TaxLegi 29.2.2024

29 Feb 2024
Subject Tax Alert
Categories TaxLegi
  • FuelEU Maritime Initiative: Positive steps towards to achieve a green shipping technology and carbon-zero emissions

    FuelEU Maritime Initiative: Positive steps towards to achieve a green shipping technology and carbon-zero emissions


    A regulatory context

    The FuelEU Maritime Initiative is a part of Fit for 55 package which was presented by the European Commission on June 2021 with the aim to reduce the EU Greenhouse Gas emissions by 55% by 2030.  The regulation came into force in November 2023 and it applies from 1 January 2025, with the exception of provisions regarding the monitoring plans which shall apply from 31 August 2024.

    The main objectives of FuelEU Maritime

    The FuelEU Maritime regulation is a significant part of European Union’s climate law. It sets a maximum life-cycle (well to wake) limit on the GHG intensity of energy used on board and from 2030 introduces an obligation to use on-shore power supply (OPS) or zero-emission technology in major EU ports. What is worth to notice is that these goals are to be achieved by a simultaneous increasing the use of renewable and low-carbon fuels, while ensuring the smooth operation of maritime transport, creating regulatory certainty and avoiding distortions in the internal market.

    The GHG intensity of energy used on board must be reduced gradually, as follows:

    • 2% from 1 January 2025;
    • 6% from 1 January 2030;
    • 14.5% from 1 January 2035;
    • 31% from 1 January 2040;
    • 62% from 1 January 2045;
    • 80% from 1 January 2050.


    The FuelEU Maritime established a 2% renewable fuels usage target as of 2034 if the Commission reports that in 2031 renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO) account for less than 1% of fuel mix. The highly favorable  information for the companies is that from 1 January 2025 to 31 December 2033, for the calculation of the GHG intensity of the energy used on board, a multiplier of ‘2’ can be used to reward the ship for the use of RFNBO. It is worth to take it into consideration while choosing your fuels!

    The scope

    The regulation applies to ships over 5000 GT performing commercial voyages transporting goods or passengers, regardless of their flag. It covers:

    • The energy used in the EU/EEA ports,
    • 100% of energy from intra-EU/EEA voyages (but to 50% of energy from/to outermost regions) an
    • 50% of energy from voyages between EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA ports.

    The act foresees some time limited exceptions for outermost regions. Member States can also exempt voyages between its islands, with fewer than 200 000 permanent residents. These exemptions cannot apply beyond 31 December 2029.

    New requirements for Shipping Companies

    There are many new obligations that shipping companies need to perform in order to achieve the compliance with the regulation. Taking into account that first of them applies from 2024, it is absolutely high time to prepare your company (if not yet done) for them. Starting from the nearest one:

    • By August 2024 shipping companies must submit to the verifiers a FuelEU Monitoring Plan (monitoring plan for each of their ships indicating the chosen method for monitoring and reporting the amount, type and emission factor of energy used on board by ships and other relevant information)
    • 1 January 2025, FuelEU Maritime provisions become applicable
    • As of 1 January 2025, information of each ship which are included in the FuelEU Monitoring Plan its assessment by the verifier should be monitored and recorded
    • From 1 January 2025, 2% reduction of GHG intensity of the energy used on board
    • Once the obligations for shipping companies start apply, they will have to be conducted on a regular basis. Namely, every year:
    • By 31 January of the verification period, companies shall provide to the verifier a ship-specific report (the ‘FuelEU report’), the monitoring data and documentation for the reporting period.
    • By 30 April of the verification period, the company shall record the advance compliance surplus, following approval by its verifier, in the FuelEU database.
    • By 30 June of the verification period, ships shall hold a valid FuelEU document of compliance.


    Not only financial burdensome penalties (calculated according to the special formula) are imposed for  non-compliance with the regulation. In addition, in case of a failure to comply with the obligation of holding a valid FuelEU document of compliance for two or more consecutive reporting periods, the Member State of the port of call may issue an expulsion order. In such a case, other Member States should refuse the entry into port of that ship as well (with the exception of the Member State whose flag the ship is flying). Economically speaking, it is not worth for the company to not comply with FuelEU Maritime.

    Next steps for preparation purposes

    It may be the most important question, from the perspective of a shipping company – how to prepare for the new rules? We would suggest you a multi-steps attitude, consisting of:

    1. Evaluation of current emission levels
    2. Cost–benefit analysis preparation based on annual reports of the companies
    3. Strategic analysis of improvement the operational and technical part relating to the use of fuel in ships
    4. Preparation of plan for the long-term decarbonization of companies’ ships
    5.  Investments in new technologies
    6. Setting up robust internal systems to monitor, collect and manage data

    One thing is sure – the shipping industry is going on a cruise towards sustainable future. The sooner  it catches the green wind in its sails, the smoother this voyage will be.



    Era Xenofontos, Assistant, Indirect Tax | EY Cyprus

    Martyna Szlufik, Assistant, Law | EY Poland

  • Submission of Withholding Taxes & Contributions Return (TD7) for the year 2024 through the TAX FOR ALL (TFA) platform

    Based on an announcement issued by the Tax Department, as a result of the gradual transition to the new electronic Tax For All (TFA) platform, the Withholding Taxes and Contributions Return (TD7), for the year 2024 and onwards, will be submitted through the TFA platform and not through the TAXISnet system, as it has been the process to date.

    For the year 2024, only an annual Return (TD7) will be due for submission within the year 2025, while for the folllowing years monthly Returns will also be due for submission.

    Also, for the purpose of submitting the TD7 Return, all the employees are required to possess a valid Tax Identification Number which is issued by the Cypriot Tax Department.

    Note: The process of remitting the withheld Tax and Contributions for the year 2024 is still made through the Tax Portal, within the specified deadlines, in accordance with provisions of the Assessment and Collection of Taxes Law. 


    Read the alert in Greek

  • EU ETS Maritime: Implementation Complexities

    The European Union Emission Trading System (EU ETS) was established in 2005 as a cornerstone of the EU's policy to combat climate change and constitutes a central tool for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Essentially, the ETS was a 'cap and trade' system, where a limit or cap is set on the total amount of certain greenhouse gases that can be emitted by sectors covered by the system, however, with recent developments many sectors will no longer have a cap on emissions making them liable for all their emissions.

    In the challenging context of the Maritime arena, the EU ETS incorporates GHG emissions from passenger and cargo vessels over 5,000 Gross Tonnage (GT) from 2024 expanding the scope to also include offshore ships over 5,000 GT from 2027. The initiative follows the European Union’s commitment to achieving a 55% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 as part of the fit for 55 initiative. Key to incorporating these new regulations effectively in Cyprus has been the work of the Department of Environment, which is coordinating the national implementation, using local legislation to embed the requirements for maritime sector compliance. 

    However, a number of complexities arise in its implementation, such as determining the scope for the maritime sector which can be a challenging task. Defining which vessels and voyages fall under the scheme poses several questions. For example, a significant portion of global shipping operates under non-EU flags - how should one approach ships that sail under non-EU flags but operate in EU waters and vice versa? Naturally, the EU has addressed this issue by requiring any vessels falling within the scope and transiting through EU waters to account for their GHG emissions and apply the ETS for Maritime. However, vessels transitioning from international ports to EU ports are granted a 50% discount on their emissions. Does this provision imply that a vessel can reduce its emissions by 50% simply by sailing out of European waters, or will the vessels need to provide evidence of economic activity outside the EU? Moreover, could this allowance potentially open floodgates for malicious compliance?

    Further complexities lie in the Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) of emissions from ships. The MRV is inherently a challenging task due its mobile nature, especially when compared with static power plants or factories. Intensifying the issue, Statista estimates that there are around 58,000 merchant ships trading internationally[1], presenting significant logistic burdens for reporting frameworks.

    Additionally, technological limits also compound difficulties. Unlike other sectors, maritime transport has fewer options for large-scale, cost-effective alternative propulsion technologies for greener transportation. For example, unlike vehicles, it is unlikely for vessels to be able to run on electricity or other renewable sources of energy as current technology cannot support the long distances travelled by vessels. Therefore, although the shipping industry has seen strong developments in greener ways of transportation at the moment they cannot run on net-zero carbon emissions, hence, costs from the ETS will exist.

    Moreover, including shipping within the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) could create potential competitive disadvantages. The cost of inclusion into the ETS could significantly increase for maritime companies, potentially leading to those costs being passed onto consumers. It’s clear that the primary competitive disadvantage will be for Europeans who would have to shoulder these additional costs. In addition to absorbing the extra costs, many vessels may need to evaluate their willingness to travel to EU destinations considering the additional administrative procedures and associated expenditures. This additional financial burden could likely result in a phenomenon known as "carbon leakage". This is a situation where businesses and operations are transferred to regions with less stringent carbon emission regulations in an attempt to minimise costs. This shift could also lead to a decreased supply of vessels within the EU, causing additional inflated prices.

    Finally, subjecting the maritime sector to the EU ETS potentially unveils legal complexities since shipping is a global industry and any regional regulation could cause discordance with international maritime law and pose disagreements with non-EU countries, especially given that most agreements within the maritime industry are made outside the EU. This issue becomes even more pronounced for vessels owned by one party and operated by another. The EU ETS for Maritime, by default, mandates the vessel owner to record and account for their emissions allowances. However, when the owner is not the operator, this likely wouldn't be the case, necessitating further Mandate Agreements to be signed between the owners and operators.

    In conclusion, the implementation of the EU ETS in the maritime industry indeed presents a host of complexities. However, it can't be refuted that it serves as a potent tool to drive emissions reductions towards a greener economy. Only through careful planning and execution, can we hope to mitigate the threat of climate change, securing a sustainable future for generations to come.


    [1] Global merchant fleet - number of ships by type | Statista



    Anthony Charalambous, Assistant, Indirect Tax | EY Cyprus

  • Understanding the new EU ETS 2

    Understanding the new EU ETS 2

    New emissions trading system named EU ETS 2 was created to cover emissions upstream which extents emissions trading to the buildings sector, road transport and the usage of fuels in other sectors not covered by the existing EU ETS.

    The carbon price set by the EU ETS 2 will provide a market incentive for investments in building renovations and low-emissions mobility building a new era of sustainability.

    Nevertheless, EU ETS 2 will not apply to agricultural oil and in general to fuels used in the primary sector (agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishing).

    In a nutshell, EU ETS 2 will complement Member States’ efforts to reduce emissions in line with national targets under the “Effort Sharing Regulation” (Regulation (EU) 2018/842). It will be separated from the existing EU ETS for emissions from electricity and heat generation, industrial production, maritime transport and commercial aviation in the bloc.


    A smooth start

    As a first step, the monitoring and reporting of emissions will begin in 2025 and will become operational in 2027. EU ETS 2 has been designed to start in an orderly, smooth and efficient manner while high energy prices later this decade may even postpone the start until 2028.

    It was agreed to frontload the supply of allowances by auctioning an additional 30% in the first year of operation. A separate emission trading system will be introduced for emissions currently not priced across the entire EU.

    During the first three years the EU ETS 2 is operational, if the price of CO 2 allowances exceeds 45 EUR/ton (in 2020 prices, i.e. adjusted for inflation) over a specific period of time, additional allowances may be released from the EU ETS 2 market stability reserve to address excessive price increases which will be allocated exclusively via auctioning. Essentially, the current discussion around the EU ETS 2 suggests that it will resemble more of a carbon tax, with a capped price level of 45 EUR/ton at least until 2030.

    However, a price as low as 45 EUR/ton falls considerably of the actual costs of CO2 avoidance, which typically ranging between 100-300 EUR/ton, particularly within the building and road transport sectors. It's evident that the price signal within the EU ETS II will not be sufficiently high to solely encourage the low-carbon technologies.


    Auction income for climate

    Allowances under EU ETS 2 must be auctioned separately from EUAs issued under EU ETS 1, but the applicable auction conditions will be the same for both. Revenues from the EU ETS 2 will be directed into a newly established Social Climate Fund alongside with the existing Innovation Fund, which supports industrial decarbonisation. The Innovation fund, will be stocked up from 450 million EUR to 575 million EUR emission allowances (EUAs). At an average price of 90 EUR/ton this represents a value of more than 50 billion EUR to be allocated towards decarbonisation projects. In addition, earnings of EU Member States from auctioning must now be entirely used for climate measures.

    A significant concern raised by the European Parliament was the implementation of the EU ETS 2 could impact the economy of the weaker states and citizens. To address this, the current agreement allocates 50% of the revenue generated from the EU ETS 2 shall be allocated to the newly introduced Social Climate Fund. This Fund aims to assist vulnerable households and small businesses in managing It should support vulnerable households and small businesses to cope with the price increase of fuels. It is scheduled to commence operations in 2026, one year before the actual pricing scheme begins, and designed to operate until 2032. It is expected to have a budget of approximately 65 billion EUR, which will be directed towards social climate initiatives such as renovating social housing and providing income support.

    Moreover, the remaining 50% of the revenue is allocated to the EU national states, which are required to allocate the funds towards social climate initiatives within the building and transportation sectors. This allocation is expected to total approximately 87 billion EUR, aimed at mitigating social challenges arising from the implementation of more comprehensive carbon pricing measures. For instance, Germany is prepared to allocate up to 200 billion EUR for consumer price reductions if deemed necessary.

    Conclusively, Cyprus will have significant revenues from EU ETS 2, both due to the auctioning of emissions and from its participation in the Social Climate Fund. It should also be emphasized that until the implementation of EU ETS 2, taxes on liquid fuels will remain at current levels.



    Victoria Themistou, Senior, Indirect Tax | EY Cyprus


  • Cyprus tax authorities issue revised thresholds for transfer pricing documentation

    • The Cyprus Tax Department has increased the thresholds applicable to taxpayers' transfer pricing documentation obligations.
    • The higher thresholds are effective for tax year 2022.

    Executive summary
    On 1 February 2024, the Tax Department issued revised thresholds relating to taxpayers’ obligation to prepare a Cyprus Local File for transactions falling within the ambit of Section 33 of the Income Tax Law (ITL) (i.e., intercompany transactions). The revised thresholds are applicable for the tax year 2022.

    Detailed discussion

    In accordance with the provisions of the ITL, the Cyprus Local File obligation arises for connected persons that are tax residents in Cyprus, or permanent establishments in Cyprus of non-tax-resident persons (Liable Taxpayers) if their transactions with connected persons either exceed (or should have exceeded based on the arm’s-length principle) €750k in aggregate per category of transaction per tax year.

    As a result of the discussions that took place with interested parties, including the Ministry of Finance, it was agreed to increase the above-mentioned thresholds as follows:

    • From €750k to €5m for connected transactions falling under the category “Financing".
    • From €750k to €1m for all other categories of connected transactions (i.e., “Goods,” “Services,” “Royalties and Other Intangibles” and “Other”).

    The increase of the threshold is effective for the tax year 2022 and the relevant amendment of the ITL is expected to be completed at a later date.

    It should be noted that the provisions of Circular 6/2023 regarding the application of simplification measures for taxpayers that are exempt from the requirement to prepare Cyprus Local File continue to apply. (For background, see EY Global Tax Alert, Cyprus tax authorities issue transfer pricing simplification measures, dated 12 July 2023.)


    For additional information, please contact:

    Charalambos Palaontas

    Partner | Transfer Pricing Services

    Phone: +357 25 209 709

  • Extension of the deadline for the submission of the 2022 Income Tax Return for taxpayers with a Summary Information Table reporting obligation

    On the 23rd of February 2024, it was announced that the Council of Ministers of Cyprus exercising its authority issued a decree providing for the extension of the deadline for the submission of the 2022 Income Tax Returns (Form TD 4) until the 30th of November 2024.

    The extension is available only for persons that have an obligation to submit a Summary Information Table in accordance with the provisions of Article 33(10) of the Income Tax Law.

    For any persons that do not have an obligation to submit a Summary Information Table, the deadline for the submission of the 2022 Income Tax Returns (Form TD 4) remains the 31st of March 2024.

    For additional information, please contact our team:


    Philippos Raptopoulos

    Partner | Head of Tax and Legal Services

    Phone: +357 25 209 740  


    Charalambos Palaontas

    Partner | Transfer Pricing Services

    Phone: +357 25 209 709


    Anna Papamichael

    Partner | Direct Tax Services

    Phone: +357 25 209 747


    Petros Liassides

    Partner | Direct Tax Services

    Phone: +357 22 209 797


    Myria Saparilla

    Partner | Direct Tax Services

    Phone: +357 25 209 737


    Eleni Sofocleous

    Partner | Direct Tax Services

    Phone: +357 25 209 827


  • Pillar Two readiness and technology

    As per our previous publications and alerts, we had the opportunity to communicate a significant development - the introduction of BEPS 2.0 Pillar Two or Global Minimum Tax. The European Union unanimously adopted a directive in December 2022 (the ''Minimum Tax Directive'').

    Currently, the tax community is focusing on Pillar Two and it is on top of the agenda and minds of tax directors, advisors and tax authorities as they discuss and elaborate on the technicalities.

    Even though Cyprus has not yet transposed the rules into the domestic legislation, it is expected to enact the new legislation in the next couple of weeks with a retroactive effect as of 31 December 2023.

    The elements of Pillar Two rules
    The Minimum Tax Directive provides a common framework for Member States to implement the Global Anti-Base Erosion (GloBE) Model Rules into their national laws, as agreed by the OECD/G20 as part of BEPS 2.0 project ''Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digitalisation of the Economy''.

    In principle, the Pillar Two rules provide a coordinated system of interlocking rules which are designed to ensure that large multinational and domestic groups pay at least 15% effective minimum tax in every jurisdiction in which they operate.

    Such interlocking rules include:

    1. the Income Inclusion Rule (IIR),
    2. a Qualified Domestic Minimum top up tax (QDMTT) as well as
    3. the Undertaxed Profits Rule (UTPR)

    Since December 2022, the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework (IF) on BEPS has released a series of documents in the form of administrative guidance that focus on clarifying the Pillar Two rules. What is relevant to note is that in November 2023, the EU Council issued a statement effectively adopting the administrative guidance issued by the Inclusive Framework in December 2022, February 2023, and July 2023, including the Safe Harbours, confirming that such guidance is compatible with the Minimum Tax Directive. The Council also reiterated the need for Member States to remain consistent with the afore-mentioned guidance when transposing the Minimum Tax Directive.

    Challenges faced by MNE groups and large-scale domestic groups
    Quoting from the preamble of the Directive, ''For an efficient application of the system, it is crucial that procedures are coordinated at a group level. It will be necessary to operate a system ensuring the unobstructed flow of information within the MNE group and towards tax administrations where constituent entities are located.''

    The effectiveness and fairness of the global minimum tax reform heavily relies on its worldwide implementation and the compliance of multinationals with their relevant obligations. However, outside of the EU, Pillar Two is not mandatory but rather takes the form of an optional common approach. It is interesting to note that besides the adoption of Pillar Two in the EU, there is little to no activity in Africa and Americas. For example, the US is yet to introduce Pillar Two. In addition, in Asia-Pacific, there is a first implementation wave of jurisdictions adopting Pillar Two rules but with different policy decisions (e.g., some countries, such as Japan, are only adopting IIR). Moreover, there are certain countries that decided to postpone the implementation to 2025. Finally, Switzerland has decided to adopt only QDMTT for the time being. Inevitably, the inconsistent adoption of the rules increases complexity and makes tax compliance harder.

    Apart from the tax challenges faced by multinational enterprises (MNEs) and large-scale domestic groups in light of the staggered implementation and the need to monitor the Pillar Two developments in relevant jurisdictions (as mentioned in the previous paragraph), in-scope groups are also required to deal with the administrative aspects associated with the application of the rules and their design.

    Pillar Two involves a sequence of reporting procedures such as:

    • Multi-year forecasting to support financial planning and analysis (FP&A) and budgeting (i.e., forecasted cash tax and effective tax rate (ETR) impacts of the new minimum taxes)
    • Estimated annual ETR
    • Minimum tax estimated payments to the various jurisdictions
    • Year-end tax provisions
    • Country-by-country reporting
    • Minimum tax information reporting and tax compliance filings

    Technology is a key enabler for Pillar Two readiness
    Technology is a key enabler that can empower MNEs and large-scale domestic groups to address the data challenges posed by BEPS 2.0 Pillar Two.

    No doubt that in-scope groups are required to navigate through the complexities of Pillar Two heavy compliance and reporting demands. Impacted multinationals are making a coordinated enterprise-wide effort to holistically address the Pillar Two compliance requirements by increasing the capacity of their tax function and by redesigning their IT systems in such a way that enables them to respond to the data challenges posed by Pillar Two through automated processes.

    The new approach of data gathering and processing is a matter of business strategy concerning C-suite leadership as the digitization and automation play crucial role as compliance with Pillar Two through manual massive-in-size data gathering, consolidation and reconciliation would be extremely complex and could include data gaps which could give rise to penalties and tax leakages.

    Even though structured data can be extracted from established accounting or enterprise resource planning systems, such information is sourced from different datasets such as business unit forecasts, legal entity forecasts, and actual full-year financial results. Challenges arise in evaluating the availability, quality, completeness and accuracy of such data and in organizing such in a headquarters-driven project through solutions which consolidate the data into an overall system that is appropriately designed to respond to the rules of Pillar Two. The solutions should enable the users in interpreting the information and exposures, take informed decisions in tackling those and ultimately enable the tax provisioning and administration.

    In-scope groups are recognizing the need to evaluate the data analytic requirements of Pillar Two and consider leveraging their existing systems or design new data collection and processing systems which can respond adequately to the new reality. The deployment and testing of solutions and their implementation can either be undertaken in-house or be outsourced to service providers, so that the solution can effectively and efficiently extract data and align such with the relevant computations and develop relevant analytics.
    What’s more to data processing and tax provisions is that a crucial opportunity is presented to MNEs and large-scale domestic groups to showcase the value of data collected to influence strategic decisions and shape their corporate strategy using, for example, valued data for other strategic decisions related to environmental, social and governance or sustainability reporting (ESG).

    EY Globe Engine (Saas)

    EY has a long and strong experience with software as a service (‘SaaS’) solutions for our clients. Examples of such solutions include:

    • FIRST, our AEOI (Automatic Exchange of Information) reporting solution
    • MDR (Mandatory Disclosure Rules) Web
    • GVRT (Global VAT Reporting Tool)

    EY, having performed several Pillar Two impact assessments assisting our clients with understanding the impact of Pillar Two as well as their readiness to comply with the new regime, has further developed the EY GloBE Engine for Pillar Two compliance. The EY GloBE Engine is web-based solution that enables companies to perform the calculations necessary (including transitional safe harbor analysis), to support provisions in their accounts and generate their GloBE information returns.

    The GloBE solution is scalable and customisable to be adapted to our clients’ operating model needs. The output of our solution can be fed into existing processes and software solutions while Application Programming Interface (API) capabilities can be offered as a customisation item. The GloBE Engine solution provides comprehensive support from data collection, reporting and tax filing, to tax provisions and compliance support.



    Eleni Papachristodoulou

    Director, International Tax and Transaction Services


    Elena Christodoulou

    Assistant Manager, International Tax and Transaction Services 

  • Transfer Pricing: New rules and documentation requirements OECD TP Guidelines

    On 30 June 2022, the House of Representatives of Cyprus voted on and approved amendments in the tax laws, introducing transfer pricing (‘TP’) rules and documentation requirements in accordance with recommendations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations (‘OECD TP Guidelines’).

    Furthermore, on 1 February 2024, the Tax Department issued revised thresholds relating to taxpayers' obligation to prepare a Cyprus Local File for transactions falling within the ambit of Section 33 of the Income Tax Law (ITL) (i.e., intercompany transactions). The revised thresholds are applicable for the tax year 2022. Affected businesses should seek immediate guidance to ensure compliance and implementation of potential benefits.


    Download our brochure