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Cyprus is an EU Member State with an Exceptionally Advantageous Tax Regime

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Cyprus Company Set Up | Uses By Corporations

Cyprus Company Formation Packages

€250 – Cyprus Company Formation

We are Cyprus Company Formation specialist consultants. We provide ALL the Cyprus company formation and company registration and management services in order to obtain Cyprus Company Tax Advantages. We have an experienced team of Company Formation professionals who are part of the FBS Kotsomitis Global Network. Your Trusted Partner in Cyprus for ALL your Cyprus Company Formation.

It is no exaggeration to say that there are no activities that a Cyprus Entity is not suitable for. The most common activities of Cyprus’ Legal Entities, which are currently being used, are set out in a summary format below (the list of such activities is not exhaustive).

To discuss operations not covered here or to examine the structures in more detail, please contact us directly.

Download here our Company Brochures:

Company Profile & Services (pdf)
Why Cyprus? (pdf)
Investment Holding Structures (pdf)
Cypriot Holding Company Structures (pdf)
International Trading & Other Structures (pdf)

The most common activities of Cyprus Legal Entities, which are currently being used, are set out below:

(The list of such activities is not exhaustive).

International Trading, Commission Agent & Service Companies

Such companies can be used for the invoicing / re-invoicing of goods and services (as well for the receipt of trading commissions) from any country to any destination and for transit trade activities in combination with the operation of bonded warehouses, bonded factories and the free trade zones.

Cyprus Companies may provide services such as sales promotion, accounting function, provision of labour – executive staff, consulting, market research, commission agency, intermediation, client introduction and many others. They may employ expatriate staff, who benefit from double tax treaty provisions, by paying tax and social insurance in Cyprus at low rates, thus avoiding the high tax rates in their home country.

In this way, profits made by the Cyprus Company are taxed at Cyprus’ Low Corporate Tax Rate of 10%, instead of higher corporate tax rates. Trading from a low-tax EU state such as Cyprus and using appropriate tax planning – structuring to mitigate Cyprus Tax sometimes to levels well below 10%, is a far superior strategy nowadays than trading through an offshore company registered in a tax haven.


Maximization of after-tax return on investments is the main goal. Therefore, investment structures which have the least tax leakage are preferable investment alternatives.

As such, a Cyprus Investment Vehicle can collect income, which can be a charge against high tax income in the investment country. Then, withholding tax is eliminated or reduced under double tax treaties or under EU Directives. The rate of tax in Cyprus is low or 0% in a most cases relating to investments if foreign dividends are exempt and capital gains are subject to conditions. The income can then be repatriated in any form the investor (use of income conversion or transformation methods) wishes and to any jurisdiction without withholding tax.

There are no investment activities which are inappropriate for the Cyprus Tax Environment. However, there are investment activities which are indeed ideally suited to the Cyprus Tax Environment such as the ones explained in this section (among others are Holding Companies, Group Finance Companies, Royalty Companies, Head Office operations for South Europe, Middle East, Russia, and Central and Eastern Europe).

Holding Companies

The location of a holding company is an important consideration in any international structure where there is a desire to minimize the tax charged on income and gains. One thing is certain – there is not just one optimal holding company jurisdiction to suit all investor’s or investment’s profiles. A multitude of tax and non-tax factors are taken into account by investors before they finally decide on a holding company.

It still remains, however, that The Netherlands, Luxembourg and other classic holding company jurisdictions now face a new outstanding competitor. As we are moving forward in time from EU Accession we are seeing more and more clients preferring Cyprus as a holding jurisdiction to other traditional jurisdictions. However, sometimes best results can be achieved by combining Cyprus with other jurisdictions such as The Netherlands and Luxembourg rather than by substitution.

Leading tax experts, notably among which also the late Prof. Dr Gassner (Tax Chair of the University of Vienna and Chairman of the International Fiscal Association), have stated that Cyprus has one of the most beneficial and versatile  “Holding Company Regimes” currently available in the World.

In order to appreciate the merits of Cyprus as a holding company jurisdiction, it suffices to compare the main typical holding company “optimality criteria” (set out below) and the benefits provided by the Cyprus Holding Company Regime (also set out below):

Optimality Criteria for a Holding Company

Holding companies perform the following functions within a group:

  • Asset ownership / participation interest in operating (“opcos”) & non-operating group companies.
  • Accumulation of capital and shareholder value.
  • Consolidation of business segments (incl. consolidated IFRS financial statements).
  • Asset protection / mitigation of risks.
  • Receiving dividends from “opcos”.
  • Distribution of profits to shareholders.
  • Reinvestment of capital into new projects.

For illustration purposes, the company should ideally be resident in a jurisdiction which:

(only some of the main criteria are listed – not an exhaustive list)

  • Enables the extraction of foreign sourced dividends at mitigated or preferably zero rates of foreign withholding tax – In choosing a holding company jurisdiction, one needs to take into account the benefits of a particular country’s Double Tax Conventions (Treaties) in order to reduce the incidence of foreign withholding tax. High tax jurisdictions generally do not enter into Double Tax Conventions with offshore jurisdictions. For this reason, if offshore (non-Cyprus) Companies are used to own shares in high tax jurisdictions, it is likely to increase the burden of tax, via the imposition of high withholding taxes, rather than reduce it.
  • Enables foreign dividends received to be taxed at low or preferably zero rates of domestic corporation or other taxes in the country of residence of the holding company – Not only one should plan to have a holding company in a jurisdiction which can receive foreign dividends with reduced withholding taxes, but one also needs to ensure that those dividends are not highly taxed in the holding company’s country of residence.
  • Permits the distribution of available profits to non-resident shareholders at low or preferably zero rates of withholding tax – Care needs to be taken that the jurisdiction chosen for a holding company is not one that will impose excessive withholding taxes on distributions of income to the shareholders of the company.
  • Allows for the realization of capital gains from the disposal of shares in foreign companies at low or preferably zero rates of both foreign and domestic corporation tax on the gains – All the leading holding company jurisdictions provide, for an exemption from taxation on holding companies realized gains, the disposal of shares in foreign companies.
  • Enables the tax-free liquidation of the holding company

The Cyprus Holding Company Regime

Apart from the generic features of the tax system (see Why Cyprus?), the DTT Network and the adoption of EU Directives, other tax system’s important features beneficial to Cyprus Holding Companies are the following:

  • Participation Exemption:
    1. Foreign dividends are tax-exempt (provided that a minimum 1% holding in the company paying the dividend is maintained.  Also note that this exemption does not apply if the non-resident company paying the dividend carries on, directly or indirectly, more than 50% of investment activities – passive income – and the overseas tax burden of the paying company is significantly lower than the Cyprus tax burden [(practically interpreted by the Tax Authorities meaning less than 5% “headline tax” – not effective tax burden] and no other rules, minimum holding period, minimum investment thresholds etc.).
    2. No capital gains tax is payable on the sale or transfer of securities and the gains are exempt from Income Tax (except gains from disposal of shares in companies owning Real Estate situated in Cyprus – only to the extent that the gain relates to the particular Cyprus Real Estate). Also, profits from a Permanent Establishment (PE) outside Cyprus are tax-exempt and its losses can be set-off against Cyprus Income (this exemption also does not apply if the PE carries on more than 50% of investment activities – passive income – and the overseas tax burden is significantly lower than the Cyprus tax burden). This exemption (PE) in conjunction with the use of some of Cyprus DTTs can result in PE profits avoiding tax altogether.
  • Simple rules and no need for additional and sometimes complex and expensive tax structuring to circumvent anti-avoidance provisions, as it usually is the case with other jurisdictions in the case of dividends or capital gains.
  • Low or no withholding taxes on outgoing dividends, interest and royalties (no withholding tax on dividends and interest irrespective of the country or residence of the recipient [even offshore jurisdictions] or the existence of a Double Tax Treaty; no withholding tax on royalty payments for use of the rights outside Cyprus, 10% if the rights will be used in Cyprus (subject to DTT & EU Directives) and 5% on films (subject to DTT & EU Directives). We note here that, compared to other “key” holding company jurisdictions, only Cyprus and the UK have 0% dividend withholding tax (DWT) – so no need for complex and expensive “structuring out” of DWT. This is an important competitive advantage of Cyprus compared to other holding company jurisdictions.
  • No capital gains or income tax on the liquidation of participations or the liquidation of the Cypriot Holding Company itself.
  • No net worth taxes (as mentioned before, no capital gains taxes) during the life of the Cypriot Holding Company.
  • Tax losses are carried forward indefinitely and can also be surrendered as group relief.
  • Mergers, Takeovers and other Re-Organizations can take place within groups with no tax consequence.
  • Unilateral tax-relief is granted to all Cyprus Companies for foreign tax suffered irrespective of the absence of a double tax treaty.
  • No thin capitalization rules.
  • Limited anti-avoidance provisions.
  • Interest deduction for borrowing costs is provided.
  • Absence of strict CFC Legislation.
  • Attractive Permanent Establishment (PE) rules and generous PE provisions available in the DTT Network.
  • No specific substance requirements.
  • No obligation for the holding company (or right) for VAT registration & compliance.
  • Low duties – taxes on the establishment of companies.
  • Absence of “strict” transfer pricing rules.
  • Possibility to obtain Advance Tax Rulings.
  • Low expense level for professional / financial fees.

In conclusion, the Cyprus Tax System Enables:

(a) the extraction of foreign sourced dividends at mitigated or zero rates of foreign withholding tax (owing to the use of the Parent Subsidiary Directive or the Use of Double Tax Treaties if the Directive is not applicable).

(b) the receipt of foreign dividends at zero rates of corporation tax or special defense contribution (local withholding tax) or any other local taxes (subject to conditions – anti avoidance provisions that are easy to satisfy), i.e. “an EU Holding Company with no domestic tax leakage on holding activities”.

(c) the distribution of available profits to non-resident shareholders at zero rates of dividend withholding tax, irrespective of jurisdiction or the absence of a DTT (even to offshore jurisdictions), and

(d) allows for the realization of capital gains from the disposal of shares in foreign companies at zero rates of corporation and capital gains tax on the gains”, irrespective of holding period and shareholder percentage and no capital gains tax on the liquidation of the holding company itself.

Please contact us for more information

Note: Our Directors are continuously travelling to a number of countries meeting existing and potential clients and associates.

Group Finance Companies

Group Finance Companies perform the following functions:

  • Sourcing external debt finance.
  • Accumulation of interest income and tax optimization of high tax country group operating companies.
  • Redistribution of funds within the group.

Such companies may take advantage of the Cyprus Double Tax Treaties by providing loans in treaty countries or other countries where withholding tax on interest is low or nil.

The use of Cyprus Entities for group finance are extremely attractive. Cyprus Finance Companies can fulfil intra-company and inter-company financial management functions, such as granting of loans for project financing or working capital requirements. Interest payments to the Cyprus Financing Company is tax deductible in the country of the borrower reducing the overall corporation tax liability. Choosing the right international jurisdiction for the use of double tax treaties can reduce or eliminate withholding taxes on interest payments.

These structures are particularly attractive for investment into high-tax countries where, local rules permitting, high debt structures are widely used.

Apart from the generic features of the tax system, the DTT Network and the adoption of EU Directives, other important features of the tax system beneficial to Cyprus (Group) Finance are the following:

  • Absence (under a Double Tax Treaty or the Interest and Royalty Directive) of interest withholding tax.
  • Low overall tax burden.
  • Possibility of deducting interest expenses from taxable income.
  • Absence of thin capitalization rules or their inapplicability in the case of “back to back” financing.
  • Absence of interest withholding tax in connection with interest paid on loan financing, irrespective of jurisdiction or the absence of a DTT (even for interest payments to offshore jurisdictions).
  • Reasonable level of “margin” required by tax authorities.
  • Low expense level for professional / financial fees.

Please contact us for more information

Note: Our Directors are continuously travelling to a number of countries meeting existing and potential clients and associates.

Royalty, Patent & Trademark Companies

Due to the low withholding tax rates for royalties provided in most of the Cyprus’ Double Tax Treaties and the use of the EU Directives, establishing a royalty company in Cyprus can be a very attractive proposition.

Royalties and licensing rights for intellectual property can be owned by or assigned to a Cyprus Company. Intellectual Property may include computer software, technical knowledge, patents, trademarks, trade secrets & methods, and copyrights.

Royalties and licensing fees for intellectual property can be owned by or assigned to a Cyprus Company. The Cyprus IBC can then enter into license or franchise agreements with other companies interested in exploiting these rights. Royalty payments from Central and Eastern European countries would normally be deductible expense in the source country and they will be subject to a 10% tax after deduction of expenses in Cyprus. The use of the Cyprus’ Wide  Double Tax Treaties Network and EU Directives reduces or eliminates the withholding tax on the collection of the Royalty payment.

Apart from the tax system’s generic features, the DTT Network and the adoption of EU Directives, other important tax system features beneficial to Cyprus Royalty Companies are the following:

  • Absence or reduction (under a Double Tax Treaty or the Interest and Royalty Directive) of withholding tax on royalties paid to Cyprus Company.
  • Low overall tax burden.
  • Tax deduction of royalty payments.
  • Effective tax depreciation of investments in intellectual property.
  • Absence of withholding tax on royalty payments (including to offshore companies) for rights used outside Cyprus – the usual case.
  • Neutral VAT treatment.
  • Reasonable level of “margin” required by tax authorities.
  • Effective protection of intellectual property rights by Legislation and the participation of Cyprus in international agreements.

Please contact us for more information

Note: Our Directors are continuously travelling to a number of countries meeting existing and potential clients and associates.

Construction & Engineering Companies

Cyprus is an ideal location for international construction and engineering companies due to the favourable tax treatment afforded to them and the existence of the Cyprus’ Double Tax Treaties. Foreign contractors or engineers may avoid paying tax in a treaty country provided the project does not exceed the duration specified in the respective tax treaty. Some of Cyprus’ Treaties, especially those with Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, are especially generous in this respect, providing for significant project durations before a permanent establishment obligation is born.

Internet & E-Commerce Companies

There are a growing number of companies, which choose to host their e-commerce site or venture in Cyprus, in order to take advantage of its beneficial tax regime, excellent telecommunications infrastructure and intellectual property protection laws.

Electronic commerce business companies may not only operate from Cyprus with minimum tax burden, but may also take advantage of Cyprus’ Wide Double Taxation Treaties Network, which may be extremely useful in the context of the internet server as a permanent establishment.


A Cyprus Company can own equipment and lease it to a high-tax country entity (HTCE).

Such an arrangement allows the HTCE entity to take advantage on the leasing payments. The equipment may come into the ownership of the Cyprus Company under a sale and lease back agreement with the HTCE entity.

A HTCE can sell its already depreciated assets to a Cyprus Company. The Cyprus Company is entitled to capital allowances on these newly acquired assets and will charge a leasing fee to the original owner. Such an arrangement will reduce the taxable profit in the country of the original owner.

Printing & Publishing Companies

Cyprus has developed into a regional publishing, printing and distribution centre mainly due to its low cost, high quality printing services, and its excellent telecommunications system. These advantages together with the tax incentives offered, have led to the establishment in Cyprus of many Companies engaged in the printing and type-setting of books and periodicals for sale and distribution outside the Republic.

Real Estate Companies

Such companies can be used very advantageously for property management, especially in conjunction with the Cyprus’ Double Tax Treaties and the EU Directives.

The structuring of ownership through a Cyprus Company can reduce capital gains, transfer or stamp duties, and inheritance taxes; and simplify a variety of other complex high-tax country issues.

A Cyprus IBC can own Real Estate property both in Cyprus and in other countries including the beneficial shareholders’ country of residence.

The Cyprus Company’s beneficial shareholders that own the property can sell its shares instead of the property. The property’s legal ownership has not changed, so all stamp duties and transfer duties in the property’s jurisdiction are avoided.

The gain on the disposal of the Cyprus Company’s shares is tax exempt in Cyprus (there may be a taxable gain only if the property is situated in Cyprus).

EU Anti-Avoidance Measures

The use of Cyprus Entities is recommended especially for EU property where there are strict anti-avoidance measures in force (Portugal, Greece, and a number of other EU Member States). Indicatively, in Greece a special 3% annual tax on the property’s ratable value is levied if the property is owned by a non-EU offshore entity!

Headquarter Companies

Cyprus offers ideal conditions for the location of multinational companies’ regional management and administrative centres throughout the world, with interests in the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe.

Administration & Treasury Management

Companies operating in regions where the local banking and administration infrastructure is not reliable can gain significant advantages from outsourcing this function in Cyprus. Further to the efficient banking system and tax beneficial regime of most of Cyprus, there is an abundance of qualified personnel within most of the professional disciplines to support even the most complex operations. The centralized administration and treasury management functions enjoy the advantage of a convenient time zone ensuring uninterrupted service to global operations.

The cost of running such a function from Cyprus is significantly lower compared to maintaining this in a country with a high cost of living. The administration and treasury management services can be provided by Focus Business Services, should the size of the global operations not justify the setting-up of a fully-fledged office in Cyprus.

Such a set up opens up possibilities for sophisticated transfer-pricing planning to minimize tax and optimize timing for the incidence of costs and profit generation.

Employment Companies

The use of Employment Companies provides an opportunity to use Cyprus as a centre in tax planning for individuals. Expatriates working for foreign companies, performing their duties outside Cyprus, and paid through a Cyprus Employment Company, would benefit from a tax-free status. Due to the existence of double tax treaties, expatriates on short assignments to various countries are treaty-protected if employed through Cyprus – they are entitled to tax exemption in Cyprus. At the same time, because of their short assignment in the other treaty country, they do not become tax resident there either.

Executive Recruitment & Employment

A high-tax country entity can set up a Cyprus Company to employ all its executives that work internationally. In this way the tax payable by the executives and the social contributions payable by the employing company are reduced (also depends on local legislation in actual performance country). Such an arrangement benefits both the company, by reducing its executive employment costs, and the executive by increasing the amount of the net remuneration.

The concept of the Payroll Company can be extended to cover the hiring of workers for international contracts (the case of international contracts that are manned by workers from various jurisdictions).

International Banking Units

The Government’s Policy of encouraging the establishment and operation of International Banking Units (IBUs) in Cyprus, has contributed to the steady development of Cyprus as an international Banking Centre. As a result, Cyprus has obtained membership from a respectable international Group of Banking, which aims at monitoring and promoting the operation of IBUs.

An IBU can take the form of either:

  • A locally Incorporated Company or Branch of Overseas Company.
  • A Representative Office.
  • An Administrative Banking Unit.

Captive & General Insurance Companies

During the past decade, Cyprus has developed into a very attractive centre for the establishment of International Insurance and Reinsurance Companies intending to transact insurance and reinsurance business internationally, especially in the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Due to tax incentives offered, special insurance law exemptions, quick registration procedures, low running costs and locally available expertise, Cyprus is especially suitable for the establishment of an International Captive Insurance Company.

Financial Services Companies

Cyprus International Business Companies may, after specific approval from the Central Bank of Cyprus, render financial services to third parties.

Normally only branches, subsidiaries or overseas investment’s and financial services’ associated companies, enjoying a good reputation internationally and established in countries where there is adequate financial supervision, may be considered eligible for a license to render international financial services from Cyprus.

Shipping & Ship Management Companies

(Also refer to: The very important web-site of The Republic of Cyprus’s Department of Merchant Shipping)

The Cyprus’ strategic position at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe, north of the Suez Canal, has been an important factor in the development of the island as a maritime centre in the region.

Cyprus Registered Companies, owning and operating ships under the Cyprus Flag, enjoy complete exemption from income tax on income derived from operating such ships in international waters.

In addition, no income tax is payable on the salaries of the captain, officers and crew of a Cyprus ship in respect of emoluments earned for services rendered to such shipping companies.

Contact one of our officers to initiate the incorporation of a Cyprus registered company and start reaping the full benefits of an onshore, low-tax, EU jurisdiction. Simply fill in the contact box below or contact us by email on

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    P. O. Box 22784, CY-1524 Nicosia

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    Cyprus Company Incorporation
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