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Doing Business In And Through North Cyprus
The island has one of the most attractive tax systems in the world. Investors can take advantage of a relatively low level of taxation.
 

North Cyprus At A Glance

  • Capital: Nicosia
  • Establishment: 1983
  • Official language: Turkish
  • Surface Area: 3.355 km2
  • Population: 350
  • Monetary unit: Turkish Lira (TRY)
  • Traffic Flow: Left side
  • Time zone: GMT +2
  • Legal System: Common Law (UK)

Choosing North Cyprus

  • Geostrategic position /access to Europe, Asia and Africa
  • 1% – 0% corporate Tax and no tax on dividends on
  • International Business
  • Companies and Famagusta Free Zone companies respectively
  • Excellent epidemiological results in response to Covid19
  • Low costs
  • Credible banks
  • Modern and transparent legal, financial and regulatory framework
  • Developed educational system
  • Highly skilled Workforce

FINDING FLEXIBLE LEGAL SOLUTIONS THAT FIT THE EVER CHANGING NEEDS OF CLIENTS!

Providing practical, innovative and creative solutions

Our Law Firm believes that clients’ success determines our own. So we ensure both by collaborating with our clients to achieve their goals

 A one-stop full service law firm

 

1) Firm Profile

Eylem Şakir and Associates Law Firm is a leading law firm based in Kyrenia, North Cyprus with a capacity to operate in other countries through a network of associates worldwide, providing prompt, high quality, multilingual, tailor made services to its clients in an efficient and business minded manner with a detailed understanding of both national and international law with its experienced legal team.

We stand as one of the best law firm providing services to our clients by finding flexible legal solutions that fit the everchanging needs of our clients in their international and domestic ventures.

ESA Law Firm’s successes are continuously built by its clear vision, rigorously maintained values and, above all, our team and as a consequence we are serving to a wide base of private clients, corporate clients and foreign investors both within North Cyprus and overseas. We define ourselves as a one-stop full-service law firm providing practical, innovative and creative solutions.

 

 

Spoken Languages:

Turkish, English, Russian and German

Our Mission:

To assist our corporate and individual local and international clients achieve their business and financial objectives by offering high quality services.

-Welcome from Founding Partner-

I would like to give you a warm welcome to ESA Law Firm and introduce our services.

ESA Law Firm’s head office is based in Kyrenia, North Cyprus operating in all cities of Cyprus with a dynamic multilingual, locally and internationally experienced team of advocates, associates and paralegals providing services in all fields of law with a professional knowledge of national and international law.

After gaining several experiences in the most prestigious

law offices in North Cyprus, KPMG Cyprus (a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services) and the European Commission, I decided to establish ESA law firm to provide services at internationally accepted business standards, and adding value to the legal service content in North Cyprus by combining the discipline, knowledge, values gained through those experiences.

We pride ourselves on our approachable, collegiate and team-based way of working and standing as one of the strongest legal brands in North Cyprus at international level. We achieve this through practical and innovative legal solutions that help our clients succeed. We put the interests of our clients first, give practical advice, believe in the power of team and last but not least we aim to be easy to work with, down to earth and approachable.

In the following pages you will see our diverse practices and multi specialism which allow us to look positively to the future and maintain our ambition and passion to proceed forward.

We will continue to draw strength from your support and trust, which encourage us to provide you with our best services to your legal issues or investments in North Cyprus.

I look forward to providing professional services to you.

Adv.Eylem Şakir

2) PRACTICE AREAS WHAT WE DO?

Conveyancing, Property and Construction:

ESA Law firm deals with all matters relating to freehold and leasehold property, including transactions and disputes involving commercial and residential property. We advise both individual and corporate clients. Areas of work include drafting contracts of sale and purchase for residential and commercial properties, conveyancing, acquisition of property by foreigners, applying for Property purchase permits, property management for non – residents, drafting construction agreements, operating agreements, tenancy agreements, letting agreements, commercial leases, advising on long-leases from the government, advising the construction industry on large scale projects and tenders.

Wills, Probate and Trusts:

ESA Law Firm provides legal advice on estate administration and planning, wills, probate and re-sealings. We assist in the drafting of Wills, arranging them to be registered at the Courts of Law and the establishment of Probates. Other areas of assistance includes formation of trusts, appointment and supervision of trustees.

Immigration:

We deal with citizenship applications, work permits, permanent residence permits, immigration permits and visas.

Corporate and Commercial:

The work undertaken by ESA Law Firm includes formation and acquisition of companies in Cyprus and abroad, corporate reorganization and restructuring, shareholder agreements and corporate governance issues including resolving commercial disputes, management buy-outs and earn-outs, corporate management, bankruptcy and insolvency litigation, mergers and acquisitions (local and abroad), capital raising transactions, tenders, agency and distribution agreements formation and use of trusts, partnership formation and dissolution, insolvency and restructures, cross border transactions and joint ventures, international tax planning.

Intellectual Property:

ESA Law Firm’s expertise covers advises on the acquisition, registration and protection of all intellectual property, franchising and licensing, restrictive trade practices, competition law, patent, trademark, copyright proceedings and passing off actions, advice on all related tax aspects.

Litigation:

Any dispute can erupt into litigation. At ESA Law Firm we have broad experience in insurance claims and disputes, debt collection, traffic accidents, employers’ liability, personal injury claims, criminal matters, banking and finance disputes, hire purchase agreements, bankruptcy and insolvency law, divorce, separation agreements, custody disputes, injunctive relief, maintenance and lump sum settlements, property provisions, international trade law, trusts and equity, company and partnership disputes, admiralty claims, property disputes including rental control, compulsory purchase, construction disputes, all matters of administrative law arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Our experience has shown that

involvement of our lawyers at an early stage in managing the dispute can help to prevent escalation and therefore cut back costs. From the point of instruction you can rest assured that our team will deal with your dispute professionally, dynamically and efficiently.

 Labour and Employment:

ESA Law Firm provides clients with advice on all aspects of labour law including reviewing and drafting employment agreements, related documents, deeds of release and mutual termination agreements, mitigation and dispute resolution.

Banking and Finance:

ESA Law Firm deals with banking law, guarantees, indemnities, loans and security, project finance, corporate finance, off-shore banks, bank formations, banking regulations, formation and management of international business companies, offshore trusts and companies.

Tax and Asset Protection:

In association with leading accountants and other business partners, ESA Law Firm’s tax practice covers a broad range of areas in tax structuring relating to investments and transactions with the aim to identify the most efficient tax structure including advising on taxation levels, double taxation, estate and inheritance taxes, international tax planning and family offices, investment funds.

Insurance:

ESA Law Firm advises the insurance industry on formulation of policies, formation and structure of insurance companies and brokers, underwriting and financing issues and legal restrictions.

European Union and Human Rights Law:

ESA Law Firm legal advice and assistance covers all aspects of European law including advising industries, companies, individuals and the government on effects of the EU law on trade, import export of goods and services, competition, human rights and discrimination issues and on the availability of local and international remedies for human rights infringements.

3) Our Team

Eylem Şakir – Founder and Managing Partner, lawyer

Eylem Şakir is a founding and managing partner of the company.

She graduated from the Eastern Mediterranean University, Law School (Cyprus) in 2001, received her master degree in European Law from University of Nottingham (UK) in 2002 and had a degree LLB Graduate degree from University of London (UK).

After completing her training in one of the leading law firm in North Cyprus, in 2003 she was called to the TRNC Bar Association. Since then she has been working as a legal adviser and an advocate in Cyprus and Europe; in 2003 she did training at European Commission in Brussels, in 2004 – 2006 she worked at one of the world’s leading firm (a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services) known as KPMG located in Nicosia (Republic of Cyprus) and in 2006 – 2012 Eylem worked in one of a reputable law firm in Kyrenia, North Cyprus.

After gaining the experiences stipulated above in February 2012 she decided to establish her own firm with an ambition of creating the leading innovative law firm of North Cyprus.

Main practice areas are conveyancing, property and construction, cooperate and commercial issues, litigation, contracts, companies, banking, finance, probate, trust, family, insurance, taxation, tax planning, double tax treaties, international investment funds, intellectual property, trade mark, telecom and e-business.

Mrs. Şakir has vast experience in Turkish Law, EU Law and British legal system.

Languages: Turkish and English (both fluent), French and Greek, German (basic).

Ayten G. Birkaya

Lawyer

Ayten G. Birkaya was born in London, Uk and obtained her LLB honors degree from Girne American University. She was awarded a scholarship from the European Commission where she successfully completed her Masters degree in LLM International Law and graduated from the University of Nottingham (UK) in 2013. Ayten was called to the TRNC Bar in 2014 and practiced Law at one of the most reputable Law Firms in North Cyprus between the years 2014-2018. She joined our Firm in August 2018 and deals with all Legal matters concerning Immovable Property Law, Probate Law, Family Law, Contract Law and Conveyancing.  Ayten is fluent in both English and Turkish and is also the Head of the Conveyancing Department of the Firm.

Email: ayten@esalawfirm.com

 

 Latife Erim

Account Manager

Latife Erim was born in Kyrenia/TRNC on 5th September 1983. Her native language is Turkish but is also fluent in English. She completed her education in Nicosia Turkish High School between 1997-1999. She completed her preparatory class in Eastern Mediterranean University between 1999-2000  and also completed her undergraduate studies in Tourism and Hospitality Management at Eastern Mediterranean University between 2000-2005, with an Honors Degree. She worked as an assistant at a Professional Law Firm for a period of 6 years. She joined the Firm in July 2018. Latife is responsible in the conducting of the Firm’s daily and administrative affairs, dealing with Client’s accounting transactions and the Firms’s financial and accounting affairs, making applications for permission to purchase Property for Expat Clients, conducting Land Registry Office transactions, tracking litigation cases, recording and managing all paper works.

Email: Latife@esalawfirm.com

Tatiana Zilbershnir

Legal assistant

Tatiana was born in Moscow, and obtained her ELT honors degree from Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU). She joined our Firm in November 2019 and she is dealing with translation of documents from Russian to English and English to Russian, drafting Contracts and other document, attending meetings with Client’s.

Languages: English & Russian (both fluent)

Turkish (intermediate)

Email: legalassistant@esalawfirm.com

4 ) Useful  INFORMATION & GUIDANCE

  1. Guidance for Purchasing Property in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Regardless of whether you are looking to acquire a private or a commercial immovable property in Northern Cyprus, it is our firm’s priority to provide you with the best possible service and to see you through every step of the process. We ensure that you are well cared by us, whatever may come up. Additionally, when buying immovable property in Northern Cyprus we want to ensure that our Client’s purchase proceeds without any unexpected surprises by knowing a few basic facts:

Under the new laws of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, non- TRNC citizens are entitled to take title to only one property. If the property purchased is a plot of land, this plot of land must not exceed the size of 1 acre, however, if the Property is a dwelling, the plot of land it is based on must not exceed the size of 5 acres, providing that the property only consists of one dwelling. Under the government previous policy, spouses were considered as a single household and were only entitled to purchase one property between them. However, officials at the TRNC Ministry of Internal Affairs have confirmed that this policy has been changed and that spouses can now individually purchase one property each.

The conveyancing procedure starts with an initial meeting with the lawyer to give information about the Property you have chosen; details of the Property, price of the property, payment schedule, any informal or verbal agreements you have reached with the Vendor such as extra items provided within the sale. At this stage, we also arrange for you to sign a special Power of Attorney; which only authorities us with the power of purchasing immovable property on your behalf in north Cyprus, to ensure that we can finalise the purchase and act on your behalf, while you have returned back to your home country.

Then a Contract of Sale will be prepared that will be designed to ensure that your interests are protected as far as possible. Once all parties (the Seller and the Buyer) have approved the draft contract it will be signed and exchanged. Every page including the appendixes should be initialed and the Contract of Sale should be signed in the presence of at least 2 witnesses. You should retain one copy of the original Contract of Sale and keep it safe. Please pay attention to inspect the specifications attached to the Contract, as any verbal agreement prior to or subsequent to the Contract of Sale shall be deemed to be not included in the agreement.

Under law 38/07, contracts must be deposited with the Land Registry Office within 21 days of the contract date and it is now compulsory for the stamp duty to be paid at the rate of %0.5 before registration can take place. Once the contract of sale is registered, the property is protected from being sold to any other third party and the Contract will take priority over any subsequent encumbrance.

The next stage will then be arranging your application to the TRNC Council of Ministers, for the necessary permission to be granted to you in order for the title deed of the Property to be transferred and registered in your name, since any purchase of any immovable property by non – TRNC citizens must be sanctioned by the Council of Ministers under the Law 52/2008. A copy of your Contract, the Title deed, site plan, purchase permit application form filled by you and an original police clearance certificate obtained from the local police station at your residency should be provided to the Ministry of Internal Affairs along with your application. The permission granted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs is not required for entering into a contract but rather for transfer of title deed. Whilst processing your purchase permit application, the Council of Ministers will take searches from the land registry, the military and the immigration authorities. Provided that these are positive the permission will be granted. The permissions are granted in the majority of the applications with the main reasons for refusal in rare cases being due to the location and proximity to a strategic military installation or criminal history of the purchaser at the Interpol level. The permission process can take a long time to complete; the current estimation is around 4-6 months. However, this will not prevent you from moving into the property or leasing the property or possibly even selling the Property – as standard practice we usually make sure that the contract is assignable.

Once your purchase permission has been granted, all the necessary valuation forms will be filled out and provided to the Land Registry Office in order for your property to be evaluated. Depending on the valuation amount provided by the Land Registry Office, all taxes and costs payable for the transfer of title deed shall then be paid according to this amount and the title deed will be transferred and registered in your name (for the taxes due on transfer of title please refer to our guidance for Taxes for Property Transactions). If you designated us as your Legal Attorney for purchasing Property in North Cyprus, you do not need to be present at the Land Registry Office and we will attend and complete the transfer of title deed on your behalf.

Once the construction of your Property is finalized and you are able to take delivery of your house, if it is not finished within the scope of your contract, you may refuse to take delivery. Should you wish to take delivery of the house subject to completion of missing/defective work thereafter, you must obtain a signed undertaking from the Vendor to make sure that taking delivery does not amount to forbearance. You can move into the Property under your Contract of Sale and no additional documentation is necessary. Please make sure that you keep all your receipts/bank receipts for the payments made under the Contract.

  1. Guidance for Costs and Taxes payable during Transfer of Title Deeds

There are 3 main taxes involved in any property sale transaction (different taxes apply to gifts of property). These taxes are:

  • The transfer fee which is payable to Land Registry Office
  • The capital gains tax which is payable to the Tax Office
  • The VAT which is payable to the Tax Office

The Capital Gains is usually payable by the vendor and the transfer fee is usually payable by the purchaser (although this can be varied by the parties in the Contract of Sale). VAT, however, is subject to the terms of the Contract of  Sale agreed between the parties (i.e. whether or not the sale price includes or excludes VAT).

The amount of tax levied depends on whether or not the vendor is a ‘professional vendor’ (i.e. whether the transaction is of a commercial nature or for profit). The table below indicates the percentages levied accordingly. The percentages for all three types of tax are percentages of assessed value of the property which is carried out just before transfer of title takes place. The valuation assesses the property in the state it is in at the date of the valuation i.e. if there is a new construction on the property, this will be included in the assessment of the value of the property.

Vendor’s Band: Transfer Fee:    Capital Gains:  VAT:

Private Individual  6%   3% (with option right)   0% on first sales 3.5%    0%

Professional  6%   3% (with option right)   6.25%  5%

 TRANSFER FEE

The transfer fee payable is 6% upon Land Registry’s valuation of the property purchased with the option to pay 3%. Once this option right is used, the fee payable is 6% for future transfers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VAT FOR PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS

Frequently asked questions

1.VAT is levied only on sales where the vendor is a ‘professional vendor’. Who is a ‘professional vendor’?

A professional vendor is a limited company or a person who has sold more than three properties within one year or a person who is deemed to be in the business of construction or real estate and is deemed to be a professional vendor.

 

2. What is the rate of VAT?

The rate of VAT is 5%.

3. Will I have to pay the new increased rate even though the rate was lower when I signed my Contract?

Unfortunately, the VAT is payable at the rate in force when the transfer of title takes place. Even if you signed your contract and/or took possession of your property before the VAT rate was increased, if the title to the property has not yet been transferred into your name, you will pay VAT at the new rate when this transfer takes place.

4. Will I have to pay VAT on my property purchase?

In determining whether you will be liable to pay VAT on your property purchase, you need to establish the following:

  • whether the vendor is a professional vendor as defined above
  • whether your contract requires you to pay the VAT. Where the contract does not expressly mention VAT, it is our opinion that the purchase price shall be deemed to be inclusive of VAT.

CAPITAL GAINS TAX

Frequently asked questions

1. Will I have to pay Capital Gains Tax on my purchase?

Generally, no. Capital Gains Tax is usually paid by the Vendor, unless otherwise stipulated in your contract.

2. Will I have to pay Capital Gains Tax on the sale of my property? If so, how much will this be?

This depends on whether you are a private individual or a professional vendor (as defined above):

Every private individual has a once in a lifetime tax free sale option (for a house and land not exceeding approximately 1 acre). If you use this option, you will not be liable to Capital Gains Tax on that sale. On all subsequent sales, Capital Gains Tax will be payable at 3.5%, provided you do not sell more than 3 properties in one year, making you a professional vendor.

Property Tax

While transferring title deed must make sure that you do not owe any Property Tax. Property Tax is paid annually to the municipality and it is calculated by time 1,5 TL for each m². Purchasers are liable to pay Property Tax starting from the day they receive the possession of the property.

CAPITAL GAINS TAX

Frequently asked questions

1. Will I have to pay Capital Gains Tax on my purchase?

Generally, no. Capital Gains Tax is usually paid by the Vendor, unless otherwise stipulated in your contract.

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