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History of Customs & Excise

The collection of duties and taxes in Cyprus goes back to very ancient years. Throughout these years “Customs” and other tax collecting systems were functioning under one or other form.

Customs in its present form dates back to 1878, when the Ottoman Empire leased the island to Great Britain after the Berlin Treaty. Once more a new customs regime was imposed on the island. The British Customs regime was more modern, effective, fair and reasonable than the previous ones.

In 1960 Cyprus became an independent state and Customs continued to function as before under the new state. The Customs personnel consisted of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

In 1967 the Department was re-organised under the guidance of a group of British Customs experts and a new, modern, for that time, legislation was introduced. The Departmental Instructions, drafted on the basis of the new legislation, were a valuable guidance for Customs personnel for performing their duties.

On 19th December 1972 the Association Agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and the European Economic Community (EEC) was signed, which provided for the establishment of a customs union in two stages. The first stage was concluded in 1987 and all its objectives had been met. The protocol, which governed the transition to the second stage of the Agreement, i.e. the completion of the customs union in two phases, entered into force on 1st January 1988 but was never concluded, since it was surpassed by the application of accession of Cyprus to the European Union submitted on 4 July 1990.

The Commission in its opinion on the application issued on 30th June 1993, and endorsed by the Council on 17th October of the same year, considered Cyprus as eligible for membership. Since then, several decisions by European Union bodies led to the commencement of the negotiations between Cyprus and the European Union.

On 1st May 2004 Cyprus and 9 other countries joined the European Union.

Since then, the Department actively participates in various meetings of the Council and the European Commission as well as in the relevant working groups, with the aim of providing timely information, discussion, solving problems, preparing Community legislation and relevant implementing provisions. In addition, the Department participates in various joint customs operations in cooperation with other customs authorities, European and international organisations (e.g. the World Customs Organisation, Europol, the European anti-fraud Office-OLAF), with the aim of countering smuggling of taxable goods, drug trafficking and compliance with customs legislation.

During the second half of 2012, taking over the Presidency of the EU Council, the Department acts as Chair of the EU Council in Brussels and internationally, organizes and participates in conferences in Cyprus hosting representatives from of the Member States as well as other EU institutions. For more information on the Cypriot Presidency and the priorities set by Cyprus, please visit the thematic section "Cyprus-EU ' or click here.




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