Starting a Business in Cyprus
By Maria Thermann

Starting a Business in Cyprus

Cyprus is a popular destination for buying a holiday or retirement home, but for some the Mediterranean island offers not just relaxation, but a wholly new way of life. Starting a business in Cyprus is not that difficult, as many accountancy and law firms offer business set-up services. Prices can vary considerably though, from several thousand euros to around 500.00 euros for a basic set-up service that does not include after-care.

Business types available on Cyprus are both private and limited companies, general or limited partnerships, European companies or SEs and branches of already established overseas companies.

The whole process starts with choosing a name and then finding out if that company name is still available. You have to make an application for name approval to the Registrar of Companies or use the One Stop Shop/PSC Cyprus office. Applications are sent by post and the process costs between 10.00 and 30.00 euros per name.

In addition to the one-off set-up fee, you should allow for an annual fee which is paid for the services of nominee shareholders/directors, company secretary and registered office address. This fee is paid for the services of a law or accountancy firm fulfilling all of these roles. It allows you to run a business in Cyprus without actually being present. The company's registered address must be a physical one, which is why law and accountancy firms offer company formation as well as ongoing services. Using such firms also provides a client with anonymity.

The lawyer you choose will be able to prepare and sign forms and applications for the Register of Companies on your behalf.

Ongoing costs include your company's accountancy fees for the annual return they prepare on your behalf. They will file the annual return for you. Every Cyprus company must register with the Inland Revenue and obtain a tax number. You must also file annual accounts and, if appropriate, pay tax.

If your company has a trading volume of 15,600 euros or more, you must register your business for VAT with the VAT Department, which will issue a VAT number to you. After that you must file VAT returns every three months.

The Cyprus government has set up a website, where all the important steps are listed, some of which you may be able to do without the help of a law or accountancy firm - this will help to keep start-up costs down.

Renting a commercial property can be as little as 350.00 euros a month and easily as much as 8,000 or 12,000 euros a month, depending on location and size, and whether you are renting a shop or Cyprus office space. Renting first is a good way of discovering if you have chosen the right location for your enterprise. Buying a commercial property in Cyprus can range from around 60,000 euros for a small nail and spa business to several hundred thousand euros for a well-established restaurant for example.

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