Intellectual property is increasingly becoming one of the most valuable assets of businesses. Thus, choosing the appropriate regime/location for structuring the exploitation of IP assets is vital in order for businesses to achieve business development, effective IP protection and maximum tax optimisation.
Cyprus IP Box Regime: Effective Tax Rate at 2.5% – Lowest in Europe
Cyprus offers an advantageous regime for businesses investing in IP rights. The IP Box Scheme put in place with effect from 1st January 2012 was a package of incentives and tax exemptions concerning income from intellectual property rights, intended to urge investment in research and development. The Cyprus corporate income tax rate at 12.5% would normally apply to the 100% of net profits produced. However, following the applicable tax exemptions, only 20% of the profits will be taxed, reaching an effective rate of 2.5% per annum. At 2.5%, this rate is considerably lower than the respective percentage in other countries offering similar ‘IP Box’ schemes, including Luxembourg at 5.7%, the Netherlands at 5% and the United Kingdom’s ‘Patent Box’ regime at 10%. The efficient IP tax regime of Cyprus in conjunction with the protection offered by EU and all major IP treaties and protocols in which Cyprus is signatory is what makes Cyprus highly attractive for the acquisition or development IP assets.
The Republic of Cyprus has ratified the 2007 Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks by virtue of the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (Ratification) and for Matters Connected Therewith Law of 2015 (Law 12(III)/2015), published in the Official Gazette of the Republic No.4207, dated 29.05.2015, Supplement I(III).
The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks will enter into force for the Republic of Cyprus on 22 October 2015 in accordance with Article 18(2) of the Convention.
In accordance with the relevant provisions as from the 22nd of October 2015 any Cyprus flagged vessel of a gross tonnage of 300GT and above and any vessel irrespective of flag, of a gross tonnage of 300GT and above calling Cyprus ports or located within the territorial sea of the Republic of Cyprus, will have an obligation to carry a certificate attesting that insurance is in place in accordance with the provisions of Article 12 of the Convention. Vessels failing to produce such a certificate will be liable to criminal and administrative sanctions.
With regards to Cyprus flagged vessels, the Wreck Removal Certificate provided in Article 12(2) of the Convention, should be obtained, in time, from the Department of Merchant Shipping.
Certificates obtained already from an Administrator of another State which is party to the Convention, prior to the Convention ratification by the Republic of Cyprus, will be acceptable until their relevant expiry and need not be re-issued or replaced. However, on their expiry, they should be renewed by the Department of Merchant Shipping and should in the meantime a need arise for their re-issuance eg. due to a change of name, transfer of ownership etc. they should be issued by the Department of Merchant Shipping.
With regards to non Cyprus flagged vessels calling Cyprus ports or located within the territorial sea of the Republic, the Wreck Removal Certificate should be issued by their flag State administration, should their flag state be a party to the Convention or by any State party to the Convention should their State not be a party to the Convention. The Department of Merchant Shipping will issue such Certificates upon receipt of the relevant application and accompanying documents, provided that the flag which the vessel is flying is not in the Black List of the Paris MOU for the year preceding the date of the application.
The EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1148 of the 14th of July 2015 amended the EU Council Decision 2010/413/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Iran.
By virtue of the above decision, the following prohibitions have been suspended until the 14th January 2016:
- The prohibition of the transportation of Iranian crude oil;
- The prohibition of the provision of insurance and reinsurance relating to the import, purchase and transportation of Iranian crude oil;
- The prohibition of the import, purchase or transportation of Iranian petrochemical products;
- The prohibition of the provision of insurance and reinsurance relating to the import, purchase and transportation of Iranian petrochemical products;
- The prohibition of the transportation of gold and precious metals;
- The prohibition to supply vessels designed for the transport or storage of oil and petrochemical products to Iranian persons, entities or bodies;
- The prohibition to supply vessels designed for the transport or storage of oil and petrochemical products to any person, entity or body for the transport or storage of Iranian oil and petrochemical products;
- The freezing of funds as set out in Article (20) (1) (b) and (c ) and in Article 20 (2) of EU Council Decision 2010/413/CFSP, as amended relating only to the Ministry of Petroleum listed in Annex II of the said Decision, shall be suspended until the 14th January 2016, insofar as necessary for the execution , until 14 January 2016, of contracts for the import or purchase of Iranian petrochemical products.
EU Ship registries, including the Cyprus Department of Merchant Shipping and the Maltese Ship Registry have notified persons flying their flags, ship managers and operators , through Circulars and Notices issued by the relevant departments, with regards to the above, but have also cautioned them to abide with restrictive measures/ sanctions which are still in place and to always consult their insurance providers prior to engaging in any new activity.
We are pleased to announce the opening of our new fully operative affiliated office Christodoulos G. Vassiliades Law Firm in Athens, Greece, located at 34, Akadimias Street, 5th Foor, P.C. 106 72.
Our constant aim is to serve the interests of our current as well as new international clients worldwide therefore, we address their diverse professional needs in Greece with the same commitment to excellence and efficiency as we have done for over 30 years from our main office in Cyprus.
Cyprus has recently concluded a Double Tax Treaty (DTT) with Iran.
The treaty was signed on 4 August 2015 and shall enter into force once each country completes the ratication process.
The new treaty is based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Model Tax Convention framework and will contribute to the expansion of Cyprus’ trade and economic relations with Iran, only a few weeks after the historic Iranian nuclear agreement and lifting of international sanctions.