To begin with let’s tackle the tax regime in North Cyprus. As Northern Cyprus is outside the EU and not signed up to the terms and conditions of the EU Savings Tax Directive, it is possible and legal, (depending on your own personal circumstances), to offshore all your money legitimately and only pay absolutely minimal tax on the money you remit to North Cyprus.
There are financial advisers who specialise in international and offshore finance who can help you arrange your affairs legally and tax effectively so that you can ensure you save maximum tax when living in North Cyprus. Contact us to be put in touch with such an adviser.
North Cyprus also has it’s own Bank Money Laundering Commission and is looking to implement a Proceeds of Crime Act much like the law already in place in the UK, as the country is aiming to be accepted by the European and World markets in the near future.
If you’re living in North Cyprus and would like to open a local bank account don’t necessarily head straight for HSBC! Most British expatriates do though as they are drawn to the familiar name…but HSBC in Northern Cyprus is some sort of satellite office or franchise! It is affiliated to the HSBC we all know and love, but it ain’t quite the same and it suffers the worst queues in the summer of all the other banks put together. Garanti Bank , Turk Bankasi, Is Bank and Creditwest as well as several others all offer a fair degree of security (in terms of having been established and around a while), they offer accounts in sterling, dollar and lira and they are all used to dealing with English speaking clients.
You can open up all sorts of accounts, ranging from everyday banking to timed deposit accounts in different currencies, and a lot of people swap their monies into differing currency accounts depending on the exchange rates, although you really have to be on the ball to be able to effectively get the best from your money this way. To open a bank account in North Cyprus most banks usually just require an address for the property you own or a registered address, as well as seeing your passport.
Internet banking is the norm with most banks, and you have the option of changing from native Turkish to English on their websites. Garanti Bank for example register you for internet banking upon your request, and you will receive a password and login via their telephone banking number. It’s all very similar to the UK so you should not experience any problems in getting used to using their internet services.
You can also have money sent to your North Cyprus account from the UK or any other country, but you will need to obtain the bank’s IBAN and/or Swift Transfer codes. Money transfers can take up to a week this way, but some banks here, such as TurkBank accept UK cheques, but it can take up to a month to arrive into your account. However, most banks give you the option to withdraw funds at their ATM’s on your credit card or Switch/Debit cards in sterling, although TurkBank seems to be one of the only ones dealing solely with YTL withdrawals!
Various direct debits can be set up on your local account to ensure that your utility bills are paid automatically, removing the need to stand in long queues to pay your monthly bills. Television provider Digiturk and some other selected retailers such as Extend who provide internet services, now give you the option to pay via direct debit or paying to specifically nominated banks, and no doubt more will move toward this way of bill paying in the future.
Some websites to check out for more information: