Owners of successful businesses sometimes like to exaggerate with extravagant lifestyles. Santa Clara mansions, private Hawaii islands, Bugattis and Lamborghinis, private yachts, submarines and jets it is not unusual to see them posted on TikTok.
There are however also, down to earth successful founders and company owners, who prefer to maintain a lower profile and take a more rational approach. These, when they look to choose a place to set up their personal or business base, focus on simple things:
- Life cost and quality, safety and taxes.
For this type of businessmen, Cyprus emerges as a dream place. In a sentence, it is a beautiful, safe and reasonably priced place to live and run a business, with a transparent and appealing tax framework both at the personal and corporate level.
Cyprus has an amazing sunny weather with some 320 days of sunshine per year and it is ranked among the regions with the healthiest climate worldwide. It has about 50 blue-flagged beaches and attracts people from all over the world to its stunning mountains, valleys, vineyards, orange and olive groves.
It is part of the EU, a cosmopolitan and a long-established international business center with banks operating international business units. It offers high-quality healthcare and high-quality international schooling and universities.
The crime rate is very low –it is one of the safest countries in the world. English is spoken widely. Road signs, restaurant menus and official documents are available in English. There isn’t really a language barrier in the country.
The cost of living in Cyprus is fairly low compared to other European countries. For example, databases show that the cost of living in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, is around 28% cheaper than in Stockholm. Due to being an island though and the need for import, there are some things which are more expensive, as for example, cars. According to Numbeo, rent in Cyprus is, on average, 52.58% lower than in United States. The average rent for a flat is about €7-15 per sq. m. per month.
Located in the eastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea, it links 3 continents -Europe, Africa and Asia. It is close to the busy shipping and air routes linking Europe with the Arab world and the East. Being a member of the EU since 2004, it provides access to the EU market and access to global talent, with a regulatory framework transparent and harmonised with EU laws and regulations.
Telecom and internet services in Cyprus are of excellent quality. The state-owned telco Cyta was named the fastest internet carrier in Q2-Q3 of 2021 by Ookla, a leader in internet testing and analysis and its Fibre network enables very fast speeds and offers a 5G connection.
The Cyprus tax framework is both transparent and particularly attractive when it comes to both personal and corporate tax. Corporate tax rate is 12.5%, and notably, dividend income of non-Cypriot tax residents is generally exempted from tax while there is no withholding tax on payment of dividends, interest and royalties. Exemption applies from tax on profits from the disposal of “titles” (with a wide definition of what constitutes eligible titles).
Personal “Non-Dom” Status
By spending during a tax year at least 60 days in Cyprus, pursue any “business” and/or work and having a permanent residence in Cyprus (provided one does not spend more than 183 days in any other country), a person can register as a “Non-Dom” Cyprus tax resident. With the Non-Dom status, one can enjoy for 17 years, as things currently stand, a full exemption from tax on worldwide dividend and interest income and a permanent exemption from tax on any gains generated from the disposal of securities, subject to conditions.
Base for business – Headquartering
EU citizens can freely live and work in Cyprus (they must register for a yellow slip). Non-EU citizens can utilize a newly adopted by the Cyprus Government fast track scheme, under which it is permitted to be employed by Cyprus registered companies which are owned by non-EU citizens and operate from an office in Cyprus. Setting up a company in Cyprus is fast and relatively cheap (it takes about a week with an average cost of €2.000). Under the scheme, work permits are issued within a month from application, can be valid for up to 3 years and once issued, family members can also stay in Cyprus for the same period.
High profile international groups, such as eToro, Columbia Shipmanagement, Plus500, Exness, Easybrain, Nexters, Amdocs, Technorion and many more, have opted to set up in Cyprus.
Non-EU citizens who wish to live only in Cyprus, but work for companies operating abroad, may apply for a “digital nomad visa” which affords a residence permit for up to one year, with the possibility to renew for two more years. Their family members can also stay in Cyprus for the same period.
Indeed, July and August in Cyprus can be extremely hot with temperatures rising to about 40°C. Though, having in mind all the above (and that the seaside can wash the heat away), Cyprus can surely be placed among the top destinations to set up either personally or a business.