With the world currently in a state of flux due to the Covid 19 pandemic and a seemingly never-ending parade of new legislation and regulation it can sometimes be difficult for the private client to know quite what they should be doing to best protect their assets whilst staying on the right side of the law.
With this in mind, in conjunction with information syndication platform Mondaq, Elias Neocleous & Co LLC. recently chose to broadcast a webinar focused on today’s ‘hot topics’. The three speakers were Spyros Ioannou, Tax Partner (Head) of Primus Audit & Tax Limited, Elina Kollatou, Senior Associate at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC. and Elena Christodoulou, Senior Associate at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC.
The information packed, and thought provoking, hour included a thorough explanation of the main changes occurring as a result of the harmonization of Cyprus Law with the 4th and 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directives and, specifically, the impact of the introduction of UBO registers. Also addressed were the three main tax related concerns troubling many individuals who have found themselves unable to follow their normal travel and residency patterns as a result of pandemic induced worldwide restrictions and public health measures. It was highlighted that the Cyprus Tax Authority has adopted a ‘stop the clock” approach to its treatment of individuals and business entities whilst public health travel restrictions remain and where it can be demonstrated that deviations from normal residency and place of work etc. only arise because of such restrictions. This is generally in line with OECD recommendations and a more pragmatic approach than that taken by some other countries such as Italy.
A wider discussion focused on Cyprus’ journey from being perceived as a tax haven through to its current position as a country fully compliant with EU and OECD standards. It was emphasized that Cyprus offers several advantages to foreign investors and workers including an effective tax rate which is lower than many other countries. Issues such as the recent Biden proposition on minimum tax rates were regarded as unlikely to impact private clients as they are mainly targeted at large multi-nationals. The fact that Cyprus has remained true to its long-term tax strategy rather than engaging in short termism was viewed as beneficial as it offers stability to individuals and business. There was a general consensus that clients are now more sophisticated and aware of the need to provide both transparency and substance and that, properly advocated, the legal, tax and regulatory regimes in Cyprus should prove attractive on a long-term basis for family offices and for headquartering.
The event was moderated by Managing Partner, Elias Neocleous who delighted in lobbing some tricky questions, submitted by the audience, in the direction of the three speakers. To their credit none of these went unanswered. Viewers were left with the final thought that whilst the pandemic may have accelerated some tax and other regulatory changes, it is advances in technology that are the real driving force.
The full webinar may be viewed by following this link . For more information about the private client and tax services that Elias Neocleous & Co LLC. can provide please contact either Elena Christodoulou or Elina Kollatou. Alternatively, you may speak with your usual contact within the firm who will be happy to assist.