REPLACE YOUR UPS BATTERIES.
UPS

You bought a Uninterruptible Power System (UPS) a year or two ago and now when you get a power cut your computer switches off instead of running on the UPS battery power. What's wrong? Your battery is all worn out.

You can easily replace your UPS batteries instead buying a new one and at a fraction of the cost. UPS manufacturers would of course prefer that you replace your entire UPS when the batteries die, since they make more money that way. But in fact there is nothing unique or magic about UPS batteries. They are standard types with standard connectors. You can buy them from sources other than the UPS manufacturer, and sometimes replace them with equivalents that are better and less expensive.

Do not throw old batteries in your regular trash! They contain toxic metals and acids. Be kind to your environment and hand them to a qualified party for recycling. Most battery dealers will cheerfully do this for you. If not, your local garbage company or waste-disposal authority can explain to you how and where to turn them in safely.

Many UPS models use gel-cel batteries in standard formats like 12.0 V, 7.2Ah (151x64x94 mm). Warning: Many manufactures sell two or three different types: standard use, cyclic use and high-current use. Take your old battery from your UPS to your supplier or take a phone of the battery label to show and you can be sure you will get the correct replacement.

Be careful depending on the model of your UPS you may have to unscrew the protective case make sure the unit is unplugged and switched off. Even then be extra careful don't forget the UPS is designed to convert the 12volt battery power to mains voltage touching the wrong parts could give you a nasty shock.

It may take several discharges and recharges of new batteries before they reach full capacity and the calibration is accurate.

Some UPS's will connect to your computer and or have internal monitoring which may show warnings after your battery change see the manufacturers website for details on how to reset these.


THE GREAT IPTV RIP OFF!
IPTV

You may have seen adverts selling IPTV (basically TV over the internet) sold as an alternative to satellite, usually to UK expats who want their dose of the BBC. We have seen this offered on cheap android tv boxes for high prices, 10 x what they cost!

You can set this up yourself, for much less, certainly if you have a smart tv already.

So what do you need? Well if you want to watch :

1. Sign up for a VPN account something like Hide my ass (HMA) works well but there are others. What does this do? It lets you connect to the internet as if you were in another country (the UK for example).

If you are going watch tv on your computer you don't need anything else just install the free software from the HMA site you may want to change the settings to use UK servers only when connected your computer will browse the internet as if it was in the country you selected.

2. If you want to use this on your smart TV, Game console or smart Blu-ray player then you will need some kind of router this is where it gets a little more complicated. As your device usually cannot connect directly to the VPN service the router can be setup to do this then anything connect to it will connect to the VPN service. You can't buy any router as you need to install some custom software on it called DD-WRT which you can download from here and this only works on some routers. A list of compatible routers can be found here. This router works quite well: the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND . Once you have your router and have downloaded the correct firmware for it you need to enter the routers settings pages and update the firmware. Instructions for installing can be found here. You must then enter your HMA settings your username and password and a uk Ip address find instructions for set-up here.

3. No smart TV, Game console or smart Blu-ray player don't panic - just buy a Roku, you can get them from Amazon HERE

 

THE MYTHS OF MIGRATION
Suitcases

We have been asked to compile a step-by-step guide for British and other European citizens moving to Cyprus. In a series of short articles we will do our best to simplify the wealth of rumour, myth, facts and bureaucracy that surrounds moving to Cyprus. There are, as always, a number of special situations and everyone should ensure that their own circumstances have been checked individually.

Every journey starts with the first step and the first step here is to dispel some of the false information that sometimes circulates. The most significant misconception is “I am an EU citizen; Cyprus is in the EU therefore I can move there freely without having to make any special arrangements”. We have all heard that concept voiced at some time but let us state unequivocally that that it is totally wrong.

EU citizens and some others can enter Cyprus without visa and without a passport stamp – at some time after accession, probably five years, but not necessarily, there will be no restriction on how long an EU citizen can stay but right now there has been no change in the 3 month stay limit. If anybody except a Cypriot national or a Greek national stays in Cyprus for more than 3 months (per visit) they must obtain an ARC (Alien Registration Certificate) and residency permit.


If they plan to work in Cyprus they must obtain a work permit.

Further to the residency permit since January 2003 any person living in Cyprus for more than 183 days in any Cyprus tax year (1st Jan -31st Dec) is considered resident for tax purposes and must register for tax in Cyprus, they are subject to tax on their worldwide income, subject to double taxation treaties, they are also required to pay the defence levy on interest and dividends.

The various tax rates etc should be checked with personal circumstances but it is perhaps worth noting immediately, that the defence levy is separate from income tax and even if an individual’s income is insufficient to attract income tax, there is still liability to Payment of the defence levy.

On a related subject –driving licence- yes Cyprus is in the EU and yes an EU licence is valid to drive in Cyprus – But if you have moved to Cyprus permanently this you must exchange your EU licence for a Cyprus licence and if you no longer have a UK address, you must advise DVLC Swansea and surrender your UK licence. But don’t take our word for it if you doubt it check with DVLC!

Author: Kouris Magpie.

Residency in Cyprus for EU Citizens. Issued by the British High Commission - August 2009. Click here. to view the article.

MAKING A CYPRUS WILL
Making a Will

Sometimes living in Cyprus means being in a hot house of rumour and conjecture that makes it very difficult to be sure what the true situation really is. One such area of confusion is certainly that regarding the making and executing a will here.

In an effort to settle some of the mud that has been stirred, I would like to offer some information that can be relied upon for accuracy.  Prior to my writing a colleague had taken the trouble to visit the district court in Paphos and to meet with an advocate there. She took with her the information that I had given her and was able to verify this was indeed correct. I make this point simply to confirm that what follows is not speculation --- it is fact.  

I divide the main points of this article into three sections which I like to call Myths, Facts and Practicalities.

Myths

  • Cyprus Law says that you must have a will in Cyprus.
  • A Cyprus Will must be lodged at the District Court and notaries.
  • An executor must be a Cyprus resident.
  • A Cyprus executor must be an Advocate (lawyer).
  • Having a separate Cyprus will means that Cyprus assets are not subject to UK IHT and therefore if you have a separate UK will it is a good idea to state that it excludes Cyprus assets.
  • If you are not Cypriot you are not affected by Cyprus law such as “forced heirship”.
  • A Cyprus will can only be drawn up by an advocate.
  • If you do not have a Cyprus will all your assets will be acquired by the state.
  • If you move/retire to Cyprus and are resident in Cyprus for tax purposes (i.e. not resident for UK tax)you are no longer UK Domiciled.

Facts

  • You can only have one legal will and every will you write automatically revokes any written previously.
  • If you are of British Domicile (which is VERY different from residency) you are subject to UK IHT on your worldwide assets.
  • If you do not have a will in Cyprus, your assets will be distributed amongst your family in a manner which is predetermined by Cyprus intestate rules.
  • If there is a challenge to a will, by potential heirs, under the “forced heirship” laws, the law of Cyprus will prevail.
  • It has been known for the probate court to require potential heirs to sign an indemnity confirming that they will not make a claim.
  • A spouse, sibling or adult child or anyone else can be an executor.
  • If a will runs to more that one page it should be signed and witnessed on all pages.
  • Although there is a suggested scale of fees for professional executor services, application can be made to the court for fees beyond those guidelines.
  • Appointing a lawyer or other professional as executor is almost like a blank cheque.

Practicalities - PLEASE NOTE THAT ALTHOUGH THESE ARE PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT OF THE CORRECTNESS, LEGALITY OR EFFECTIVENESS

  • Having separate wills in the UK and Cyprus normally makes Cyprus probate much easier.
  • Only having a will in the UK will mean that it will need to be initially probated in the UK and then “resealed” In Cyprus which is very time consuming. The reverse also applies.
  • If a will is separately probated in Cyprus, it makes it very difficult for the UK Capital Taxes Office to become aware of the situation and the onus is on the beneficiaries/executors to report by completion of a chargeable event form. Not doing so is Tax Evasion, which is a criminal offence.
  • Although anyone can be an executor, they will need to be in Cyprus in order to perform that function and they will almost certainly need to employ the assistance of a Greek speaking professional lawyer or accountant.
  • Owning property in Cyprus through a Cyprus private company will make the transfer of the property very much easier- it can in practical terms avoid a number of complications, although it does not of course remove any legal responsibilities.

In the space available it is not possible to expand on many of these points. Many statements may leave more questions than answers. It is also true that many of these matters are very dependant to individual circumstances and therefore everyone should take personal advice. What I do hope is that I have given you a reason to look at your personal circumstances and put your affairs in order!

Author: Ross Pays.


GETTING YOUR ARC (ALIEN REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE)
Alien

Advice on how to Obtain an Aliens Registration Certificate (ARC), a small brown book and the Yellow Slip/Form (the residents permit) which used to be PINK and is still sometimes refered to as a pink slip.

These are obtained from the Immigration Office. In our Commanderia case, the local office is located in LEMESOS/LIMASSOL just 100m off the new by-pass at No1 roundabout/Orphanides.

Directions: Take the third/Northern exit when coming from the NICOSIA direction. 100m later, exit left into a dirt car park and then enter the building that has an ELECTROLUX shop on the ground floor. Good service and prices if shopping!

Aim for about 11am, this lets the crowds clear. Go to the Immigration Office, follow the notices up the stairs or lift, to the second floor. Go purposefully to the INFORMATION DESK, just inside the entrance, join the queue and ask for:

1. An Alien Registration Cerificate (ARC) application Form, for the brown book.

2. A Yellow Slip application form for the residents permit.

At the Information Desk, as you collect the forms, book an interview with an Immigration Officer. You will be guided to a day/date/time…usually two weeks.

On the interview date report to the INFORMATION DESK and obtain a number which relates to your place in the queue. When your number is called, head towards the indicated door and an Immigration Officer will interview you. It is always wise to take a bottle of water and a good book as times are flexible in such a busy office. You can buy coffees.

For each form submitted (regardless of the obvious duplication) you will need to be in possession of ALL the necessary number of ORIGINALS of:

1. ALL the papers the guidance notes for each application for each Certificate/Form indicate, E.g. Bank statement, Deeds or rental contract, utilities Bill, birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc. It is NOT necessary to have these translated into Greek as some guidance notes indicate. 

2. ALL the copies of certificates (sometimes two or more of each) required

3. SEVERAL passport sized photographs.

4. The fees, in cash.

Remember to keep plenty of copies for later use, at least two of each. Make a file and carry it to all meetings where you need a certificate or licence etc…

Once the interview is over and you have no further need to obtain other documents, your ARC and YELLOW SLIP will be sent to you. Expect about two months processing time.

It is wise to keep the receipts handy, as in some cases a receipt is evidence of application, which is all that is needed, for example, when applying for a Medical card (PINK CARD).

If, for any good reason, you have to delay an interview, call the Information Desk ASAP and arrange a new date. Missing an appointment accidentally is not a good policy and you will be remembered.

Some people employ an agent to guide them through the process. This is not necessary BUT can save time and need not be expensive; in the order of CY£50.

Unsolicited advice can be given on Agents. 

Author: Kouris Magpie.

 

TAX
Briefcase

Cyprus Taxation for the UK retired.  The following is a summary of the changes which occurred on 1st January 2003. They have generally followed with the exception that the increase in the tax scale changed to £12000 from 1st January 2007.

In 2003 the Government of Cyprus announced the conclusion of its deliberations on proposed major tax reforms for Cyprus. The reforms are aimed at complying with European Union Law as part of the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. Much has been written regarding the changes; however this briefing is intended to be a short guide specifically relating to those matters that affect retired expatriates.

Perhaps we should preface these notes with the comment that, providing the correct actions are taken, Cyprus will still remain an extremely benevolent tax jurisdiction.

Duty free status was set to end in the near future, this was previously suggested to happen at the end of October 2002 the date was then March 2003 but there is no official date set. There also remains some uncertainty with regard to Duty Free cars for retired expatriates and at the moment there is no known date (if ever) for the removal of the privilege for replacements.

The following other changes took effect from 1st January 2003. The Cyprus tax year runs January to December.

1.1 Tax Residence
Husband and wife are taxed separately.  Until 1st January 2003, there was no minimum period of stay in Cyprus before being regarded as a tax resident. As from 1st January 2003 you will be regarded as tax resident if you spend more than 182 days in a calendar year here. If you spend less than 183 days, from 1st January 2003 you will not be regarded as Cypriot tax resident even though you may not be a tax resident elsewhere.  It is still a little unclear but it seems that to take advantage of the Double Tax Treaties, you will have to be in Cyprus for more than 182 days and therefore tax resident. Since this was issued it now seems that it is possible to “elect” to be resident for tax purposes in Cyprus even if you do not fulfil the 183 day residence. This may be advantageous for those not automatically resident elsewhere since they will then have the benefit of any double taxation treaties. 

1.2 Taxes in Cyprus


Pension Income:

Before 01.01.2003

After 01.01.2003

Tax rate

 

Basis

5% over CY£2000 or at your option at the standard rates
On remittances

5% over CY£2000 or at your option at the standard rates
Worldwide

Capitol Gains:

 

 

On Cypriot home
Other Cypriot real Estate
Other assets

First CY£50K tax free
Taxable at 20% fixed rate

Tax free

First CY£50K tax-free
Taxable at 20% fixed rate

Tax-free

Bank Interest:
Tax rate

Basis

 

5% on over CY£2000

Remittance

 

10% (or3%) (less taxes overseas if any)
 Worldwide

Dividends:
Tax rate
Basis

 

5% on over CY£2000
Remittance

 

15% less taxes overseas
Worldwide

Real Estate
Outside of Cyprus

 

None

 

None

Real Estate
In Cyprus

Scale income tax rates plus 3% Defence Contribution on 75% of the income

Scale income tax rates plus 3% Defence Contribution on 75% of the income

Gifts and Inheritance Tax
Wealth Tax

 

None
None

 

None
None

Scale Tax Rates

 

2003
Up to      CY£9000       0%
CY£  9001 – 12000    20%
CY£12000 – 15000    25%
Over CY£15000         30%

2004
Up to CY£10,000        0%
CY£10001- 15000    20%
CY£15001- 20000    25%
Over CY£20000       30%

1.3 Pension Income
Pension income (arising from pensions for employment originally outside Cyprus) is taxable on a world-wide basis from 1st January 2003.  It can be taxed on either of these methods at the taxpayer’s option: 5% in excess of CY£2,000 or Standard rates claiming used personal allowances. Thus if your pension was, say CY£10,000 in 2003, you would pay 5% (CY£500) under the first method, or CY£200 (20% on ( ₤10000 less ₤ 9000 = ₤ 1000)), so you would choose the second method.

Pensions from the UK for government service (which excludes the NHS) remain liable to UK tax, even if you are Cypriot tax resident The UK state pension and private pensions are only taxable in Cyprus, not in UK, if you are tax resident in Cyprus.

1.4  Capital Gains
Capital gains are payable on real estate located in Cyprus at the rate of 20% (even if you are a Cypriot non-resident). In calculating capital gains on real estate, the purchase costs, improvement, legal and transfer fees, and indexation may be deducted.

1.5 Bank Interest
From 1st January 2003, world-wide interest is taxable as a “Defence Contribution” at the rate of 10%, if any tax has been paid elsewhere on this income it can be deducted, i.e. even if the deposit is in the UK or offshore.

1.6 Dividends
From 1st January 2003, world-wide dividends are also taxable to Defence Contributions at the rate of 15% less any tax deducted at source elsewhere. If your total income (including interest) is less than CY£7000, the tax on interest (not dividends) is reduced to 3% (on application).

1.7 Rental Income
There is no Cypriot tax due on rents derived from overseas (i.e.outside Cyprus) properties, whether or not remitted.  These would normally be taxed in the country where the property is situated.

For Cyprus based real estate, the scale rates of income tax apply but after deducting:-

  • 20% of rent for repairs etc.
  • 3% depreciation on  building cost, not land.
  • any interest on a loan to acquire or improve the property.

In addition, after deducting 25% of the gross rentals, there is a 3% Defence Contribution.

1.8 Taxation of Trust Income
A Cypriot tax resident is not taxed on any income or gains within a Trust established and managed outside Cyprus. Receipts of capital are tax-free whilst Receipts of income are taxable (whether or not remitted) to the 15% Defence Contributions   as from 1st January 2003.

1.9  Local Property Tax


Value of Property as at 01.01.1980

Rate up to 31.12.2002

Rate after 01.01.2003

Up to CY£100,000
CY£100,001-250,000
CY£250,001-500,000
Over CY£500,000

0%
2%
3%
3.5%

   0%
2.5%
3.5%
4.0%

1.10  Non-Cypriot Residents
Taxable only on income arising in Cyprus including capital gains on real estate.

1.11 Employment income
There will no longer be any distinction between local and expatriate employees from 1st January 2003.  However, for new Cyprus residents taking up employment in Cyprus, a special tax exemption of 20% of income earned or CY£5000 p.a. (whichever is the lower) will apply for the first 3 years of employment.  Where the employment is rendered abroad, and more than 90 days overseas in a tax year, and the employer is not a tax resident in Cyprus, and has no permanent establishment in Cyprus, then the entire salary is tax free in Cyprus (it might be taxable elsewhere however).

1.12 Inheritance tax
Inheritance and gifts tax was abolished in Cyprus in 2001. Any persons UK domiciled (as apposed to resident) UK IHT on their worldwide assets unless a new domicile of choice outside of the UK has been established. It is not sufficient to simply live outside of the UK no matter for how long. Interspouse transfers are exempt providing both spouses are of UK domicile.

    • Exempt income

The main exemptions from tax are:

  • Sums received by way of retirement gratuity, commutation of pension, death gratuity, or as consolidated compensation for death or injuries.
  • All interest derived from within Cyprus from capital imported from abroad with the consent of the Ministry of Finance.
  • 30% of the amount invested to acquire first issue shares in a company listed on the Cyprus Stock Exchange (assuming that the shares are held for one full year).
    • Personal Allowances

From 1st January 2003 personal allowances and most of the tax deductions will be abolished, except for Social Insurance or Provident Fund contributions (where paid) and Life Insurance contributions.

    • Capital Appreciation Funds & Bonds (Gross roll up)

Withdrawals of capital are tax free.

This is a guide to the reforms and is produced for the benefit of clients. It is based on our understanding of the proposals as they have been published and on our understanding of Revenue Law and Practice. It is not intended to be exhaustive nor should it be assumed that all information provided is correct in every individual case. Individuals should seek personal advice from their Financial Advisers.

Author: Ross Pays.

 

GETTING YOUR MEDICAL CARD
Hospital

Updated 14/01/2013

Addressed for UK OAPS (and no doubt other EU OAPs!) as there are clear savings to be made plus quality of medical care aspects.

The UK Pension Service form S1 that’s required in order to register for a Cyprus medical card should now be handed in to a Citizen’s Advice Office (CAO) and not to the General Hospital.

For those in the Limassol area we recommend using the Citizen’s Advice Office in Pelendri village where the staff are very helpful and there are no queues.

Kouris Magpie adds "We agree that the PELENDRI Office is really, really great and we have found no problem dealing with the equivalent LIMASSOL office on the Sea Front road 100m EAST of the Old Port Roundabout, pay parking in the old Turkish Bath car park, easy!.

And we are sure that those living in the PAPHOS, LARNACA and NICOSIA area will have similar tales of CAO professionalism and good management...and NO it is not 1st April!!!

Our personal medical history includes accidents, broken bones, physiotherapy and diabetes plus the usual for OAP! Friends (Doctor) add heart attack, DVT and oncology needs...all have been very well catered for.

Kouris Magpie 14/01/2013

*************************************************

Initial Entry Reads:

To access the state health service you need a pink medical card. HOW TO REGISTER:

1. First go to the LIMASSOL General Hospital Admin Office: go in the main FRONT door, not A&E, and 20m on the left next to the PAYING OFFICE and ADMIN OFFICE, the right hand area, go to the ADMIN OFFICE.

Ask for the form to apply for the PINK FORM Medical Card. Nice ladies... The form will ask you for various inputs, such as:

A. E121/E106 or similar which you are entitled to from the UK Pensions/Health service Office at NEWCASTLE. If one of you gets a state pension the other is included on E121. If not entitled/pensioner or spouse, then you need E106.

B. YELLOW FORM, replacement for the PINK FORM, Receipt. This is the residents' permit from Immigration.

C. Cypriot ID card which you get from the Town Hall.

D. Evidence of tax registration.

E. Passport, yes: even with ID card!

F. Utility bill,

G. House Deeds or rental contract...etc

2. Second, prepare to fill the form. Get ALL the documents you are asked for AND the copies as requested. CALL a friend who has been through the process already and they will show you the best way to fill the form. AND... KEEP COPIES OF EVERYTHING!

3. Third, once you have done all the above, and after the chat with the friend, take the Form in to the same office at the General Hospital, plus the fee (about £5) and BINGO… 28 days later by the latest, in the post if you tick the box, you will have your PINK CARD.

4. Fourth, pop up to PLATRES Hospital on a Thursday at about 4pm, and see Dr Elizabeth and George, the Pharmacist. They issue you with your prescription book and DOUBLE BINGO you are registered for ALL PURPOSES!!!

5. You will want an E111, for travel within the EU. Go to the same ADMIN Office but this time you will have your PINK MEDICAL card. Fill in a form and 7-14 days later in the post, if you tick the box, you get your credit card type Cyprus E111 card.

Author: Kouris Magpie.

 

GETTING YOUR DRIVING LICENSE
Driving

If living in Cyprus (i.e. not a tourist) getting a Cyprus Driving licence is necessary. It is also very useful, when dealing with various agencies, to have a Driving licence to refer to. Of course, having had one’s own national licence, it may come hard to hand it over as part of the process, but that is the law.

Directions to the Ministry of Transport Driving Licence office: Go south down the Troodos to Limassol road, join the new dual carriage-way, At the first set of traffic Lights. Go straight ahead, keep in the left-hand lane. At the next set of traffic Lights, turn left. There is a sign. After 200m turn left. There is a another sign. Follow that road to the top of the hill, about 2km. There are usually “L” drivers to follow, returning to the office having passed (or failed) their driving test! Turn left into the Ministry of Transport Offices car park.

This is the place for Driving Tests, Licences, Car Registrations, Traffic office, parking and speeding fines. There are usually two ladies selling driving licence holders from table tops at each side the entrance. They will also organise tax discs etc for a small fee and save you even entering building in future.

Go in the left hand door and see if there are any Driving Licence Applications in English in the racks. If not, join the queue. It is always wise to take a bottle of water and a good book, as times are flexible in such a busy office. The queue splits and so aim for the middle as the left is for fines and the right for New vehicle Registrations.

Go to the desk in your turn and get an application form in English and advice from the Desk Officer on how to fill it in and what evidence is currently needed.

Carry with you: Original documents, photocopies, at least three colour passport photos, CASH (usually £20)

Bring everything you have, including;
1. Your National Driving Licence. You will need your National paper and plastic licence (if in possession) and these are handed over and not returned to you.
2. Passport & ID card (if in possession).
3. House Deeds, sale or rental contract.
4. Utility bill.
5. Birth certificate.
6. Anything else the official advised as evidence.

Armed with all documents and the application form, see the Chief Driving Instructor who will inspect your licence and stamp the application form. He is in an office on the right as you enter the big office area. Don't get lost, just ASK!

Return to the middle queue. In your turn, see the desk officer, hand over the application form with the Chief Driving Instructor’s stamp and ALL the other evidence and pay CASH for the licence which is issued there and then, after processing.

It is actually quite a slick procedure if you are polite, smile and keep calm. Now you have your Cyprus Driving Licence.

NOTE: Keep the Driving Licence safe and with you whilst driving. There can be a fine if you do not produce it when asked by Police. Do not allow it to go in the washing machine or get lost. Getting a relacement driving licence is relatively easy but time-consuming standing in the queue for the Desk Officer who issued your first licence and feeling stupid! Do not put it in the plastic driving licence holders on sale at the car park. The ink comes off the licence onto the plastic after about two years in a pocket and you will need to replace it.

Author: Kouris Magpie.

 

GETTING A DOG LICENSE
German Shepherd

ALL dogs need to be licenced after they are 6 months old.

For a Pet Passport, a vet needs to inspect the dog, give it up-to-date injections and micro chip the dog.

The up-to-date Pet passport and about £15 in cash per dog is taken to the local Muhtar's office to get a“once and for all” dog licence.

Neutering/castrating/spaying the dog can attract a reduced fee in some cases.

The up-to-date Pet Passport, dog licence and cash are then taken to the Government Veterinary Offices to record the details and register the dog on the National database.

NOTE: The Government Veterinary Offices are near the New Port of LEMESOS/LIMASSOL, at the last roundabout before New Port entrance.

Directions: Turn onto the motorway/Limassol by pass heading for PAPHOS. At ORPHANIDES roundabout take the second exit to the NEW PORT. Watch your speed there may be radar! At the third set of traffic lights (AKROTIRI Road), keep in the nearside lane and after the lights, take the first exit left, up a bump and into a narrow road. In that road, take the second right and go as far as you can towards the sea, then turn right into a large building complex. Go to the far end and turn right into a car park behind the building. Look about and one can see on the building wall a sign for “The Government Veterinary Offices”.

Take the lift and follow the signs. The office is still being developed, so ask first and you will be shown to the records office then to the paying office, have cash ready, about £10 per dog. In about half an hour, depending on workload, you will have a registration document

A “Full Set” is therefore:
1. A Pet Passport, from the Vet.
2. A dog licence, from the local offices: Muhktar.
3. A Veterinary Service Registration documen from The Government Veterinary Offices.

NOTE: It is an offence (fine £50+) to let your dog go onto a public beach. When your dog dies, the office MUST be informed, so as to cancel the registration.

Author: Kouris Magpie.

 

GETTING YOUR ID CARD
ID Card

Dear all, Your site has helped me a lot so I want to contribute too!

I have attached a pdf file containing the application form for the Cypriot ID card and intructions on what to bring with you. I think that these documents could come in most handy, because you save the travel to pick them up.
The information is up to date I picked it up today (11/10/2007) from the fairly new Limassol service office at the old port in Limassol. (You don't have to go to the District office anymore).

I hope you can use this information and make it available for other people.
All the best,
Miggi

Issue of Aliens Identity Card.

Necessary documents:

1. Passport valid at least one year.

2. Birth Certificate, translated into English or Greek language, by the Public Information Office (P.I.O)1 or a Governmental Authority of the Country issuing the Birth Certificate or Embassy or Consulate.

3. Alien Book.

4. Resident Permit (Pink Slip) valid for at least six months2.

5. Wedding Certificate translated into English or Greek language.

Note: In case the maiden name of the applicant's mother is not mentioned on the Birth Certificate, a Sworn. Declaration must be made at the Registrars Office, Limassol District Court and returned to this office with the application for Identity Card. The appropriate form will be provided here on request.

I P.I.O. Address: Apellis St. 1456 Nicosia, tel. 22-801117

2 For European Union Citizens a recent receipt given by the Immigration Department upon the application for Resident Permit is enough

Click here. to view/download the pdf file, including application form.

 

GETTING YOUR RESIDENCY PERMIT
Stamp and ink pad

If your Residency permit has expired and you are waiting for your residency permit renewal to come and you applied before 1st December 2007, you will have a very long wait - in fact forever as it will not arrive.

The new procedure is that you have to attend your local Immigration office between 07.30 - 12.30 (first come first served!) to set up an appointment for a PERMANENT (really permanent!!) Residency Certificate to be issued - this first visit is purely to ensure that all your required documentation is present and correct before going forward to the formal interview for the issue of a permanent residency Certificate and to be  a formal interview date.

As a retired applicant not intending to work, you should have all the following documentation with you at this time, for examination :-
1. Valid Passport/ID card and copies of the same
2  Two (2) Passport sized photographs
3. Proof of Pension or other adequate income
4. Proof of comprehensive medical insurance cover for Cyprus
5. Stamped statements or other documents proving adequate deposits in Financial Institutions here and abroad
6. Copy of sale agreement or a lease contract of property in Cyprus  - interestingly this does not appear as a requirement on the application form, but it is certainly on the check list that the Immigration counter staff have .

You can obtain the application form here

Currently there is a wait of 3 to 5 weeks after the initial interview (as above) for a final appointment for a formal immigration interview.

The new Residency certificate is permanent and, if all goes well, it will be issued at the time of the final interview

So - to sum up. 
You have to (without an appointment) visit the Migration Dept with all the documents to make an appointment to visit the Immigration Dept with all the Documents.!!
 
Only in Cyprus!!

 

CUTTING YOUR PHONE BILL
Telephone

Kouris Magpie, along with information from friends and from CYTA itself, advises that so far the cost reduction for us ranges from 50-70%.

Use prefix 1018 (CYTA advised, reluctantly!) This works for all landlines (not apparently mobile/handy/portable) phones and does not need a computer for you to register or do anything other than just dial.

1. Use 1018 in front of every international call, e.g. 1018 00 44 etc for a UK number.

2. Apparently it can work overseas and family in UK use it but in FRANCE it may not work.

3. Register ALL your phones at 8000-1144 with CYTA, from each of your lines (including your fax line), both landline AND mobile/handy/portable to 8000-1144.

4. When you dial 8000-1144 the system automatically reads the number you are calling from and automatically registers that number for cheaper calls.

NOTE: If your fax does not have a voice phone attached, merely disconnect the fax and connect a phone to that line and make the call! Remember to reverse the procedure when you have finished!

Author: Kouris Magpie.

 

UK DOMICILE LAW
Law

For anyone who was born in the UK or whose father or grandfather was born in the UK, or who has lived seventeen out of the last twenty years in the UK (no matter what their nationality or place of birth) it is very probable that they have UK Domicile. This is very different from nationality and different again from resident for tax purposes.

The UK Treasury has promised to review the laws that cover UK Domicile but there is no time scale for this.  In the meantime there has recently been a case before the Special Commissioners which once again indicates how difficult it is for anyone deemed to be UK Domiciled to throw off that status even as in the case in point the person concerned had not lived in the UK for over 30 years. 

The significance of this is largely in regard to UK Inheritance Tax.  The current zero rate for Inheritance Tax in the UK is £300,000 and all amounts in excess of this, and this applies to worldwide assets, is charged at 40%.

The recent case involved an individual who was born in the UK and therefore had a UK Domicile of origin. He left the UK in 1960 to take up full time employment in Hong Kong working for the Hong Kong Government. Some years later he closed his business in the UK and sold all the property he owned there. Although his wife wanted to purchase property in the UK later, he resisted and never did so.  When the person concerned left Hong Kong, he did so via a three month stay in Jersey and while he was there he set up discretionary trusts: one in Guernsey and one in Jersey. 

Whilst trusts are an excellent tax planning tool, it is essential that the correct type be used and a discretionary trust is not suitable for a UK domicile person if they are also UK resident. In such a case the Revenue will ‘look through’ the trust and this was what happened on this occasion. The Revenue claimed and the commissioners ruled that, even if the individual concerned had acquired a ‘domicile of choice’ by living in Hong Kong for 30 years (and even this they disputed and were upheld over) on return to the UK, the investor immediately reverted to his domicile of origin i.e. UK.

The lessons to be learned are as follows:-

  1. If you have a UK Domicile of Origin it is very difficult to change it, simply living in another country no matter for how long does not work.
  2. If you have a UK Domicile then your estate is liable to inheritance tax on your worldwide assets unless you plan correctly. As a matter of additional interest, even non-UK Domiciled persons are liable for UK Inheritance Tax on assets that are UK based e.g. property.
  3. Even retiring to Cyprus and declaring that you will live the rest of your life in Cyprus does not necessarily remove your estate from the UK IHT net.
  4. If you do plan to structure a trust to mitigate or avoid UK taxation be sure that you have chosen the right one. 

The most important lesson of all, however, is just to realise and plan for the inescapable fact that if you were born in the UK or if you have assets in the UK then the UK Capital Taxes office will want their share of your estate unless you plan carefully.

Author: Ross Pays.

 

PENSIONS
Retirement

Are you left with one or more small pensions?
Or larger pensions that are restricted in some way?
Maybe you have to take an Annuity and your pension fund dies with you?

 

If the answer to any or all of the above is yes then a SIPP may be the answer.

Firstly, what is a SIPP?
A SIPP is a Self Invested Personal Pension (sometimes called a self-administered pension), fully approved by HM Revenue and Customs.
It offers unrivalled options for retirement provision, with real flexibility, and a single arrangement for all UK pensions.
Left with lots of small pensions- or one inflexible one? Have to take an annuity?

Why choose a SIPP?
A SIPP offers consolidation of existing arrangements, all pension needs can be administered under one trust, to produce a coherent pension plan.
It gives access to retirement funds from age 50, the opportunity to take a cash amount, tax free, and an income as well, there is no need to buy a purchased annuity, there is a wide choice of investments.  An important point is the improved dependants benefits it offer, its value is not lost on the death of the holder.

Author: Ross Pays.

 

THE TRIPLE TAX THREAT
Triple Tax Threat

Here we outline the Triple Threat to Wealth Protection, for those who Are Of British Domicile. Together with the introduction of the EU Savings Tax Directive in January 2005, UK Inheritance Tax considerations and the latest Anti-Money Laundering reporting requirements are the most important considerations for professional advisers and their clients. Now is an ideal time to consider your overall tax planning requirements.

Inheritance Tax.

  1. If you have a UK Domicile of Origin, it is very difficult to change it. Simply living in another country, no matter for how long, does not work.
  2. If you have a UK Domicile, then your estate is liable to inheritance tax on your worldwide assets, unless you plan correctly. As a matter of additional interest, even non-UK Domiciled persons are liable for UK Inheritance Tax on assets that are UK based e.g. property.
  3. Even retiring to Cyprus and declaring that you will live the rest of your life in Cyprus does not necessarily remove your estate from the UK IHT net.

In 2001/2, the Inland Revenue collected more than 2.3 billion pounds Inheritance tax and was set to more than double in 2007. It now seems that even that was a conservative estimate.

Although the inheritance tax nil rate band has risen in line with inflation – £300,000 for 2007/8 after the UK budget on the 17th March 07 - up from £285,000 the previous year and from £243,000 in the last seven years, this is a drop in the ocean compared to the rise in property prices in the UK. Property worth £243,000 in 1999 would probably be worth closer to £700,000 than £300,000 today, and probably not much different in Cyprus. 

Considering that IHT on any amount beyond the nil rate band is at 40%, anyone with a £700,000 property will leave their heirs not just the property but an IHT bill of  £160,000 which will have to be paid before probate is granted and the property passes to the heirs! What is of great concern is that many people are not only unaware they may have a liability but that there are options available to them to protect their wealth for future generations.

Click here. to view an article on IHT, published by Investment International Magazine.

EU Savings Tax Directive

On 3rd June 2003, the European Finance Ministers agreed to new tax measures aimed to collect tax revenues across members of the EU. Known as the EU Savings Tax Directive this agreement operated from 1st January 2005.  After that all non-resident personal Deposit accounts by held EU residents, in EU member state countries, will automatically have details of interest earned passed to the individual’s home tax jurisdiction.
Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg, have elected instead to levy a withholding tax at source on the interest earned by EU residents at an initial rate of 15%, rising to 35% in 2011.

The directive will only affect individuals who are resident within the EU.  It will not apply to accounts held in a company name (For example Acme Products Ltd) or under the name of a trust.  You should be aware that if you hold a personal bank account in a participating jurisdiction details of interest earned on your account will automatically be shared with the revenue in the country in which you are ‘tax resident’ from 1st January 2005. Again excepting Austria, Belgium or Luxembourg or any of the other co-operating territories also adopting this withholding tax policy (IOM, the Channel Islands, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco and Liechtenstein)

Of course, if you are currently making full disclosure, implementation of the directive will have no impact on you.  Information regarding interest earned will simply be shared with your home tax jurisdiction enabling it to check the details you give on your annual tax return. You did not need take any action the directive this just happened in the background and involves one tax jurisdiction talking to another about you, but not with you. It is probable that before 1st January 2005 if you banked in any EU or otherwise participating territory, then your bank will require details of your country of residence. (More recently in the UK a number of mainland banks have been forced to reveal information relating to holdings in their offshore branches).

The deposit-taker must then decide if you are deemed to be within the scope of the directive, depending on where your account is held, details of your interest earned will automatically be returned to your home tax jurisdiction from 1st January 2005 or your interest will be taxed at 15% at source.
Provided you are tax compliant however, you should not be concerned about the directive.

What are the implications of moving savings to another location? First, there is the time and trouble involved in sourcing a suitable alternative – comparison of interest rates, jurisdiction, reputation of the institution, gathering all the identification documentation required and so on.

What can be done?

The key in reducing the IHT bill and EUSTD solutions is to take action in good time, there are options and they need to be considered very much on an individual basis. Trust and corporate structures enable you to hold a variety of assets in a secure and tax efficient manner and help preserve your wealth for future generations. The potential tax savings using trust and company structures can often outweigh the cost in creating such vehicles. 

New Anti-Money Laundering Requirements

In practice the changes will have very significant on their relationship with their professional advisers back in the UK.  Tax evasion is a crime and all UK professionals including financial advisers, accountants, second hand car dealers, currency traders, any bank employees, solicitors, antique dealers, estate agents, art dealers and stockbrokers in fact anyone involved in large financial transactions now must report every suspicion of tax evasion. They may also have to report any suspicions from prior knowledge they have.  If they do not report it, they can go to jail for up to five years.  It is a crime not to report any suspicion– no proof is required. Crime includes tax evasion, tax fraud, fraud, theft, incorrect tax returns, corruption, price fixing, as well any more obvious crimes such as burglary, soliciting, product piracy etc.

Final Points:
The Savings Tax Directive will impact every account held under an individual name (not company or trust) by an EU resident.

Mitigating schemes include using corporate and trust structures.  Investors who are declaring all interest received have no cause for concern the information they send to their residencies will just be cross-checked.

Any and all dealings with virtually any institution in the UK will by law be required to be reported to the UK Revenue and shared by them with the Inland Revenue in the (EU) country of residence of the individual concerned.

Author: Ross Pays.

 

BUYING A HOME THROUGH A COMPANY
House

There are often compelling reasons why you should buy a home through a company. Some countries, such as Cyprus, France and Greece have forced heir-ship, that make it difficult for you to leave your property to those that you may wish and even if you are not a national of those countries, if the property is based there, the law of the land will prevail.

UK resident or ordinarily resident owners of an off-shore company who are also UK Domiciled, may find that anti-avoidance legislation can charge them capital gains tax and those gains will not have the benefit of taper relief for personal gains. Unless the asset was acquired after you became a non-resident if you sell the property while non-resident but are not absent for at least five full tax years you will be taxed in the year you return to the UK.

Taxes such as capital gains tax, stamp duty and capital taxes on property transfers may also sometimes be negated or reduced by ownership through an offshore company. There may also be jurisdictions that do not allow ownership through an offshore company and require the use of a local company.

If you wish to live in or return to the UK and keep your home through a company you may find that you are liable to UK income tax as you could be seen as a ‘shadow directors’, thereby allowing the UK Inland Revenue to tax the home as ‘available accommodation’ by virtue of their ‘employment’ i.e. a taxable benefit in kind similar to a company car. If the property is let, anti-avoidance legislation often means that the rent will be treated as your personal income. On the more positive side however, all legitimate company expenses and, for example, interest on any loan can be set against the income

For those are UK domiciled they will always be liable to UK inheritance taxes on the value of the shares in any company (which would for example be based on the assets, such as the property itself, irrespective of where it is based) even if you are non-resident. Once again, however, it may be possible to legitimately shelter the shares in the company through an offshore bond and trust. You may also find that if you decide to sell the property by selling the shares you may be surprised to discover that their price has to be discounted to encourage someone to buy the company instead of the property directly.

Those non-UK domiciled are only liable to UK inheritance tax on ‘in situ’ UK assets, so purchasing UK homes through a non-UK company can avoid UK inheritance tax by exchanging a UK asset (the property) for a non-UK asset (the shares). However, if you are UK resident, the shadow director rules may mean that alternative inheritance tax planning options should be taken.

Even if an offshore company can save taxes there is little point a company that is based in a jurisdiction that is highly taxed. This may have put the country where you are resident or where the property is based on a list of ‘tax havens’. Countries that are averse to ‘tax havens’ often apply penalties to companies based in them.

Of course, using offshore companies to purchase property can expose you to the tax rules of several countries: the country where the company is based, the country where you are resident and the country where the property is located. Spain, for example, has rules that can effectively treat the sale of an offshore company as if it was not there if it owns a Spanish property. Of course if the company sells the property and then passes the funds to the shareholders, the funds may also give rise to tax bills.

There are many considerations but it is certainly worth investigating whether owning your property though a company would be of advantage to you.

Author: Ross Pays.

 

MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS
Money

Most people living outside of the UK and probably most of those who do live there will probably not even have heard about the new money laundering regulations. Those that have will probably feel that unless they are drug runners or part of the Great Train Robbery there will not affect on them or that they have any reason to be concerned.

In practice, the changes will have very significant on their relationship with their professional advisers back in the UK. Tax evasion is a crime and all UK professionals including financial advisers, accountants, second hand car dealers, currency traders, any bank employees, solicitors, antique dealers, estate agents, art dealers and stockbrokers in fact anyone involved in large financial transactions now must report every suspicion of tax evasion.

They may also have to report any suspicions from prior knowledge they have. If they do not report it, they can go to jail for up to five years. It is a crime not to report any suspicion– no proof is required. Crime includes tax evasion, tax fraud, fraud, theft, incorrect tax returns, corruption, price fixing, as well any more obvious crimes such as burglary, soliciting, product piracy etc.

Not only is it a crime for your accountant etc not to report any suspicion, it is also a crime for them to tell you that they have reported it and they must deny it if you ask them. It does not matter where the crime is committed as far as your UK adviser is concerned even if the crime, say tax evasion, is committed in Cyprus or wherever, it must be reported. Tax evasion is a crime in nearly all countries with the notable exception of Switzerland.

Even if the sum involved is small, a few pounds, then it must be reported. Even if you did not yourself commit the crime, for example if you have received an inheritance not disclosed by your parents and your lawyer or other adviser is aware of it, then it must be reported. This is one of the few cases where even the use of a trust may not help because if the assets within the trust came from the proceeds of a criminal act (e.g. tax evasion) then it is reportable.

Even your own lawyer must report. The new laws override confidentiality and legal privilege in the UK unless you seek legal advice because, for example you have been charged with a crime, then legal privilege applies. Privilege does not apply however if you talk to your UK lawyer for tax or any other type of advice. Your advisors are not obliged to be able to prove that a crime has occurred. They merely have to be suspicious, where it is deemed reasonable to have been suspicious, and they (the adviser) are not suspicious they have committed an offence.

Anyone at any level who works at the firm must report to the Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO – an employee or director which each firm must nominate), and the MLRO must then report to the Economic Crimes Branch of the National Criminal Investigation Service in London (NCIS). If your adviser is aware of past offences, then this too must be reported under the new laws. In the UK there has been little resistance from advisers and indeed the most activity has been about training staff to spot potential crime in other words how to be especially suspicious!

If a report is made, the authorities will apply the Proceeds of Crime act 2002 that enables the new Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) to recover all of the proceeds of the crime. This would mean all assets held and not just the tax due. If you are not UK resident it does not matter; any UK based adviser must report it. NCIS will then pass the information over to the relevant overseas authorities of the country in which you live. A firm based entirely outside of the UK, i.e. only operating overseas is not obliged to meet these new UK rules, even though there may be associations with companies within the UK.

What is for certain is that you should not even think about discussing problems with any UK based adviser as they are obliged to report you.

Author: Ross Pays.

 

STROKE IDENTIFICATION
medical

STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Letters.... S.T.R. 

My nurse friend sent this and encouraged me to post it and spread the word. I agree. If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some folks. Seriously....

Please read: STROKE IDENTIFICATION:

During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) .....she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die.... they end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this... A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke... totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. RECOGNIZING A STROKE Thank God for the sense to remember the "3" steps, STR. Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke . Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S * Ask the individual to SMILE.

T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. It is sunny out today)

R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 199 or 112 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke ---- - --- Stick out Your Tongue NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke.

 

HEART ATTACKS AND ASPIRIN
medical

This is good info. We did not know that you should not lie down while waiting for the EMT.

Heart attack info NEW ASPIRIN/ Serious stuff, no joke!! Just a reminder to all: purchase a box, keep one in your car, pocketbook, wallet, bedside, etc.

IMPORTANT READ......
Something that we can do to help ourselves.

Nice to know.
Bayer is making crystal aspirin to dissolve under the tongue. They work much faster than the tablets.

Why keep aspirin by your bedside?
About Heart Attacks

There are other symptoms of an heart attack besides the pain on the left arm.
One must also be aware of an intense pain on the chin, as well as nausea and lots of sweating,however these symptoms may also occur less frequently.
Note: There may be NO pain in the chest during a heart attack

The majority of people (about 60%) who had a heart attack during their sleep, did not wake up.However, if it occurs, the chest pain may wake you up from your deep sleep.
If that happens, immediately dissolve two aspirins in your mouth and swallow them with a bit of water.
Afterwards: CALL EMERGENCY NUMBER 112
- say "heart attack!"
- say that you have taken 2 aspirins..
- phone a neighbour or a family member who lives very close by
- take a seat on a chair or sofa near the front door, and wait for their arrival and...
DO NOT lie down

 

CYPRUS PROPERTY PITFALLS
Doorway

CYPRUS PROPERTY PITFALLS- a time for ACTION!

Click here.to view this information.

Copyright © 2008 Cyprus Property Action Group
Prepared by the Cyprus Property Action Group
(www.cyprus-property-action-group.net)