dividend and interest income. Further, tax-resident individuals non-domiciled in Cyprus are exempt from tax on dividend and interest income.
The current tax incentive for non-residents working in Cyprus who earn more than €100,000 per year provides a 50% tax exemption on employment income for the first 10 years of employment. The new incentive scheme, which will also apply to existing employees in Cyprus*, states that the minimum required salary will be reduced from €100,000 to €55,000 per year, while the duration of the 50% tax exemption will be extended from 10 years to 17 years from the commencement of their employment in Cyprus.
*Provided they were resident abroad for 12 consecutive years prior to the commencement of their employment in Cyprus.
As a member of the EU, Cyprus is subject to the accounting, auditing and financial reporting requirements established in EU Regulations and Directives as transposed into national laws and regulations. The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC) is the only body of accountants recognized by the Council of Ministers, and the only recognized body of auditors in Cyprus pursuant to article 113 of the Auditors Law of 2017 (L.53(I)/2017).
The Companies Law, Cap. 113 sets the requirements for the preparation of corporate financial statements in Cyprus and transposes the EC Accounting Directive (2013/34/EU). The Companies Law requires all entities to apply EU-endorsed International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in their consolidated and separate financial statements. Companies which have subsidiary companies are required to prepare consolidated financial statements in accordance with IFRS as adopted by the European Union. Both consolidated and stand-alone financial statements should be presented to the shareholders of the company or of the parent company at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Exemptions from consolidation apply for a parent company of small and medium-sized group except where any affiliated enterprise is a public-interest entity or where the obligation to prepare consolidated financial statement arises under other legislation.
All companies registered in Cyprus, including small/dormant companies, are subject to Annual Statutory Audit* – the Companies Law requires mandatory statutory audit for all registered companies in Cyprus, regardless of the size of the legal entity. Company has an obligation to prepare and submit to the Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property of the Republic of Cyprus the Annual Return (Form HE32), accompanied by financial statements approved at the last Annual General Meeting (AGM), within 28 days from its drafting date.
Further, Company has an obligation to prepare and submit to the Cyprus Tax Department the Tax Return (Form TD4), which is prepared based on the audited financial statements. Form TD4 should be submitted by 31st March of the year following the year after the reporting tax year (i.e. 15 month after the tax year end).
As regards the preparation of financial statements, complete set of financial statements of a company must be in compliance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).**
*i) L.53(I)/2017 The Auditors Law of 2017; ii) Companies Law (Cap 113) par.152A (Compulsory auditing of financial statements and directors’ report by auditors. As amended.); iii) Regulation (EU) No537/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on specific requirements regarding statutory audit of public-interest entities and repealing Commission Decision 2005/909/EC; iv) Directive 2014/56/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Directive 2016/43/EC on statutory audits of annual accounts and consolidated accounts.
** Companies Law (Cap 113) par.142 (Annual and consolidated financial statements. As amended.)
In accordance with the Cyprus Companies Law (Cap.113), books of accounts which are considered necessary for the preparation of financial statements must be kept by all companies registered in Cyprus.
*Companies Law (Cap 113) par.141 (Keeping of books of account. 6(a) of 167(I) of 2003.)
The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC) is the competent authority for regulating the accounting and audit profession in Cyprus.
Qualified auditors, which have acquired a license pursuant to the provisions of the Auditors Law of 2017, registered with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC) Registry, and holders of a practicing certificate and audit qualification can practice the accounting and audit profession in Cyprus.
As per the Companies Law Cap.113, par.155, (Qualifications for appointment as auditor. As amended.), no person shall be appointed as an auditor of a company unless he/she has previously acquired a license pursuant to the provisions of the Auditors Law of 2017.
FinExpertiza Cyprus (Hadjihannas and Partners Accountants Limited) is a licensed audit firm, registered with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC), authorized to provide the following audit services:
FinExpertiza Cyprus (Hadjihannas and Partners Accountants Limited) is a licensed accounting firm, registered with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC), authorized to provide the following accounting services:
Duration of audit process depends on the size of the company and having all of the necessary preparations completed. Depending on multiple parameters, audit can take 1 – 3 months to be completed, including planning, fieldwork and compiling the audit report.
Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) policies and procedures is a series of questions posed to clients, considerations, steps and checks which need to be addressed during the on-boarding of a new engagement as well as throughout the subsequently established business relationship, through the ongoing monitoring of the business relationship, in order to assess whether there are any suspicions for Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing.
In effect, AML/CFT are laws, regulations and procedures aimed at uncovering efforts to disguise illicit funds as legitimate income. Money laundering and the financing of terrorism are financial crimes with economic effects, seeking to conceal crimes ranging from small-time tax evasion and drug trafficking to public corruption and the financing of groups designated as terrorist organisations. AML/CFT controls, when effectively implemented, mitigate the adverse effects of criminal economic activity and promote integrity and stability in financial markets.
Transparency and accountability in business represent the visibility of all information impacting both the investors and the consumers, and a reliable disclosure of the performance of a legal entity. In an effort to end financial crime and corruption, the majority of the governments worldwide, including Cyprus, are focusing on transparency in business especially when it comes to the corporate ownership and tax requirements.
KYC refers to Know Your Customer and it is a mandatory process of identifying and verifying the identity of the client and the origin of their wealth, as well as assessing corporate structures and validating registration credentials of their business, to ensure that any and all disclosure requirements are met under the scope of the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) compliance.
KYC due diligence measures apply to both natural persons and legal entities. The objective of the KYC is to comprehend the financial background and business activities of a client, enabling the financial institutions and obliged entities* to understand, mitigate and manage the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (ML/FT) risks associated with the clients and their business transactions.
*EU framework for obliged entities applies to financial services institutions, i.e. credit institutions, banks, insurance companies, investment firms, etc; notaries and other legal professionals; auditors, external accountants and tax advisers; fiduciary service providers; gambling services, estate agents; providers engaged in exchange services between virtual currencies and flat currencies; custodian wallet providers; persons trading in works of art and other persons trading in goods to the extent that payments are made or received in cash amounting €10K or higher in a single or multiple linked transactions.
Politically Exposed Person (PEP) is a natural person who is or who has been entrusted wıth prominent public functions in the Republic or in another country, an immediate close relative of such person, as well as a person known to be a close associate of such person:
Provided that, for the purpose of the present definition, ‘prominent public function’ means any of the following public functions:
No public function referred in points (a) to (i) shall be understood as covering middle-ranking or more junior officials.
Close relatives of a politically exposed person includes the following:
‘Persons known to be close associates of a politically exposed person’ means a natural person who:
Source of wealth refers to the origin of the entire body of wealth (i.e. total assets) of the client. It could be an inheritance, divorce settlement, savings, business activities, etc. The information that should be obtained should give an indication as to the volume of wealth the client would reasonably be expected to have and provide a picture of how it was acquired. Although firms may not have specific details about all their client’s assets, it may be possible to gather general information from commercial databases or other open sources.
Source of funds refers to the origin of the particular funds or assets (e.g. the amounts being invested, deposited or remitted). It is considered easier to establish the source of funds than the source of wealth, but this should not simply be restricted to knowing from which bank or financial institution the funds may have been received. The information obtained should be substantive, relevant and be able to establish the fund’s origin and the method/circumstances under which the funds were acquired.
Certain jurisdictions, countries, regimes, groups, organizations, entities, companies and/or individuals can be sanctioned for multiple reasons, including but not limited to – having strategic deficiencies in AML/CFT regime, corruption, drug trafficking, facilitating the smuggling or trafficking of people, terrorist activities, war crimes, tax fraud and evasion, money laundering, lack of implementing the adequate procedures and/or reluctance to fully cooperate with the international bodies, etc. More commonly known as blacklists, these databases can be maintained by governments, political and economic unions of member states, international organizations, global organizations, e.g. EU Sanctions, EU High-Risk Third Countries, EU List of Non-Cooperative Jurisdictions for Tax Purposes, Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets in the UK, OFAC Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, United Nations Security Council Consolidated List, and many more.
For a less severe and/or lesser offenses, jurisdictions can be included in the greylists (as opposed to blacklists), which generally contain a larger number of jurisdictions where concerns were identified during the screening process and are regarded as cooperative, subject to the successful delivery of their commitments. For example, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) publishes, in addition to their blacklist, the greylist of nations that have not acted effectively to curb money laundering and the financing of terrorism – FATF Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring, while the EU has 2 annexes to conclusions adopted by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) and forming the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, Annex I being the blacklist and the Annex II the greylist.
Cyprus is not included in any of the blacklists, nor on any of the greylists.
As a Member State of the European Union (EU) since 2004 and the member of Eurozone since 2008, Cyprus is a major entrepreneurial hotspot and a credible platform for investments, tax planning and international banking, as well as one of the top global hubs for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), ship owning and shipmanagement services.
Overall, Cyprus is considered an attractive tax regime with one of the lowest EU corporate tax rates at 12.5% and multiple tax incentives, in addition to being a business-friendly, safe and welcoming environment with excellent quality of life.
|ACCA||Association of Chartered Certified Accountants|
|ACFE||Association of Certified Fraud Examiners|
|ADIT||Advanced Diploma in International Taxation|
|Arm’s Length||The concept of an arm’s length transaction assures that both parties in the deal are acting in their own self-interest and are not subject to any pressure or duress from the other party.|
|BEPS||Base Erosion & Profit Shifting|
|Blacklist||A list of selected tax havens or high-risk countries.|
|CCCI||Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry|
|CEE||Central & Eastern Europe|
|CFT||Counter Terrorist Financing|
|CRS||Common Reporting Standard|
|CTO||Cyprus Tourism Organization|
|CySEC||Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission|
|DTT||Double Tax Treaties|
|EMEA||Europe, Middle East and Africa region|
|ENR||Energy & Natural Resources.|
|FATCA||Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act|
|FATF||Financial Action Task Force|
|FOF||Forum of Firms|
|GAAP||Generally Accepted Accounting Principles|
|GAPP||Global Assignment Policies and Practices|
|GCC||Gulf Co-operation Council|
|IAB||International Accounting Bulletin|
|IASB||International Accounting Standards Board|
|ICAEW||Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales|
|ICPAC||Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus|
|IFAC||International Federation of Accountants|
|IFRS||International Financial Reporting Standards|
|IIA Cyprus||Cyprus Institute of Internal Auditors|
|IMF||International Monetary Fund|
|ISA||International Standards on Auditing|
|KYC||Know Your Client|
|LLC||Limited Liability Company|
|LLP||Limited Liability Partnership|
|M&A||Mergers and Acquisitions|
|MOA||Memorandum of Agreement|
|OECD||Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development|
|PLC||Public Limited Company|
|PPP||Public Private Partnership|
|STEP||Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners|
|TIC||Taxpayer’s Identification Code|
|TPG||Transfer Pricing Guidelines|
|TPR||Transfer Pricing Regulation|
|TPS||Transfer Pricing Studies|
|VAT||Value Added Tax|