Cyprus and India revised Double Tax Avoidance Agreement


On November 18th 2016, Cyprus and India signed a revised double tax agreement to replace the one signed between the two countries back in 1994. The development is another welcome step for the business community as following the entry into force of the amending agreement, Cyprus will be retrospectively removed from the list of the Indian Notified Jurisdictional areas, the so called “Indian black list”, on which it has been placed as of November 2013.

Full details of the new agreement were published on November 25th in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus and the agreement will come into force after both countries have notified each other that the ratification process in each country has been completed.

The provisions of the treaty will be effective in Cyprus on or after 1 January following the date the Agreement enters into force and in India on or after 1 April of the fiscal year following the date it enters into force.

Below is a summary of the key amendments in the “new” agreement:

  • The definition of permanent establishment has been widened and it now includes a building site or construction, installation or assembly project or supervisory activities in connection with such a site if it lasts more than 6 months as opposed to the previous 12 months.
  • A 10% withholding tax shall be imposed on dividends.
  • A withholding tax shall be imposed on interest payments which will be 10%, unless the beneficial owner of the interest is the government, a political sub-division, a local authority of the other contracting state as well as certain Indian institutions defined in the treaty or any other institution as may be agreed upon between the competent authorities of the contracting states, in which case the withholding tax will be reduced to 0%.
  • A 10% withholding tax shall be imposed on royalties as opposed to the previous 15%.
  • The new agreement provides for the exchange of information between the competent authorities.

Note that under the Cyprus and Indian tax legislation there is no withholding tax on dividend payments in and out of the countries to non-residents. Furthermore, Cyprus does not impose any withholding taxes on interest and royalties paid to non-residents.