The EU’s Parent-Subsidiary and Interest and Royalties Directives are central to the fight against double taxation and the promotion of fair taxation within the European Union. These directives eliminate withholding taxes on dividends, subject to conditions such as minimum ownership stakes and tax residency within EU member states. In Cyprus, as an EU member, these directives have a substantial impact on taxation, streamlining conditions for dividends, interest, and royalties. Understanding these nuances is vital for businesses operating in the EU and Cyprus, enhancing their tax efficiency.

In general, the EU Parent-Subsidiary Directive and Interest and Royalties Directive

The Parent-Subsidiary Directive and Interest and Royalties Directive are a European Union (EU) directive that aims to eliminate or reduce double taxation of profits for example when a parent company receives dividends from its subsidiaries within the EU. It is part of a broader set of directives known as the EU’s Anti-Tax Avoidance Package, which seeks to combat tax avoidance and promote fair taxation within the EU.

Key features and objectives include:

Elimination of withholding tax: Under the directive, EU member states are required to eliminate withholding taxes for example on dividends paid from a subsidiary to its parent company, provided certain conditions are met. This facilitates the free flow of profits within the EU.

Conditions for application: To benefit from the directive, the parent company must hold a minimum ownership stake (usually at least 10% of the subsidiary’s capital) for a certain period. Additionally, both the parent and subsidiary must be tax-resident in EU member states.

The Parent-Subsidiary Directive and Interest and Royalty Directive are part of the broader framework of EU directives aimed at creating a single market for goods, services, capital, and people within the European Union. It helps promote cross-border investment and business activities by reducing tax barriers within the EU.

EU Directives apply if the recipient company of income (dividends, interest, royalties, etc) is the beneficial owner of such income and not a conduit company. The beneficial owner company of the income is where the recipient company’s powers are exercised by its directors without the interference of its shareholders, sufficient economic substance is present, income is reported in the recipient’s bank account and financial statements, free deal with the inflow of funds by the recipient, the recipient has the ability to make decisions on its own and having fully-fledged offices and employ full time or part-time employees, Income received in a form of interest should be in the form of unrelated payment received and be at arm’s length with adequate margin returns.

In Cyprus, EU Parent-Subsidiary Directive and Interest and Royalties Directive

Cyprus, as an EU member state is subject to the provisions of the Parent-Subsidiary Directive and Interest and Royalty Directive


Cyprus, like other EU member states, typically requires a minimum ownership stake of at least 10% in the subsidiary’s capital for the directive’s benefits to apply. No minimum holding period is required.

Interest and Royalty

Implementing the provisions of the Interest and Royalties Directive outbound royalties are exempt from withholding tax, provided that the beneficial owner of the royalties is an associated company of the paying company and is resident in another Member State or such a company’s permanent establishment situated in another Member State. Two companies are “associated companies” if (i) one of them has a direct minimum holding of 25% in the capital of the other, or (ii) a third EU company has a direct minimum holding of 25% in the capital of the two companies. The relevant companies must have a legal form listed in the Annex of the Directive and be subject to a corporate income tax. No minimum holding period is required.


In conclusion, the EU’s Parent-Subsidiary and Interest and Royalties Directives stand as vital instruments in creating a tax-efficient environment within the European Union. These directives work to eliminate double taxation and promote fair taxation practices. In Cyprus, their influence shapes the tax landscape, allowing businesses to benefit from streamlined conditions when engaging in cross-border transactions. Understanding and leveraging these directives is key to achieving tax efficiency in the EU and Cyprus, making them indispensable tools for businesses operating in this dynamic economic landscape.

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