Review of Cyprus

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Corporate info

Legal system
based on English common law, with civil law modifications
Types of entity
Private company limited by shares, Exempt private company, Public company limited by shares, Company limited by guarantee, Branch of overseas company, General partnership, Limited partnership, Sole Proprietorship, Trust
Shelf companies permitted
Yes
Incorporation timescale for a new company
15 to 25 working days (3 to 6 working days with payment of acceleration fee)
Company suffix
Limited; Ltd.
Sensitive words
Asset Management, Asset Manager, Assurance, Bank, Banking, Broker(s), Brokerage, Capital, Credit, Currency(ies), Custodian(s), Custody, Dealer(s), Dealing, Deposit(s), Derivative(s), Exchange, Fiduciary(ies), Finance, Financial, Fund(s), Future(s), Insurance, Lending, Loan(s), Lender(s), Option(s), Pension(s), Portfolio, Reserve, Savings, Security(ies), Stock, Trust, Trustees
Cyrillic alphabet permitted in company name
No
Local registered office
Yes
Local registered agent
No
Information to be kept at the registered office
register of directors and secretaries; register of members; books containing the minutes of any general meeting; register of holders of debentures; copies of instruments creating charges and mortgages, register of charges, book of mortgages, other
Seal required, type of seal
Every Cyprus company must have a seal with its name engraven in legible characters on it. A company whose objects require or comprise the transaction of business in foreign countries may also have for use in any territory, district, or place an official seal, which shall be a facsimile of the common seal of the company, with the addition on its face of the name of every territory, district or place where it is to be used.
Redomiciliation (to, from) permitted
permitted
Your Consultant
Aleksandra Goguzeva

Head of the UAE office of GSL Law & Consulting

Director and secretary

Minimum number of directors
1
Residency requirements for directors
No
Corporate directors permitted
Yes
Directors’ meetings/frequency/location
No requirements
Disclosure to local agent
Yes
Disclosure to public
Yes
Company secretary required
Yes
Residency requirements for a secretary
No
Qualified secretary required
No
Corporate secretary permitted
Yes

Shareholder and beneficiary

Minimum number of shareholders
1
Residency requirements for shareholders
No
Corporate shareholder permitted
Yes
Meetings/frequency/location
Yes / annually / no requirements
Disclosure to local agent
Yes
Disclosure to public
Yes
Beneficiary info disclosure to
No

Shares and share capital

Minimum authorized share capital
No
Minimum issued share capital
1 share
Minimum paid share capital
No requirements
Authorized capital payment deadlines
No requirements
Issued capital payment deadlines
Immediately upon issue or according to the terms of issue specified in the relevant resolution
Standard currency
EUR
Standard authorized share capital
1000
Standard par value of shares
1
Shares with no par value permitted
No
Bearer shares permitted
No

Taxes

Personal tax
20-35%
Min. rate for corporate tax
12.5%
Corporate tax (in detail)
Capital gains tax
Regular rate
Capital gains tax. Details
Cyprus companies are considered tax resident in Cyprus and are subject to Cyprus tax on their worldwide income if they are managed and controlled in Cyprus. It is also planned to introduce a rule according to which companies incorporated in Cyprus must be recognized as tax residents of the country. Cyprus companies are taxed at a rate of 12.5%.
VAT
19%
VAT. Details
VAT is paid on the sale of goods and services, as well as the purchase of goods and services from the EU countries, and the import of goods into Cyprus from non-EU countries. The legislation provides for 3 rates of VAT: the basic rate is 19%, in some cases, reduced rates of 9% and 5% are provided.
Withholding tax
0%/0%/10%
Other taxes
Special defence contribution tax, , Social insurance contributions, Immovable property transfer fees
Exchange control
No
Government fee
Yes, but exemptions apply
Stamp duty
Yes

Accounts

Requirement to prepare accounts
Yes
Requirement to file accounts
Yes
Publicly accessible accounts
Yes
Requirement to file Annual Return
Yes
Publicly accessible Annual Return
Yes
Audit required
Yes

General information shortly

Location
An island in the north eastern Mediterranean Sea
Total area
9.250 sq. km
Population
862.011 (2012)
Capital
Nicosia
National currency
Euro (EUR) (until 1 January 2008 - Cyprus Pound (CYP). 1 CYP approx. = 2 USD)
Conditional reduction of currency
EUR
Against USD
1.3
Climate, average max and min t°
Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool winters; avg. maximum temperature (August) +35°; avg. minimum temperature (January) 0°
Time difference from Moscow
-1 hour
Dialing code
357
State language
Greek and Turkish
Ethnic groups
Greek Cypriots 77%; Turkish Cypriots 18%; other minorities 5%
Literacy rate
97.6%
History
The first human settlement on Cyprus can be traced to around 10,000 BC and by 3,700 BC the island was well inhabited. It fell successively under Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, and Roman domination. For 800 years, beginning in 364 AD, Cyprus was ruled by Byzantium. After brief possession by King Richard I (the Lion-Hearted) of England during the Crusades, the island came under Frankish control in the late 12th century. It was ceded to the Venetian Republic in 1489 and conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1571. The Ottomans applied the millet system to Cyprus, which allowed religious authorities to govern their own non-Muslim minorities. This system reinforced the position of the Orthodox Church and the cohesion of the ethnic Greek population. Ottoman rule of the island lasted for three centuries until control was given to the United Kingdom in 1878. Many of the Turks who had settled on the island stayed there, though a lot subsequently left in the 1920s following the formal annexation of the island by the United Kingdom in 1914 and its becoming a crown colony status in 1925. Cyprus gained independence in 1960 following years of guerrilla struggle against the British rule. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority came to a head in December 1963, when violence broke out in the capital of Nicosia. Despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers in 1964, sporadic intercommunal violence continued forcing most Turkish Cypriots into enclaves throughout the island. In 1974, a Greek Junta-sponsored attempt to seize control of Cyprus was met by military invasion from Turkey, which soon controlled more than a third of the island. In 1983, the Turkish-occupied area declared itself the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, but it is recognized only by Turkey. The election of a new Cypriot president in 2008 served as the impetus for the UN to encourage both the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders to reopen unification negotiations. In September 2008, the president of the Republic of Cyprus, and the Turkish Cypriot leader started negotiations under UN auspices aimed at reuniting the divided island. The talks are ongoing and the leaders continue to meet regularly. The entire island entered the EU on 1 May 2004, although the EU acquis - the body of common rights and obligations - applies only to the areas under direct government control, and is suspended in the areas administered by Turkish Cypriots. However, individual Turkish Cypriots able to document their eligibility for Republic of Cyprus citizenship legally enjoy the same rights accorded to other citizens of European Union states.
Credit rating
BB+
Government type
Presidential republic
Executive branch
Council of Ministers appointed jointly by the President and Vice President
Legislative branch
Unicameral parliament: House of Representatives (80 seats; 56 assigned to the Greek Cypriots, 24 to Turkish Cypriots, but only those assigned to Greek Cypriots are filled; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (judges are appointed jointly by the President and Vice President)
Unemployment
13.8% (2013)
GDP per capita rank
37 (2012)
Corruption perceptions index rank
29

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