PWC CYPRUS has recently published the 2013 edition of its Tax, Facts & Figures guide that provides information about the tax system in Cyprus, based on the current tax legislation and practice as at January 2013.
The PwC guide includes a section concerning the VAT (Value Added Tax) concessions for those buying property on the island as their first and primary residence:
Reduced VAT rate of 5 per cent
Imposition of the reduced rate of 5 per cent on the acquisition and/or construction of residences for use as the primary and permanent place of residence.
The reduced rate of 5 per cent applies to contracts that have been concluded from 1 October 2011 onwards provided they relate to the acquisition and/or construction of residences to be used as the primary and permanent place of residence for the next 10 years.
For contracts concluded up to 30 September 2011 for the acquisition and/or construction of residences for use as the primary and permanent place of residence, the eligible person must apply for a grant.
The reduced rate of 5 per cent applies for the first 200 square meters of residences of total covered area of up to 275 square meters. In the case of families with more than 3 children the allowable total covered area increases by 15 square meters per additional child beyond the three children.
The reduced rate is imposed only after obtaining a certified confirmation from the VAT Commissioner.
The eligible person must submit an application on a special form, issued by the VAT Commissioner, which will state that the house will be used as the primary and permanent place of residence. The applicant must attach a number of documents supporting the ownership rights on the property and evidencing the fact that the property will be used as the primary and permanent place of residence.
As from 8 June 2012 eligible persons include residents of non EU Member States, provided that the residence will be used as their primary and permanent place of residence in the Republic.
The documents supporting the ownership of the property must be submitted together with the application. The documents supporting the fact that the residence will be used as the primary and permanent place of residence (copy of telephone, water supply or electricity bill or of municipal taxes) must be submitted within six months from the date on which the eligible person acquires possession of the residence.
A person who ceases to use the residence as his primary and permanent place of residence before the lapse of the 10 year period must notify the VAT Commissioner, within thirty days of ceasing to use the residence, and pay the difference resulting from the application of the reduced and the standard rate of VAT attributable to the remaining period of 10 years for which the property will not be used as the main and primary place of residence.
Persons who make a false statement to benefit from the reduced rate are required by law to pay the difference of the additional VAT due. Furthermore, the legislation provides that such persons are guilty of a criminal offence and, upon conviction, are liable to a fine, not exceeding twice the amount of the VAT due, or imprisonment up to 3 years or may be subject to both sentences.
VAT grant for acquisition of first residence
The grant is given to eligible persons for the construction, or purchase or transfer of a new residence which is used as the main and primary place of residence. The grant applies for contracts concluded up to 30 September 2011.
The application for the grant is submitted to the Ministry of Finance, in relation to residences for which an application has been submitted for the issue of a planning permission after the 1 May 2004. Persons entitled to this grant are individuals who are citizens of the Republic of Cyprus or of any other EU Member State, who reside permanently in the Republic of Cyprus and who have reached the age of 18 at the time of application. The grant is given for residences whose total covered area does not exceed 250 m².
The level of the grant is limited to 130 m² (extended for families with four and more children) and depends on the type of the property and on whether the house was constructed or purchased. The relevant legislation provides that the level of the grant will be adjusted annually for the increase in the Retail Price Index.
Tax, Facts & Figures 2013 – Cyprus