Cyprus: A Step By Step Guide For Forming A Company In Cyprus

Last Updated: 1 September 2017
Article by Michael Kourouklas

During the last five years, the Republic of Cyprus has overcome for a second time in its economic history all the barriers arising from the 2012 – 2013 financial crisis. The country has achieved the foresaid turnaround by an application of tough austerity measures leading to a redefined and restructured market framework. Furthermore, a careful cleansing and restructuring of the banking system in Cyprus took place.

By safeguarding the legal and tax rights of the International Businesses, Cyprus has arisen once again as a winner from a battle that many experts rushed to doom as a ''lost case scenario''. On the contrary, during the last years the Cypriot economy has demonstrated a positive increase in all the sectors of its economy.

The advantageous geographical position of Cyprus at the crossroads of Europe, Middle East and Africa and the fact that Cyprus has become a full member of the European Union on the 1st of May 2004, provide a sense of stability and security to the entrepreneur. At the same time Cyprus provides to International Businesses tax incentives, high level of professional services, various double tax treaties and an ideal place for both their families and their business to coexist.

Main Advantages

  • The Corporate tax rate of 12, 5% on net profits; one of the lowest rates in the EU.
  • The legal framework of Cyprus is based on the principles of the English common law, recognized for its transparency and credibility in business practices.
  • The dividends of the Shareholders are excluded from the Tax Authorities as long as they are not tax residents of the Republic of Cyprus.
  • There are in place a great number of double taxation treaties with various countries.
  • The VAT rate in Cyprus is currently at 19%.
  • There is absolute freedom of movement of foreign currency which allows the maintenance of a bank account in foreign currency anywhere in the word.
  • Losses from a company in Cyprus may be transferred to the next year.

Procedure for registering / incorporating a Cyprus Limited Company

  • Company Name
    • The first step the applicant must follow is to choose the name of his/her Company. In order to avoid any synonymity with other Company names, the applicant should submit at least three alternative Company names either in Greek or in Latin characters (whatever Company name is submitted the word ''Limited'' is placed at the end of each Company name).
  • Memorandum of Articles and Association
    • Upon approval of the Company name, the applicant shall submit in detail the Company activities, the amount of the share capital, the internal Company regulations etc., to the lawyer in order to prepare the Memorandum of Articles and Association.
  • Shareholders
    • By law, each Company should appoint at least one Shareholder. The Shareholder may be either a physical person or a legal entity.
  • Board Members
    • All Cyprus Limited Companies are obliged in appointing at least one Director and one Secretary. It is recommended that the majority of Directors are of Cypriots Residence or foreigners staying permanently in Cyprus. By doing so, the Company will not lose its tax advantage of a low tax rate of 12, 5% since management and control will be taking place in Cyprus. In the case of the Secretary, it is recommended also to be of Cypriot Residence for practical main reasons i.e. immediate signatures of various main Company documents.
  • Registered Office
    • It must be noted that the Registered Office of the Cyprus Company must be any address located in Cyprus.

The procedure for forming a Company in Cyprus can be completed within a timeframe of 7 – 10 working days. It is highly recommended that the businessman will attend a meeting with his tax consultant, accountant and auditor (which are members of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus – ICPAC), to discuss further matters affecting the operation of the Cyprus Company including the Company's actual substance structure, bank accounts opening, VAT and tax registration, applications for a social insurance number etc.

At the end of each year, the Company must pay an annual license fee of €350 to the Registrar of Companies. Also at the end of each year audited accounts must be prepared and submitted to the Tax Authorities and Registrar Companies.

Before choosing the right country – ''Jurisdiction'', for incorporating his Company, the applicant must study carefully with his business and tax consultant all the tax and legal implications for the smooth operations of the Company.

It should be clearly understood that when forming a Cyprus Company, one does not form an Offshore Company, but a Cyprus Company recognized from the European Union. Cyprus was, is and will be a reliable destination for forming your Company since it has been demonstrated through time that Companies with international operations are supported from all the governments irrespective of political beliefs and that is why Cyprus is considered as one of the greatest financial centers of Europe, today.

We can assist you in forming a Cyprus Company in order to be in compliance with all requirements set up by the Cyprus Authorities.

For your Tax planning solution and further detailed analysis please contact us.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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