The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued an updated list of countries whose certificates of competency are recognised by Cyprus under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, as amended. The only change from the previous list, issued in November 2014, is the addition of Jordan.
The issue of jurisdiction was at the centre of a recent action in the Limassol District Court. The decision clarifies the case law relating to the interpretation of Article 7(2) of the recast EU Brussels Regulation and reaffirms the general principle that civil actions are to be brought against individuals and companies in the courts of the place where they are domiciled, except in specific instances where derogations from the general rule apply.
Cyprus international trusts, which are subject to the International Trusts (Amendment) Law 1992, provide a significant number of tax advantages and can be used as part of an international tax planning strategy. In order to estimate the tax that should be imposed on a trust, its specifications, purpose and any other relevant circumstances must be considered.
The Department of Merchant Shipping has announced that it will be a deputy ministry with effect from March 1 2018 and be renamed the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, following the entry into force of the Establishment of a Deputy Ministry of Shipping and Appointment of a Deputy Minister of Shipping and for Matters Connected Therewith Law 2017. As successor to the Department of Merchant Shipping, the deputy ministry will assume all of the former's rights, responsibilities, powers and obligations.
Article 9(B) of the Income Tax Law 2002 (as amended) provides for a notional interest deduction for tax purposes on new equity capital injected into companies and permanent establishments of foreign companies on or after January 1 2015 to finance business assets, calculated by applying a reference rate to the new equity. The Tax Department recently announced the 10-year government bond yields for December 31 2017, which will be used as the basis for the notional interest deduction for the 2018 tax year.
In a recent appeal case, the Supreme Court overturned a first-instance judgment regarding the timing of the completion of the pleadings and, consequently, the deadline for filing a summons for directions under Order 30 of the Civil Procedure Rules. Although the judgment in question examined the previous version of Order 30, it is useful for litigation lawyers as it clarifies when pleadings are deemed to have been completed, which remains the starting point for the deadline to file a summons for directions.
Article 47A of the Merchant Shipping (Issue and Recognition of Certificates and Marine Training) Laws provides that crew members on-board coastal passenger vessels who have safety duties relating to passengers must meet the mandatory minimum familiarisation and basic safety training and instruction requirements for all seafarers under Regulation VI/I of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.
The Social Insurance (Amendment) Law was revised in June 2017 to introduce definitions of 'undeclared work' and 'undeclared earnings'. 'Undeclared work' is defined as the insurable employment of an employee or a self-employed person which has not been declared to the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurances, while 'undeclared earnings' are defined as the insurable earnings for which an employer has not submitted a statement of earnings and contributions within the required deadline.
Purchasing property in Cyprus can involve a number of pitfalls. Potential purchasers are advised to exercise extreme caution when buying property, especially if the title deed is not readily available, which is a common scenario when purchasing new property in Cyprus. Above all, it is paramount to obtain independent legal advice from a competent lawyer. A good lawyer should ensure that purchasers are protected from these potential problems.
The Nicosia District Court recently issued an order which referred a dispute to arbitration. The order stipulated that the arbitrator should deliver a final decision within nine months. One of the parties applied to the court for an extension of the arbitration procedure. The court rejected the application on the ground that only the arbitrator had the right to apply for such an extension.
The concept of a 'golden share' was devised to maintain control of newly privatised companies as they adjust to the free market environment or to prevent takeover by overseas shareholders of private companies operating in fields of national interest. Cypriot company law is silent on the rights enshrined in golden shares. However, case law provides that golden shares represent a separate class of shares, which enable holders to exercise veto rights by having weighted voting rights on specific matters.
The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a reminder to registered owners, bareboat charterers, managers and representatives of Cyprus-flagged ships regarding the renewal of civil liability certificates. The expiry date for most existing certificates is February 20 2018 and there has been an unprecedented delay in the submission of renewal applications. The department therefore urges parties that require a renewal to apply without further delay.
A recent administrative court case concerned the legality of a tender for the development of a new €200 million-plus marina in Paphos. The court decision was based on the well-established principle that the decision-making process of any collective body regarding a specific matter must be consistent from beginning to end and requires the presence of the same members of the body in order to ensure that all members are aware of and able to evaluate all factors which come to light during the process.
The annual creditors' meeting of former state-owned air carrier Cyprus Airways recently took place. The state stepped in following the company's collapse and paid the majority of employees the money owed to them. Due to this payment, and by virtue of Section 300 of the Companies Law, the state became a preferential creditor, having made a payment that was owed to preferential creditors as a third party on behalf of the company.
The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a notification to owners, bareboat charterers, managers and representatives of Cyprus-flagged and foreign-flagged vessels visiting ports in Cyprus. The amendments concern the mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualification of masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on passenger ships and masters and deck officers on ships operating in polar waters.
The Process of Adjustment of Tax Arrears Law 2017 establishes a procedure for settling tax arrears by monthly instalments and provides a waiver of interest and penalties of up to 95% for all nationally imposed taxes. Although the law was enacted in February 2017, it did not take effect immediately in order to allow time for the necessary payment systems to be implemented. The deadline for submitting applications to participate in the scheme was originally set at three months, but was recently extended.
Cyprus and Saudi Arabia recently signed an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to taxes on income and the prevention of tax evasion. The agreement provides for the exchange of financial and other information in accordance with the relevant article of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Model Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation on Income and on Capital. It will take effect once formal ratification procedures have been completed.
The Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law 2010 requires the Department of Merchant Shipping to assess the community-flagged share of each participant in the tonnage tax scheme as at the third year from the date of opting to be taxed under the scheme. The department recently announced the arrangements for the review as at December 31 2017, which will cover companies that entered the tonnage tax scheme between January 1 2014 and January 1 2015.
The Tax Department recently issued Interpretative Circular 14, which has clarified the application of the Income Tax Law regarding a deemed benefit which is to be assessed on any drawings, loan or other financial facilities granted by a company to a non-resident director or shareholder or their spouse or close relatives. The circular clarifies that the deemed benefit is taxable in full, regardless of the period of residence of the individual in question.
On the basis of experience gained since the implementation of the Protection of Cyprus Ships Against Acts of Piracy and Other Unlawful Acts Law, the Department of Merchant Shipping has increased the maximum number of firearms that approved private ship security contractors are entitled to register from 400 to 600. However, there has been no change to the ratio of two firearms per guard; the change will therefore affect only contractors with more than 200 guards.