Cyprus, Elias Neocleous & Co LLC updates

Corporate Tax

Contributed by Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
Issuance of tax residence certificates based on 60-day residence rule
  • Cyprus
  • 01 March 2019

The Cyprus Tax Department recently issued a circular giving guidance on the tax residence provisions for individuals introduced by Law 119(I)/2017. The circular makes clear that an individual who holds office as a director of a Cyprus tax-resident company and delegates this office to an alternate or nominee director at any time during the tax year does not qualify for Cyprus tax residence under the 60-day rule.

Reference rates for notional interest deduction for 2019
  • Cyprus
  • 15 February 2019

Article 9(B) of the Income Tax Law 2002 (as amended) provides for a notional interest deduction for tax purposes on new equity capital injected into companies and permanent establishments of foreign companies on or after 1 January 2015 to finance business assets, calculated by applying a reference rate to the new equity. The Tax Department recently announced the 10-year government bond yields for 31 December 2018, which will be used as the basis for the notional interest deduction for the 2019 tax year.

New Cyprus-Saudi Arabia double tax agreement enters into force
  • Cyprus
  • 01 February 2019

The Ministry of Finance recently announced that the double tax agreement with Saudi Arabia – which was signed on 3 January 2018 – will enter into force on 1 March 2019. The agreement will apply to amounts paid or credited on or after 1 January 2020 with regard to taxes withheld at source and to tax years beginning on or after 1 January 2020 with regard to other taxes.

Time extension for financial institutions to submit 2017 corporate tax returns
  • Cyprus
  • 25 January 2019

The Tax Department recently announced a time extension for banks and other financial institutions to submit their corporate tax returns for the 2017 tax year. Unlike other companies, which must submit their tax returns electronically, banks and other financial institutions must submit hard copy tax returns, giving additional details of their business, by the end of the year following the tax year in question.

New tax exemptions and allowances for film and audiovisual production industry
  • Cyprus
  • 18 January 2019

The Income Tax Law was recently amended to provide an exemption of up to 50% for income derived from the production of films, series and other relevant audiovisual media. In addition, small enterprises may claim an annual deduction of 20% of the cost of cinematographic infrastructure and technological equipment, provided that it has been used in Cyprus for at least five years.


Litigation

Contributed by Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
Amendment of Judicial Practice Code
  • Cyprus
  • 19 March 2019

The Judicial Practice Code was recently amended to provide that no judge, whether sitting alone or as a member of a panel of judges of an adjudicating court, can hear a case in which a party is represented by a lawyer who is a family member of the judge or works in the same firm or office as a family member of the judge. The recent media focus in Cyprus on the alleged impartiality of certain judges was the impetus behind the changes.

Supreme Court revokes first-instance court's decision on statement of claim amendments
  • Cyprus
  • 26 February 2019

The Supreme Court recently overturned a first-instance court's decision to reject a request to amend a statement of claim under Rule 25 of the Civil Procedure Rules on the grounds that the amendment amounted to a new cause of action. The Supreme Court found that the proposed amendments merely referenced actions by the defendants which supported their existing claim and did not amount to a new cause of action.

New statutory interest rate on judicial awards enters into force
  • Cyprus
  • 19 February 2019

The minister of finance recently announced that the statutory rate of interest on judgments pursuant to Article 33 of the Courts of Justice Law has been reduced to 2% per annum with effect from 1 January 2019. This rate will apply for the entirety of 2019.

Court dismisses defendants' application in limitation period case
  • Cyprus
  • 29 January 2019

Limitation periods in Cyprus were suspended for many years. However, in 2012 the Limitation of Actionable Rights Law was enacted to reintroduce time limits for the filing of civil claims. In a recent case, the District Court of Limassol held that the law on limitation periods, together with Article 30.2 of the Constitution, imposes specific time limits to ensure the rule of finality and distinguish between bona fide and mala fide civil and criminal procedures.

Absence of claimant results in claim dismissal
  • Cyprus
  • 22 January 2019

The Supreme Court recently upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss an appellant's claim in first-instance proceedings. The claimant had been the only witness in her case, but – after failing to attend the hearing on the appointed date – had requested an adjournment of the case through her lawyers on the grounds that she was unable to attend due to absence abroad for health reasons. The defendant's lawyer had not initially objected to the proposal to adjourn.


Shipping & Transport

Contributed by Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
International Safety Management Code – instructions for recognised organisations
  • Cyprus
  • 06 March 2019

The Cyprus Flag Administration recently imposed additional requirements on the development, implementation and certification of safety management systems over and above those which have been set out in the International Safety Management Code since 1998. The consolidated edition of the additional requirements replaces a previous version published in 2006 and recognised organisations are required to implement its terms and conditions immediately.

Safety zone in Cyprus Continental Shelf and exclusive economic zone – Stena IceMax
  • Cyprus
  • 06 February 2019

The recent Ministerial Order on Safety Zones was published with the purpose of ensuring the safety of the Stena IceMax drillship and the safety of navigation during the period that it will be used to drill in the Cyprus Continental Shelf and exclusive economic zone. The order establishes a safety zone at a distance of 500 metres from the drillship. Unless a vessel has obtained the requisite licence from the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, it cannot (bar a few exceptions) enter, navigate or remain within the safety zone.

Amendments to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention enter into force
  • Cyprus
  • 30 January 2019

The Deputy Ministry of Shipping (DMS) recently issued the 2016 Amendments to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention. The amendments affect maritime labour certificates and declarations of maritime labour compliance. In this regard, the DMS has announced that existing certificates and declarations will remain valid until their expiry date.

Tonnage tax – maintenance of prescribed levels of EU-flagged vessels
  • Cyprus
  • 23 January 2019

The Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law 2010 requires that, in order to qualify for the tonnage tax scheme, EU-flagged ships must account for at least a specified minimum percentage of the taxpayer's fleet. The Deputy Ministry of Shipping recently announced the outcome of its review of companies that entered the tonnage tax system between 1 January 2015 and 1 January 2016.

Tonnage tax: countries whose ships are subject to surcharge
  • Cyprus
  • 19 December 2018

The Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law 2010 imposes a surcharge on the tonnage tax payable on qualifying vessels registered in countries which appear on the 'grey list' or 'black list' of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding. On the basis of the 2017 annual report of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding, the Deputy Ministry of Shipping has determined a list of flags that are included in the relevant grey or black list for the purposes of calculating tonnage tax for 2018.


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