Is Cyprus a tax haven in Europe?

Expats & Business | Updated: 25. Apr 2023

For some years now, Cyprus has repeatedly appeared in the media as a "tax haven in Europe". In recent years, the island in the eastern Mediterranean has become an important location for international companies, which benefit from the low tax rates and other advantages.

Why Cyprus is repeatedly traded as a European tax haven

The low tax rates: One of the main reasons for Cyprus' popularity as a tax haven is its low tax rate of 12.5%. This tax rate applies to companies that have their headquarters on the island and is very low compared to the tax rates in other EU countries. There are also attractive tax rates for individuals, which vary according to income.


In addition to low tax rates, Cyprus also offers numerous tax loopholes that allow international companies to minimize their tax payments. One example is so-called "intellectual property rights," which allow companies to pay tax on their profits in Cyprus, even though the profits were actually earned in other countries.

EU membership

Cyprus has been a member of the EU since 2004 and thus enjoys the status of a tax haven paradise within the EU. This means that companies based in Cyprus can trade and do business freely in the EU without being hindered by high tariffs or trade barriers.

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The relaxed laws

Cyprus also has relaxed laws regarding the establishment of companies and the conduct of business. There is little red tape and companies can be incorporated within a few days. This makes it easy for international companies to take advantage of the island's tax benefits.

The promotion of offshore business

Cyprus also encourages offshore businesses, which allow companies to tax profits in tax havens to minimize taxes. This type of business is often not possible or severely restricted in other EU countries.


Cyprus also has a well-developed infrastructure, making it easily accessible to international businesses. The island also has a well-educated workforce and a stable economy that is attractive to businesses.

The advantages and disadvantages of Cyprus as a tax haven

The advantages and disadvantages of Cyprus as a tax haven depend on various factors and should be viewed from different perspectives.


  • Low tax rates and numerous tax loopholes for companies.
  • EU membership and free trade within the EU
  • Relaxed laws and little bureaucracy in setting up businesses
  • Promotion of offshore business
  • Well-developed infrastructure and stable economy


  • Criticism from other EU countries and accusations of tax avoidance
  • Possible reputational damage for companies based in Cyprus
  • Risk of money laundering and illegal activities due to lax laws
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Criticism of Cyprus as a tax haven:

Cyprus has received a lot of criticism from other EU countries in recent years, with accusations of tax avoidance. It is argued that Cyprus allows companies to avoid taxes that would be due in other countries, thus distorting competition among EU countries.

The reputation of companies based in Cyprus can also be damaged by accusations of tax avoidance. This can lead to negative effects on the companies' image and on their business.

There are also concerns about the possibility of money laundering and illegal activities due to the lax laws in Cyprus. These concerns are often cited by critics as evidence that Cyprus is unsustainable as a tax haven and threatens the integrity of the EU.

EU efforts to curb tax havens:

The EU has made efforts in recent years to advance the containment of tax havens and prevent tax avoidance in member states. These include measures such as the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), which would require companies to pay tax on their profits at the EU level, and country-by-country reporting, which aims to promote transparency in corporate tax payments.

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The EU has also introduced the so-called "blacklist" of tax havens, which lists countries that do not meet EU standards and are considered tax havens. While Cyprus has not been placed on the "blacklist," it has been asked by the EU to adjust its tax laws and tighten its rules for setting up businesses.

The Future of Cyprus

Although Cyprus has received much criticism in recent years, the island remains a popular tax haven in Europe. Its low tax rates and numerous tax loopholes remain attractive to international companies looking to benefit from the island's tax advantages.

However, there are also signs that tax laws in Cyprus will change in the future. The EU has called on Cyprus to adjust its tax laws and tighten its rules for setting up companies. It remains to be seen whether Cyprus will comply with these demands and how this will affect the island's popularity as a tax haven.

Franz Langstein
Hi! Ich lebe seit 5 Jahren auf dem wunderschönen Zypern und hoffe, ich kann dir mit meinem Wissen vor Ort den Urlaub oder gar das Auswandern erleichtern :-)
Your travel blog all about Cyprus.
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