New Corporate Landscape in Cyprus

In an era of sweeping tax reforms, the European Union, including Cyprus, stands at the forefront of a significant shift in corporate taxation. The European Commission’s enforcement of a minimum 15% tax rate for multinational companies with annual revenues exceeding €750 million, effective from January 1, 2024, marks a pivotal point. However, Cyprus, like some other EU countries, faces a unique transitional period due to delays in legislative implementation. This article explores the intricacies of this transition, its legal framework, and the broader implications for businesses operating within Cyprus.

The OECD Initiative and EU Compliance

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), encompassing 38 countries, spearheaded this reform. Endorsed by over 140 countries, the initiative reflects a global consensus. The primary goal is to curtail the race to the bottom in corporate tax rates, a practice that has seen multinationals pay taxes not where they earn profits but where they are registered, often in jurisdictions with more favourable tax regimes.

The US and the Push for Fair Taxation

The United States has been a significant proponent of this reform. Investigations by the US Senate revealed that tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon engaged in intricate financial schemes to minimise their tax liabilities, depriving the US treasury of substantial revenue. These companies, exploiting loopholes and favourable rates in countries like Ireland, have shifted the global focus towards a more equitable tax system.

Cyprus’s Transitional Path

While Cyprus is committed to aligning with this directive, the implementation of the 15% tax rate is experiencing a delay due to the Ministry of Finance’s draft law undergoing legal scrutiny. The draft law, expected to be submitted to Parliament in early 2024, will have retroactive effect from the start of the year. This delay, according to government sources, is not anticipated to pose issues with European authorities.

Pillar 1 and Pillar 2: The Two-Pronged Approach

The new tax regulations are grounded in the OECD’s two-pillar approach, now embraced by the EU:

  1. Pillar 1: Targets multinationals with a net margin over 10% and turnover above 20 billion euros, mandating them to pay taxes in countries where profits are made, regardless of physical presence. This excludes firms in natural resource extraction and financial services.
  2. Pillar 2: Introduces a minimum tax rate of 15% for companies with revenues exceeding €750 million, applicable irrespective of their registration location or income source. This aims to bring alignment with the European Directive, ensuring a global minimum level of taxation.

The Impact on Digital Giants and Beyond

The ‘digital tax’ aspect, although not industry-specific, predominantly impacts the IT sector. By ensuring that large corporations pay fair taxes where their consumers are based, the new system aims to eliminate complex tax avoidance schemes.

Article 12 and Domestic Flexibility

An important facet of the legislation, Article 12, effective from January 1, 2025, allows for implementing a designated domestic tax, reflecting the adaptability of the EU’s approach within its broader tax principles.

Cyprus in the Global Tax Landscape

As an EU member state, Cyprus’s alignment with this directive marks a significant shift from its previously lower corporate tax rates. The change has far-reaching implications for both local and foreign companies operating on the island, especially those with high revenue streams. The ‘digital tax’ component, though not industry-specific, is expected to significantly impact the IT sector, addressing complex tax avoidance schemes.

Navigating the New Tax Terrain

This reform represents a move towards more equitable and transparent corporate taxation. Companies operating in Cyprus must now adapt to this new environment, adhering to both local and EU mandates.


The introduction of a 15% minimum corporate tax rate in Cyprus, though facing initial delays, aligns with broader EU and global tax reforms. This transitional period offers an opportunity for businesses to adjust and prepare for the new tax environment. With professional legal support, companies can effectively manage these changes, ensuring compliance and optimal financial planning.

Professional Legal Guidance

For businesses seeking to understand and comply with these new regulations, expert legal advice is crucial. At Chambers & Co, we provide comprehensive legal services to ensure seamless adaptation to these changes, integrating our deep understanding of Cyprus and EU law.