What to consider if you plan to invest in Cyprus

In Cyprus there is a strong business-friendly environment with one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe (12.5%, the lowest in Europe together with Ireland). Cyprus is member in the European Union and the eurozone.

Advantages

The geographical position of Cyprus is at the crossroads of three continents, offering access to markets in Europe, the Middle East and the Maghreb. The workforce of Cyprus is multilingual, experienced and inexpensive.

Cyprus has created a high-quality transport and telecommunications infrastructure, particularly in the ports sector and the sectors of tourism, international business and financial services, maritime transport, real estate and intellectual property are particularly developed.

People in Cyprus enjoy an attractive lifestyle in a secure, neat and healthy environment, with a high standard of living.

There is a friendly business environment with solid regulation and legal system aligned with British common law.

Disadvantages

However, the internal market of Cyprus is small with a population of around 1.2 million inhabitants. Cyprus has a high public debt (118.4% of GDP in 2020, IMF) and significant external debt linked to bank deposits of many non-residents. The banking sector is still weakened by the 2009 crisis, despite numerous reforms imposed by the EU, the IMF, and the ECB.

In addition, the Cyprus economy is heavily dependent on Russia and the United Kingdom as export markets and sources of funding with excessive dependence on the service sector (84% of total output), especially tourism, finance, and housing.

FDI in Cyprus

Government has taken measures to motivate FDI. The Cypriot government has created a positive environment for business as proven by its 54th place in the 2020 Doing Business ranking of countries where it is easy to do business. The government’s liberal policies have promoted investment development. Some key points of the country’s appeal are the possibility of 100% foreign shareholding in almost all sectors of the economy, the low corporate tax rate (12.5%), its attractive tax environment (Cyprus has signed double-taxation treaties with over 69 countries) and the low cost of establishing and developing a company.

The country manages to create an attractive environment for investors by strengthening weaknesses in its economy. For example, since 2013, the government has been restructuring the country’s banking sector. This, combined with the recapitalisation, enabled it to avoid bankruptcies and improve stability. Likewise, progress has been made to modernise and make its legal, accounting and banking services more efficient.

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed by Cyprus has signed bilateral conventions with about 69 countries. Double Tax Treaties define the protection framework of FDIs in Cyprus for each signatory country.

Freedom of business establishment in Cyprus is guaranteed. Acquisition of holdings by foreign investors based in the European Union are free, they can acquire stakes in Cypriot companies, without any limit on the percentage of stake acquired or on minimum capital invested. Moreover, investors from the European Union can acquire up to 100% in the capital of companies listed on Cyprus Stock market except for the banking sector where such a percentage is limited to 50% only. Obligation to Declare Licenses are required when operating in some sectors of the economy, like construction.

Tax incentives

The tax system of Cyprus provides numerous tax incentives to foreign investors, some of them are listed below:

IP Box Tax Regime

Royalty income, embedded income and other qualifying income derived from qualifying intangible assets in the ‘new’ Cyprus intellectual property (IP) box (provision applies with effect from 1 July 2016). 80% of the net profit as calculated using the modified nexus fraction.

  • Royalty income, embedded income and other qualifying income derived from qualifying intangible assets in the ‘old’ Cyprus IP box. 80% of the net profit.
  • Tax amortisation on any expenditure of a capital nature for the development of IP (provision applies with effect from 1 July 2016), Allocated over the lifetime of the IP (maximum period 20 years)

Headquartering

The Holding Company will be holding the general structure and will need a head office in order to cover and perform its activities and its subsidiaries. A combination of the tax benefits of a Cyprus Holding Company along with the stable regulatory framework, low operational costs relating to office rental, office equipment and well-educated English-speaking labour force and exceptional climate and exquisite lifestyle, provide the ideal location for setting up of Headquarters allowing businesses to grow and thrive.

A holding company can set up its headquarters in Cyprus providing an umbrella for all the companies of the Group.

There are incentives offered by the government in order to set up in Cyprus such as the registration of the company as Foreign Interest Company allowing it to employee third country nationals by providing them with work permits.

Eligible Cyprus companies are the ones that:

  • The majority of the company’s shares to be owned by Third-country nationals.
  • Foreign direct investment of capital amounting to at least € 200.000, legally admitted to Cyprus from abroad. This should be proved by an appropriate bank and other documents.
  • To operate in independent offices in Cyprus

The eligible Cyprus holding companies can employ third country national as Directors with minimum acceptable gross monthly salary for Directors is €3872 and the Maximum number of 5 persons for this category.

Middle Management Executives and other key personnel can have a minimum acceptable gross monthly salary for this category is between €1936 – €3871 and the Maximum number of Ten (10) persons for this category.

For employing a greater number of third-country personnel under the above categories, duly justified and documented requests by the company can be submitted.

With regards to the Support staff, please note that there is no maximum number of third-country nationals employed under this category, provided that the necessary approvals from the Department of Labour have been obtained.

Using the above scheme will also give the opportunity and right to the Founder / owner of the company to be relocated in Cyprus and manage the structure through the permanent establishment of the Holding company from Cyprus.

The above relocation can also include Family members that would like to relocate along with the third country national employee.

Shipping

Shipping companies:

The Merchant Shipping Legislation fully approved by the EU (approval extended up to 31 December 2029) provides for exemption from all direct taxes and taxation under tonnage tax regime of qualifying shipowners, charterers and ship-managers, from the operation of qualifying community ships (ships flying a flag of an EU member state or of a country in the European Economic Area) and foreign (non-community) ships (under conditions), in qualifying activities. The legislation allows non community vessels to enter the tonnage tax regime provided the fleet is composed by at least 60% community vessels. If this requirement is not met, then non community vessels can still qualify if certain criteria are met. The legislation includes an “all or nothing” rule, meaning that if a shipowner/ charterer/ ship-manager of a group elects to be taxed under the Tonnage Tax regime, all shipowners/ charterers/ ship-managers of the group should elect the same.

Exemption is also given in relation to the salaries of officers and crew aboard a community qualifying Cyprus ship.

Shipowners

The exemption applies to:

  • profits derived from the use/chartering out of the ships
  • interest income relating to the working capital of the company
  • profits from the disposal of qualifying ships
  • dividends received from the above profits at all distribution levels
  • profit from the disposal of ship-owning companies and its distribution

The exemption also applies to the bareboat charterer of a vessel flying the Cyprus flag under parallel registration Bareboat charter out agreements remain eligible for tonnage tax, with restrictions introduced for bareboat charter agreements to third parties. The legislation provides a definition, as well as a specific list, of what are ancillary services. Moreover, it clarifies that the revenue from the ancillary services may fall under the tonnage tax regime, provided that the income therefrom does not exceed 50% of the total income generated from Maritime Transport Activities (‘Core Activities’).

Charterers

Exemption is given to:

  • profits derived from the operation of chartered in ships
  • interest income relating to the working capital of the company
  • dividends received from the above profits at all distribution levels

The law grants the exemption provided that the option to register for Tonnage Tax is exercised for all vessels and provided a composition requirement is met: at least 25% (reduced to 10% under conditions) of the net tonnage of the vessels owned or bare boat chartered in.

Ship-managers

The exemption covers:

  • Profits from technical and/or crew management
  • Dividends paid out of these profits at all levels of distribution
  • Interest income relating to the working capital of the company

In order to qualify ship-managers must satisfy the following additional

Requirements:

  • Maintain a fully-fledged office in Cyprus with personnel sufficient in number and qualification
  • At least 51% of all onshore personnel must be community citizens
  • At least 2/3 of total tonnage under management must be managed within the community (any excess of 1/3 taxed under corporation tax). The application of the tonnage tax system is compulsory for owners of Cyprus flag ships and optional for owners of non-Cyprus flag ships, charterers and ship-managers. Those who choose to enter the Tonnage Tax regime must remain in the system for at least 10 years unless they had a valid reason to exit such as disposal of their vessels and cessation their of activities.

Non-Domiciled Tax Status

Foreigners who decide to move their personal tax residency in Cyprus, will automatically be considered as non-domiciled in Cyprus for a maximum of 17 years. For tax purposes, non-domicile persons who become Cyprus tax residents will now be completely exempt from Special Defence Contribution tax (“SDC”).

Income Tax Incentives to New Cyprus Tax Residents

Remuneration from any employment exercised in Cyprus by an individual who was not a resident of Cyprus before the commencement of the employment, exemption applies to 50% of the remuneration for a period of 10 years for employments commencing as from 1 January 2012 provided that the annual remuneration exceeds €100.000.

For employments commencing as from 1 January 2015 the exemption does not apply in case the said individual was a Cyprus tax resident for 3 (or more) tax years out of the 5 tax years immediately prior to the tax year of commencement of the employment nor in the preceding tax year. In certain cases, it is possible to claim the exemption where income falls below €100.000 per annum.

Remuneration from any employment exercised in Cyprus by an individual who was not a resident of Cyprus before the commencement of the employment. The exemption is available for a period of 5 years for employments commencing during or after 2012 and it applies from the tax year following the year of commencement of the employment, with the last eligible tax year being 2030. This exemption may not be claimed in addition to the immediately above mentioned 50% exemption for employment income. Exemption is granted on 20% of the remuneration with a maximum amount of €8.550 annually.

Notional Interest Deduction

Equity introduced to a company as from 1 January 2015 (new equity) in the form of paid-up share capital or share premium may be eligible for an annual notional interest deduction (NID). The annual NID deduction is calculated as the new equity multiplied by the NID interest rate. The relevant interest rate is the yield on 10 year government bonds (as at December 31 of the prior tax year) of the country where the funds are employed in the business of the company plus a 5% premium. A taxpayer may elect not to claim all or part of the available NID for a particular tax year. Certain anti-avoidance provisions apply.

Other exemptions

Type of income Exemption limit:

  • Profit from the sale of securities, the whole amount
  • Dividends (excluding, as from 1 January 2016, dividends which are tax deductible for the paying company), the whole amount.
  • Interest not arising from the ordinary activities or closely related to the ordinary activities of the company, the whole amount.
  • Gains relating to foreign exchange differences (forex) with the exception of forex arising from trading in foreign currencies and related derivatives, the whole amount.
  • Profits from the production of films, series and other related audio-visual programs. The lower of 35% of the eligible expenditure and 50% of the taxable income. Any restriction may be carried forward for 5 years.

Valuable Facts You Need To Know Before You Start Investing

For many, many years people have been investing in numerous things. Some of them were more or less successful. As a newbie, this whole process may appear to be a bit intimidating at first.

And that’s completely understandable, however, if you get your facts straight and get yourself familiar with some things, you can definitely succeed. Just bear in mind that you’re not the only one who is doing it.

A lot of people have done the same and have managed to turn their life around. With a little bit of patience, effort, and discipline, anything can be done. To help you out, we’ve put together some extremely useful tips. Let’s check them out together!

Important Things Every Investor Should Know

Your Net Worth Must Be The Primary Personal Finance Number You Care About

So what does the term net worth even mean? What does it represent? It is actually the total value of all the things you own, such as your vehicle, house, and stuff that can quickly be resold, along with the balances of your savings accounts, checking account, or any type of investment that you have.

Of course, you also have to take into account the things that you’re forced to spend your money on, such as student loans, credit cards, mortgages, and many others. The whole point is to focus on the money that you already have and how you can increase that amount.

There are so many different ways you can do it. For instance, you can start by paying off all your debts, stop wasting money on things you do not necessarily need, and find a way to enhance your income.

One of the best ways to do it is to invest. Now, if you do not have a long-term perspective about certain things, then maybe investing is not the best option for you for the time being, or if you think that your current checking account balance is more crucial than your net worth.

Understand The Stock Market

There are some terms that you need to comprehend before you even begin. For example, when people say that the stock market is being down or up, they generally think of the biggest market indexes.

Namely, this index monitors the performance of various stocks which either represent a specific area of the market or the market as a whole. For instance, if you’re interested in the South African stock market, you can check out JSE Top 40 index to see what’s currently going on. Generally speaking, investors utilise indexes to assess the performance of their portfolios and sometimes, to state their stock trading decisions.

Furthermore, if you want to, you can always invest in a whole index by using exchange-traded funds and index fund, or even ETFs which supervise a particular index or one sector of the market.

Providing New Investors With More Useful Tips

You Must Pay Off All Your Credit Cards As Well As Other High-Interest Debts

If by any chance you have high-interest debts, anything that’s over eight percent interest rate, then one of the best things you can do for yourself is to work on paying down that debt. Namely, you are going to save so much money just by paying off the debt from your credit cards.

As previously mentioned, paying off any of your debt is going to have a huge, positive impact on your overall net worth which will lead to its slow increment because nothing will hold it back. More importantly, all of this will lead to fewer monthly costs, which means that you will have much more cash to invest than you did before.

All in all, if you have these high-interest debts, you should prioritise them and pay them off as soon as possible before you proceed with investing. Not only will they provide you with a better return, but you will drastically enhance your monthly cash flow and enhance net worth.

Assess Your Comfort Zone In Taking On Risk

The ugly truth is that every investment comes with certain risks and that’s something nobody can deny. If you want to acquire securities, like stocks, mutual funds, or bonds, then it’s of huge importance to comprehend everything before you proceed.

Otherwise, you are going to lose a bunch of money. Generally speaking, the cash you spend on securities normally isn’t federally insured. What does it mean? It means that you could potentially lose the amount of cash you’ve invested.

This can happen even if you acquire your investments via a bank. Does it mean that you shouldn’t risk at all? Definitely not! Who knows, maybe if you invest some money, you receive an amazing investment in return.

Furthermore, if you have a long-term financial goal, it is highly likely you’ll earn more money if you smartly invest asset categories with bigger risks, such as bonds or stocks, rather than focusing on assets with less risk.

On the other hand, if you have a short-term financial goal, then you can freely invest your money only in cash investment. The biggest problem when it comes to investing in cash equivalents is definitely inflation risk.

Your Spouse Must Agree With Your Plans

Of course, this segment refers to those who are married. Now, if that’s the case with you, then it would be recommendable to talk to your spouse about your financial plans and see what he or she thinks about it.

Moreover, this conversation should cover three major points. The first one explains your goals. Why are you focusing on a particular investment? What do you want to accomplish with it? The second one should refer to the plan.

Did you create any plan that is going to help you achieve this goal? Do you think that what you’re doing makes sense at all and where are the accounts and whose name did you put on them?

If you do not have this type of conversation with your partner, then you will potentially cause a huge problem? How come, you probably wonder? Well, that’s because if your spouse notices that the money is slowly vanishing he/she will want to know what is going on.

Nobody can ever tell you what you can and cannot do with your money, however, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be smart about it. That’s precisely why we’ve created these guidelines, to help you be and stay successful on this journey.

Rugby excellence: it’s in the blood

Family has played a major role in Owen Farrell’s life and career. That’s not just his blood relations: team-mates and fans have also been a family to him, creating an environment for excellence. And with the fly-half’s own recent move into fatherhood, new challenges and responsibilities are adding fresh dimensions to the title ‘family man’.

Born into a rugby-mad family, England captain Owen Farrell has not been short of role models. His father, Andy, made 370 appearances for Wigan Warriors and was an international for both the Great Britain rugby league and the England rugby union teams. His uncle, Sean O’Loughlin, has played Rugby League for Wigan since 2002, and has racked up almost 450 club appearances – plus 36 international caps for Great Britain and England.

Together, the three of them have collected more than 44 club and international titles. It’s telling that in rugby union, Saracens hasn’t had a team without a Farrell for more than 14 years; Wigan Warriors has had a family member playing for them since 1991. (Even his maternal grandfather, Keiron O’Loughlin, played professional rugby league for 20 years; his own stint at Wigan ran from 1970 to 1979.)

And while Owen’s achievements demonstrate his personal commitment to excellence, he admits his family’s impact has been key for his career. “My dad’s influence has been constant, always has been, always will be,” he says.

Bonds Beyond Sport

Owen’s respect for, and connection with, his father is as true and strong as his place kicking. “We both love the game,” Owen explains. “But it’s not just the rugby stuff, it’s the father/son stuff as well – which a lot of people experience.”

Rugby excellence is part of the Farrells’ DNA and they both share a respect for competition and also the ability of a world-class athlete to adjust their mind-set for the greater goal – which in this case, delivering peak performance for his family of team-mates and fans.

The Next Generation

Farrell will now be passing on those values and mind-set to his own son, Tommy, who was born in March. So has the new arrival made him more aware of his own approach to life? And what impact has fatherhood had on his mind-set and perspective?

“Since my son came along I have spent a lot more time at home with the family and it’s worked out really well,” says Owen. “I’ve found being at home with him unbelievably engaging – it’s very different but in a brilliant way.”

One thing’s for sure: the Farrell way is to combine these strong family bonds with a fiercely competitive approach. Speaking to the Irish Times after his coaching appointment, Andy Farrell said of young Owen: “As a kid I never let him beat me at anything, but since he’s turned 19 he’s beaten me at everything so it’s about time I started getting my own back.”

It’s still far too early to make any predictions for Tommy’s sporting future, even with the obvious genetic inheritance. But he can only benefit from both father and grandfather’s approach to togetherness, whether that’s as a family or as a team.

Honesty Is The Best Policy

Like a family, successful teams are tight-knit and naturally share similar characteristics. They have to strive for the same collective goal and create an environment where individual excellence can be deployed towards that objective. “The challenge is keeping partnerships together and keeping a team pulling in the same direction,” says Owen. “I feel, you do this by not thinking you know it all, not getting too comfortable – especially if the team has had success in the past.”

That means, he adds, that honesty and transparency are key ingredients for a successful team: “I find that it gets you places, and it can get you there fast. Another important one, in my opinion, would be respect. Again, it comes back to being open-minded enough to listen to someone’s opinion and not think that you know it all as an individual, being able to take what you can from it. I would say that comes down to respecting each other.”

That’s echoed by former England coach Stuart Lancaster, who said of Owen’s excellent work ethic: “He has great integrity as a person and he’s a strong leader and competitor. He’s not afraid to listen to other people to get better and that’s what drives him.”

“The core is so strong that there’s room for people to come and go and be able to fit in to what we’re already doing.” ~ Owen Farrell, England Rugby Captain

Successful Succession

Growing and nurturing a team and preparing the next generation of players is a critical part of being a leader on and off the field. And, in playing terms, that also entails a passing of the baton between generations:

“At Saracens, the core of the group has been together for a long time now in rugby terms,” says Owen. “I’d say it would be coming up to 10 years. But that core is so strong that there’s room for people to come and go and be able to fit in to what we’re already doing.”

The will and determination of the collective more often than not outperforms the individual – whether that’s in a family or a team. And it’s clear from looking at the Farrell dynasty that while blood ties bind a family close, it’s mind-set, values and togetherness that create the environment for long-lasting success.

Is Apple Buying Netflix?

Citi analysts recently sent a note to clients saying there is a 40% chance that Apple AAPL -0.03% will buy Netflix NFLX +1.93%, according to Business Insider. This will no doubt garner headlines and will be discussed ad nauseam on the financial news networks.

The basis for the analyst’s argument is that Apple will have $252 billion in overseas cash available to repatriate, and they need to do something with it. It would be boring and obvious to tell their clients that Apple will stay the course and continue what they’ve been doing — making smaller acquisitions (like last month’s purchase of Shazam), increasing research & development spending and buying back shares and growing their dividends. It’s much splashier to say they’ll do something exciting like buy Netflix, Walt Disney DIS +0.43%, or Tesla TSLA -1.05%.

Where did Citi come up with their 40% estimate? Did they just pull it out of thin air? Apple is very secretive when it comes to their long-term plans, so this type of analyst note seems to be nothing more than mere speculation.

The Citi analysts have nothing to lose by making their prediction — if they’re wrong, they can claim they said there was a 60% chance of a deal not happening. If they’re right, they can hang their hat on it and say they were the ones who made the call that it would happen.

Apple has already committed $1 billion towards creating new shows and their largest acquisition was buying Beats for $3 billion in 2014. Why would they spend $75 billion to buy Netflix? It would be a desperation move that would raise a white flag and signal a major organisational shift in philosophy.

Where did Citi come up with their 40% estimate? Did they just pull it out of thin air? Apple is very secretive when it comes to their long-term plans, so this type of analyst note seems to be nothing more than mere speculation.

Netflix shares will probably get a boost from this (“buy the rumour, sell the news!”), but they are already overvalued and overpriced. Netflix currently has a P/E ratio over 191 and negative free cash flow as it burns through cash developing new content. Competition in the streaming market is heating up considerably after Disney announced plans to pull their content from Netflix and start their own streaming service next year.

Ultimately, it’s highly doubtful that Apple would buy Netflix, especially at such a high premium. Citi probably knows that, but will be happy to have the attention, and their clients who own Netflix shares will be happy from the inevitable bump.