New Cyprus tax residency provisions for individuals based on 60 days

August 15, 2017

On 14 July 2017 there has been an amendment to the Income Tax Law with regards to the criteria for an individual to be considered a tax resident of Cyprus. This enters into force as of 1 January 2017.

As per the amended legislation, an individual who does not remain in any other state for one or more periods exceeding 183 days in total during any given tax year, and who is not a tax resident in any other state for that year, shall be considered, for Cyprus tax purposes, to be a tax resident of Cyprus for the year in question, provided that all the following conditions are met

• The individual resides in Cyprus for at least 60 days in the year of assessment; and

• The individual carries out any business in Cyprus and/or is employed in Cyprus and/or holds an office (e.g. being a director) to a person (e.g. a company) resident in Cyprus at any time during the year of assessment; and

• The individual maintains a permanent residence in Cyprus, either owned or rented.

The legislation further provides that an individual who cumulatively meets all of the above conditions, shall nevertheless not be considered a tax resident of Cyprus in the year of assessment, if the exercise of any business in Cyprus and/or the employment in Cyprus and/or the holding of an office to a person resident in Cyprus is terminated during the year of assessment.

What this means in practice is that the Cyprus tax authorities can now issue Cyprus Tax Residency Certificates for such persons based on 60 days of residing on the island, as opposed to the standard test of 183 days (which also continues to apply for all other cases). This development shall be very convenient for businessmen who take up personal tax residency in Cyprus but cannot physically spend 183 days in Cyprus.

It is being reminded that foreigners who become Cyprus tax residents are automatically designated as ‘non-doms’ for Cyprus tax purposes and enjoy an array of personal tax benefits (e.g. complete tax exemption from dividends and interest). There are also other significant tax benefits such as complete tax exemption on gain from sale of shares and 50% tax exemption on Cyprus sourced salaries for high earners.