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A comparative analysis of the position of Cyprus as an international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States. Maarten F. Koper Senior Tax Manager Ernst & Young. Holding Companies. Holding companies perform the following functions within a corporate group of companies :

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A comparative analysis of the position of Cyprus as an international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States

Maarten F. Koper

Senior Tax Manager Ernst & Young


Holding companies
Holding Companies international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States

Holding companies perform the following functions within a corporate group of companies:

  • Ownership of shares / participation interest in group companies

  • Accumulation of capital and shareholder value

  • Reinvestment of capital into new projects

  • Distribution of profits to shareholders

  • Consolidation of various business segments

  • Receiving dividends from operating companies

  • Consolidated financial IFRS financial statements

  • Asset protection / mitigation of risks


Holding companies1
Holding Companies international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States

Cyprus as a jurisdiction for holding companies suits a number of criteria which are considered to be:

  • Absence (under a double tax treaty or based on EU parent-subsidiary directive) of WHT on dividends paid from subsidiary company to Cyprus holding company

  • Low overall tax burdenin Cyprus :

    • Low (corporate) income tax rates,

    • No tax on dividends (subject to conditions),

    • No CFC rules (which may tax retained earnings on foreign low-taxed subsidiary companies generating (passive) investment income)

    • Low duties on establishment of companies,

    • No tax on capital gains;

  • No outbound WHT on profit distributions to foreign shareholders

  • Reasonable establishment and operational costs.


Group finance companies
(Group) Finance Companies international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States

  • (Group) finance companies perform the following functions within a corporate group of companies:

    • Sourcing external debt finance

    • Redistribution of funds within the corporate group

    • Accumulation of interest income and tax optimization of operating companies of the group in high-tax countries.


Group finance companies1
(Group) Finance Companies international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States

Cyprus as a jurisdiction for finance companies suits a number of criteria which are considered to be:

  • Absence (under a double tax treaty or interest and royalty directive) of interest withholding tax in connection with interest on loan financing provided by group finance company

  • A low overall tax burden in Cyprus, including, but not limited to:

    • low level of taxationof interest incomeand the possibility ofdeducting interest expenses from taxable profit,

    • 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 (including to an offshore tax jurisdiction)

  • Reasonable level of margin required by the tax authorities.


Ipr licensing companies
IPR/Licensing Companies international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States

Licensing companies perform the following functions within a corporate group of companies:

  • Holding of the ownership right on:

    • Licenses

    • Trademarks

    • Innovations

    • Scientific discoveries

    • Other objects of intellectual property

  • Juridical protection of intellectual property objects / industrial property, provided by the foreign law

  • Granting rights to use the objects of intellectual property by the operational companies in high tax jurisdictions and their tax optimization via license fees.


Ipr licensing company
IPR/Licensing Company international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States

Cyprus as a jurisdiction for a licensing company suits a number of criteria considered to be:

  • Absence or reduction of WHT on license fees (under DTT or EU Interest and royalty Directive) on license fees paid to Cyprus IPR/license company;

  • Low general tax burden in Cyprus, including but not limited to:

    • Tax deduction of license payment,

    • Effective depreciation of intellectual property objects in tax accounting

  • Absence of WHT on license fees payment (including offshore companies)

  • Reasonable level of margin required by the tax authorities.

  • Neutral VAT treatment

  • Existence of the legislation protecting intellectual property rights and participation of Cyprus in international agreements regarding intellectual property rights protection.


Tax Comparison - Matrix international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States


Tax comparison matrix
Tax Comparison - Matrix international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States


Tax comparison matrix1
Tax Comparison - Matrix international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States


Tax comparison matrix2
Tax Comparison - Matrix international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States


Cyprus in comparison
Cyprus in comparison international business centre vis a vis other EU Member States

+

Lowest nominal corporate income tax rate of all EU Member States, no capital taxes, no withholding taxes

Only EU holding company regime based on participation exemption rules with no domestic tax leakage on holding activities

Tax exempt capital gain on sale of shares irrespective of holding period and shareholding percentage

No thin capitalization rules

No strict transfer pricing rules

Expense level of (financial) service providers

-/-

Perceived reputation as a financial service centre (although this has changed significantly ever since EU Accession)

Advance Tax Ruling (ATR) Practice not adequately developed, as compared to other EU competing member states

Smallest double tax treaty network of competing EU Member States


Conclusion questions
Conclusion international business centre vis a vis other EU Member StatesQuestions


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