Cyprus has a complicated system of forced heirship in which a portion of a deceased's estate must be effectively passed to surviving family members according to a set system of inheritance. This forced heirship regime means that even if a deceased writes a will leaving a certain portion of their estate as gift to their spouse, their wishes will be deemed invalid if there are natural children who are entitled to a fixed minimum percentage of the estate.
Cyprus offers a number of tax incentives to high-net-worth individuals. For example, foreign nationals who earn €100,000 per annum from employment in Cyprus are eligible for a 50% tax exemption on their income irrespective of the status of their tax residency or domicile. Further, Cyprus is party to more than 65 tax treaties, which allows it to charge zero or minimal withholding tax rates on incomes such as pensions, royalties, dividends and interest received from abroad.
When property interests are given away during life or at death, taxes are imposed on their transfer. Such taxes are known as estate and gift taxes. The simplicity of Cyprus's tax system, especially with regard to estate and gift taxes, is one of the major attractions for the many high-net-worth individuals and companies that choose Cyprus as their place of business or residence.
The Central Bank of Cyprus recently issued a circular which clarifies dubious and vague information regarding shell companies and entities in Cyprus and advises banks and service providers on how to deal with them. As Cyprus remains an attractive jurisdiction for registering offshore entities, the circular's revised definition of 'shell companies' will assist banks when opening accounts for international businesses and corporate service providers.
Typically, a parent's main concern is being able to pay for their children's education and ensuring the best start for them when they grow up and want to purchase property or launch their own business. One way to accomplish these goals is to set up a Cyprus investment trust (CIT), which allows a trustee to manage its assets for the good of the beneficiaries. Setting up a CIT for children is easy and allows parents to tailor a trust to fit their unique circumstances.