Cyprus – highlights of the tax regime
Cyprus – highlights of the tax regime
This article focuses on taxation in Cyprus, however, first we may glance through the tax rates prevailing in the member countries of EU. While each individual case could bear the tax to a different extent due to specific conditions, the average tax incidence is worth comparing. Here is an extract from the World Economic Forum website (https://bit.ly/2m0lr8M) :
European countries are known for their high tax rates.
Cyprus ranked at the bottom of the EU’s 28 member states, with a real tax rate of 23.85%—less than half of France’s. Workers in the 28 nations that are (currently) part of the EU saw their average real tax rate decrease slightly for the second time in the six years—from 45.19% to 44.96%.
A more detailed table of individual and corporate taxes applicable in European countries can be found in Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_in_Europe).
Now let us unpack the tax structure and understand the rules applicable in Cyprus.
Let’s look at the applicable taxes in Cyprus and important definitions first.
TAX RATE FOR COMPANIES (CORPORATE TAX)
FLAT @ 12.5%
TAX RATE FOR INDIVIDUALS – SLAB WISE
For widows’ pensions which exceed the amount of €19.500, taxpayers may elect for these to be taxed at the rate of 20% or added to other sources of the individual’s income and taxed under standard Personal Income Tax rates applicable for individuals.
As both individuals and businesses can avail of tax exemptions, the effective tax payable drops.
Definitions and Exemptions to eligible individuals and businesses
Definition of taxable income
Taxable Income includes benefits or profits from business, employment, pensions, interest & dividend earnings on investments, discounts, rental income, net earnings of royalties or goodwill and benefit in kind equal to 9% per annum on the monthly balance of loans or other financial facilities granted to an individual, director or shareholder (including the spouse and relatives up to the second degree of kindred).
Exemptions allowed on individual’s or business income
Notable tax breaks (exemptions) Cyprus tax regime allows:
- Lump sum payment on retirement or commutation of pension, or a gratuity on death
- Capital sums from life insurance policies, provident funds, medical schemes or an approved pension
- Scholarship or another educational endowment
- income of any religious, charitable or educational institution of a public character
- Income of any co-operative society in respect of transactions between its members
- Emoluments of foreign officers of an institution exercising an educational, cultural or scientific function
- Emoluments of foreign diplomatic and consular representatives if not citizens of Cyprus
- Income of any local authority
- Income of any approved pension scheme or provident fund or any insurance fund
- Income of any company formed exclusively for the purpose of promoting art, science or sport
- Pensions and special grants under special legislation
- Foreign exchange gains (realized and unrealized), unless they result from trading in currencies and/or currency derivatives
- Interest income (Interest accruing to any person from the ordinary carrying on of any business, including any interest closely connected with the ordinary carrying on of the business, is not exempt but included in the calculation of taxable profit
- Dividend income is generally exempt from income tax unless the relevant dividend is allowed as a tax deduction in the jurisdiction of the dividend-paying company
- Profit from the sale of securities
- Profits from a permanent establishment situated outside Cyprus, unless the permanent establishment directly or indirectly engages in more than 50% in activities that lead to investment income, and the foreign tax burden is substantially lower than the tax burden in Cyprus
- Remuneration for the rendering of salaried services outside Cyprus to an employer not resident in Cyprus for a total aggregate period of more than 90 days in the year of assessment
50% exemption on
Remuneration exceeding €100.000 per annum from any office or employment exercised in Cyprus by an individual who was a tax resident outside Cyprus prior to the commencement of employment. This exemption applies for the first 10 years of employment. The 50% exemption is not available to individuals whose employment commenced on or after 1 January 2015 if such individuals were: • tax residents of Cyprus for a period of 3 out of 5 years preceding the year of employment • tax residents of Cyprus in the year preceding the year of commencement of employment 50%
Exemption of 20% or €8.550 (lower of)
Remuneration from any office or employment exercised in Cyprus by an individual who was residing outside Cyprus before the commencement of his employment. This exemption applies for a period of five years commencing from 1 January of the year following commencement of employment (provided the employment started during or after 2012). This exemption applies for tax years up to 2020. In case the 50% exemption (see below) is claimed, the 20% exemption does not apply
Tax Resident (one who has stayed in Cyprus for over 183 days in a year)
Global income is subject to income-tax
Only Local income (what is earned within Cyprus by the individual directly or through companies registered in Cyprus only) is subject to income-tax.
DTA (Double Taxation Avoidance) treaties
Cyprus has signed DTA (Double Taxation Avoidance) treaties with 60 Countries so, entities having income in one or more of these countries besides Cyprus, need to pay tax only once.
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
that businesses are entitled to claim as expenses while computing taxable income
Item Description (Asset)
Annual wear & tear allowance %
Machinery, plant and furniture
Machinery and equipment used by an agricultural or animal husbandry business
Computer hardware and software 20
Tractors, excavators, trenches, cranes, bulldozers
Motor vehicles (except saloons) and motorcycles
New cargo ships, new airplanes and new helicopters
New passenger ships and motor yachts
Armoured vehicles used by security services
Wind power generators and photovoltaic systems
Specialised machinery for the laying of railroads (e.g. locomotive engines, ballast wagons, container wagons and container sleeper
Second hand cargo and passenger ships and additional capital
The cost is written off over the expected useful life of the ship based on the certificates issued by the Shipping Registry Organization
2 For additions during the years 2012-2018 a deduction for wear and tear at 7% per annum will be allowed
3 For additions during the years 2012-2018 a deduction for wear and tear at 20% per annum will be allowed
4 For additions during the years 2017-2018 a deduction for wear and tear at 7% per annum will be allowed
Deductions allowed for businesses.
Cyprus, the largest island state in the Mediterranean region, offers very friendly tax regime for individuals and businesses combined with the advantages of a developed economy that is governed democratically and with predictable and equitable rules of law. The Gross Domestic Product per capita in Cyprus was last recorded at 30926.50 US dollars in 2018. The GDP per Capita in Cyprus is equivalent to 245 percent of the world's average.
Cyprus Tax profile – advantages itemised
Tax Advisory EY – facts of tax