Starting a business in Cyprus16 October 2009
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 29 May 2012
An overview of the process of starting a new business in Cyprus and the documents required.
The Companies Act governs the registration and operation of businesses.
Legal forms for businesses
Interested investors can set up the following legal entities:
- companies (private or public);
- general or limited partnerships;
- European companies (SE);
- branch offices;
- trade name.
To succeed, a new business needs a sound commercial strategy and secure financing.
Some standard requirements to be completed when setting up a business are the same as when opening a branch.
The one-stop shop offers both Cypriot and foreign investors the following assistance:
- business registrations;
- VAT registration, registration for income tax;
- social insurance registration and employer registration;
- applications for residents' and work permits.
Thanks to the one-stop shop, business registrations, particularly for SMEs, can be completed within one week.
Registering a company
The fast and simple registration procedure is the same for all types of business.
The first step is to send an application to the Registrar of Companies for approval of the company name. This costs either €8.54 or €25.63 for a fast-track service.
The business's relevant documents are then sent to the Registrar of Companies.
Business registration documents, e.g. articles of association, are submitted after being verified by a member of the Cyprus Bar Association. The association provides a full list of its members on its website.
Items such as articles of association may be submitted in any European language along with a sworn statement confirming that it is an accurate translation of the Greek original.
Social insurance registration
Any company employing one or more persons must be registered under the National Insurance Scheme. This can be done by completing the following forms available online, at National Insurance District Offices and Citizen Service Centres.
These forms must be submitted to National Insurance District Offices or Citizen Service Centres within one month after the recruitment of a new employee.
Any company or person operating in Cyprus must become registered to the Taxpayers Register of the Inland Revenue Department as soon as possible. This can be done by submitting the relevant forms either to the Income Tax District Offices or to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism's One Stop Shop for setting up a business. The company will then receive the relevant Tax Identification Number (T.I.N).
With regard to VAT, anyone supplying goods or providing services, involved in intra-community acquisitions or distance selling in Cyprus must enrol on the VAT Register by submitting the relevant application to the appropriate VAT District Office or through the One Stop Shop for setting up a business of the Department of the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver before the end of the thirty-day period during which it is due.
Τhe Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) has a database containing details of Cypriot businesses and the various State-sponsored and other services linked to economic activities. The chamber is the main information provider for foreign business owners.
Source: Your Europe