Cyprus, officially called the Republic of Cyprus, is the third-largest island in the Mediterranean, situated east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria, Lebanon, northwest of Israel and north of Egypt.
Cyprus became an independent republic on the 16th August 1960. Since independence, Cyprus has been transformed into a modern thriving economy with a high per capita income for its citizens.
The population of Cyprus arises around approximately 800,000 and the official languages spoken are Greek, Turkish and English. English are mainly used for contacting business transactions.
Due to the good climate, Cyprus owes much of the economy to the millions of tourists that yearly visit the island.
Cyprus has an excellent business sector that has become a popular off-shore haven for investors. In 1975, Cyprus introduced a tax legislation aiming to attract international business companies to set up in Cyprus. This policy was extremely successful as it was founded on an attractive tax system and a wide and continuously expanding network of favourable tax treaties.
Tax treaties legally supersede local tax legislation and for this reason they are a useful tax-planning tool to protect business and individuals against double taxation of income earned in other countries. Cyprus has entered into almost 50 double-tax treaties (unusually for a low –tax jurisdiction). The general effect of these treaties is that Cyprus-registered offshore entities that have tax exemptions in Cyprus will have the same exemptions in the treaty countries.
On the 1st of May 2001, Cyprus became a member of the European Union and one that offers investors one of the lowest corporate tax rates in EU. Additionally, as from 1st October 2001, the Government of Cyprus has lifted restriction on foreign direct investment from non EU-countries in order to attract more foreign direct investment and promote Cyprus as an International Business Centre.
Thus, Cyprus offers a variety of possibilities and opportunities to the international businessman. These include the formation of offshore entities, the registration of ships under the Cyprus flag, the creation of offshore banking units, the carrying out of international commercial arbitration and the establishment of offshore trusts.
Cyprus is now a premier holding, finance royalty and trading company jurisdiction.