Mauritius 2018-2019 Budget Brief




FINANCIAL SERVICES

The Budget 2018-2019 provides a number of measures that aim at creating new poles of economic growth and making Mauritius a High Income country. Further, in the wake of the Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS Action Plan), the Budget has brought tax reforms that will comply with the proposals made by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

With the pressure of the OECD to eliminate harmful tax practices, it was expected that the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development would significantly reform our tax system.

 

Measures affecting the Global Business Sector

To ensure compliance with best practices and international standards, the following measures were announced:

  • The introduction of a new harmonised fiscal regime for domestic and Global Business entities;
  • No GBC2 licences will be issued by the Financial Services Commission after 1st January 2019 and applicable Income Tax Act provisions will be reviewed accordingly;
  • Companies with a GBC2 licence issued prior to 16th October 2017 will be regulated under the current regime until 30th June 2021;
  • Enhanced substance requirements for Global Business Companies;
  • Development of an equivalence framework with other key jurisdictions; and
  • Implementation of a new framework for the improved oversight of Management Companies

It is further noted that the Financial Services Act will be amended to:

  • rename the Category 1 Global Business Licence as Global Business Licence;
  • remove all restrictions applicable to dealings in Mauritius; and
  • a Global Business Licence must be sought with the Financial Services Commission through a Management Company by all resident companies and partnerships incorporated/registered:
    •  whose majority shareholdings are held by non-resident; and
    •  which conducts business mostly outside of Mauritius.


Global Business - Taxation

Currently, a GBC1 company is subject to income tax in Mauritius on its net income at 15%. It is, however, entitled to a tax credit equivalent to the higher of the foreign tax suffered or 80% of the Mauritius tax payable on its foreign sourced income giving an effective tax rate of 3%. The aforesaid tax credit will be abolished as from 31st December 2018.

A “Partial Exemption Regime” will now be introduced whereby 80% of the following specified income will be exempted from income tax:

  1. foreign source dividends and profits attributable to a foreign permanent establishment;
  2. interest and royalties; and
  3. income from provision of specified financial services.

The above exemption will be granted to all companies in Mauritius, except banks, subject to the satisfaction of pre-defined substantial activities requirements of the Financial Services Commission.

The existing credit system for relief of double taxation will continue to apply where partial exemption is not available.


Directors Fees

Director fees are no longer subject to Tax Deductible at Source




FISCAL MEASURES

These new thresholds will be effective as from income year starting on 1st July 2018, i.e. on income received by an individual as from 1st July 2018.


Income Exemption Thresholds
 

Category From To
A. Individual with no dependent Rs 300,000 Rs 305,000
B. Individual with one dependent Rs 410,000 Rs 415,000
C. Individual with two dependents Rs 475,000 Rs 480,000
D. Individual with three dependents Rs 520,000 Rs 525,000
E. Individual with four or more dependents Rs 550,000 Rs 555,000
F. Retired/disabled person with no dependent Rs 350,000 Rs 355,000
G. Retired/disabled person with dependents Rs 460,000 Rs 465,000

 

Introduction of a Tax Band of 10%

An individual having annual net income of up to Rs 650,000, will be taxed at the rate of 10% instead of 15%.


Other Exemptions and Reliefs
 

  • Additional Deduction for Tertiary Education
    The additional deduction in respect of a dependent child who is pursuing tertiary studies will be raised as follows:
    if abroad, from Rs 135,000 to Rs 200,000; and
    if in Mauritius, from Rs 135,000 to tuition fees paid in a year in excess of Rs 135,000 up to Rs 175,000.
  • Income Exemption Threshold for a Retired Person
    A retired person who in an income year derives emoluments not exceeding Rs 50,000 will be eligible to the enhanced income exemption thresholds granted to retirees.
  • Interest Relief
    The profit charge payable under an Islamic Financing Arrangement for the construction of a house will qualify for interest relief if the arrangement is secured on immovable property.
  • Exempt Income
    The exemption threshold on the lump sum received as severance allowance, pension or retiring allowance will be raised from Rs 2 million to Rs 2.5 million.


The Insurance Industry Compensation Fund will be exempted from income tax.


3% Reduced Rate of Corporate Tax

The corporate tax rate of 3% applied on profits derived by any company from export of goods will be extended to global trading activities effected by companies.


Tax Deductible at Source
 

  • TDS of 3% extended to payment of commission
  • TDS on rent payable to a non-resident doubled to 10%
  • Director fees are no longer subject to TDS

Banks
 

  • Abolition of deemed foreign tax credit available to banks as from 1 July 2019
  • Introduction of new regime with no distinction between Segment A and Segment B income. Banks will be taxed as follows:
Chargeable Income Tax Rate
Up to MUR1.5Bn 5%
Over MUR1.5Bn 15%

 

  • Banks with chargeable income in excess of Rs1.5bn will be taxed at 5% if pre-defined conditions are satisfied.
  • Special levy on banks is maintained up to June 2019

Investment Tax Credit
 

  • Companies importing goods in semi knocked down form to benefit from an investment tax credit of 5% over 3 years (up to 30 June 2020) on acquisition of new plant and machinery excluding motor cars, subject to a local value add of at least 20%
  • Tax credit will be available on investments up to 30 June 2020

Freeport Regime
 

  • Corporate tax exemption granted to Freeport operators and Freeport developers on export of goods will be removed


 

NEW SCHEMES FOR FOREIGNERS

Mauritian Citizenship and Mauritian Passport


The Economic Development Board (EDB) will manage two new schemes, which will allow foreigners to apply for Mauritian Citizenship and/or a Mauritian Passport subject to satisfying due diligence requirements and defined criteria.


The criteria are:

  • Mauritian Citizenship – a non-refundable contribution of USD 1 million to the Mauritius Sovereign Fund. Spouses and dependents can also acquire Mauritian Citizenship for an additional contribution of USD 100,000 per family member; and
  • Mauritian Passport – a contribution of USD 500,000 to the Mauritius Sovereign Fund. Spouses and dependents can also obtain a Mauritian Passport for an additional contribution of USD 50,000 per passport.


Occupation Permit for Foreign Professionals in Emerging Sectors

The EDB, through a Foreign Manpower Scheme, is facilitating the recruitment of foreign workers in emerging sectors such as Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology, Smart Agriculture, Ocean Economy and others.

The EDB will process the application for an occupation permit within 5 days and the employer will have to contribute the equivalent of one-month salary per foreign worker recruited.


Foreign Retirees

Foreign retirees will benefit from new fiscal and non-fiscal facilities from the Government. They will no longer be required to pay customs duties on the import of their personal effects up to a value of Rs 2 million (approx.. USD 60,000). 


 

LEGISLATIVE CHANGES


Captive Insurance Act

The Captive Insurance Act will be amended to be in conformity with the substance requirements of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Standards.


Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act

The Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act will be amended to allow for necessary sanctions to be imposed where a financial institution fails to comply with guidelines of the Bank of Mauritius (BoM) for the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism.


Financial Services Act

The Financial Services Act will be amended to:

  • allow the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to:
    • give directions to any person as may be required, for the purposes of its functions, to ensure compliance with licensing conditions;
    • take actions against a licensee which fails to comply with section 52 or section 52A of the Bank of Mauritius Act; and
    • appoint an administrator in relation to the business activities of a person whose authorisation has been withdrawn;
  • ensure that licensees maintain the requirements needed for the grant of a licence at all times;
  • extend the scope of the offence with respect to licensees who provide false and misleading information;
  • extend the scope of the offence with respect to a person who destroys, falsifies, conceals or disposes of, or causes or permits the destruction, falsification, concealment or disposal of any document, information stored on a computer or other device where such information is relevant to the Commission;
  • clarify that the Review Panel needs to receive the application for review within 21 days of the issue of the written notification;
  • allow for any determination of the Review Panel to be published except that any information which the Review Panel considers to be sensitive shall be omitted;
  • allow the FSC to regulate Custodian Services (Digital Asset) and Digital Asset Marketplace;
  • allow the FSC to regulate Compliance Services and Global Shared Services;
  • cease the issuance of Category 2 Global Business Licence as from 1st January 2019;
  • rename the Category 1 Global Business Licence as Global Business Licence;
  • remove all restrictions applicable to dealings in Mauritius;
  • provide that all resident companies and partnerships incorporated/registered under the laws of Mauritius whose majority shareholdings/parts are held by non-resident and which conduct business mostly outside Mauritius will be required to seek a Global Business Licence or an authorisation from the FSC, through a duly appointed Management Company. The latter will be responsible for Anti-Money Laundering/ Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), Legal, Regulatory & Corporate Governance compliance of these companies/partnerships; and
  • provide for enhanced substance requirements for entities holding a Global Business Licence.

Consequential amendments will be made to sections in other legislations relating to companies holding a Category 1 or 2 Global Business Licence, namely, the Companies Act, Foundations Act, Insurance Act, Limited Liability Partnership Act, Limited Partnerships Act, Private Pension Schemes Act, Non-Citizens (Property Restriction) Act, Protected Cell Companies Act, Securities Act, and Trusts Act.


Securities Act

The Securities Act will be amended to allow the Financial Services Commission to make Rules to cater for any new market participants for Derivatives and Commodities Market.


Companies Act

The Companies Act will be amended to:

  1. make provision for an offence being committed by a director for breach of duty where the director fails to disclose that he has an interest in a transaction or a proposed transaction with the company. On conviction, the Director will be liable to a ne of up to Rs 100,000;
  2. make provision for the Annual Report of a company to also mention any major transaction which took place during the accounting period to which it refers;
  3. provide that where the Registrar restores a company on his own motion, the requirement to give public notice in 2 daily newspapers will no longer apply to avoid unnecessary costs in relation to publication;
  4. eliminate the requirement for a certificate of current standing to contain a statement regarding payment of licence fees as same are no longer applicable;
  5. allow for disclosure and availability of Beneficial Ownership Information following enquiries related to Anti-Money Laundering/Combating The Financing of Terrorism;
  6. allow for the time for keeping the share register to be extended to 7 years following the removal of the company from the register;
  7. allow for enhanced protection to minority shareholders;
  8. allow for more transparency to shareholders; and
  9. allow for recovery of outstanding fees during liquidation process.

Insolvency Act

The Insolvency Act will be amended to:

  • allow for specific provision for the continuation of supply of essential goods to an insolvent company throughout the insolvency process;
  • allow for the ling of the declaration of solvency with the Director of Insolvency Service to be effected on the same date as the resolution for winding up of the company;
  • allow for the period for which a liquidator can keep records of a company from the date of dissolution of the company to be extended from 3 to 5 years;
  • allow for the FSC to make a petition to wind up a company which is a past licensee of the FSC to cater for situations where the licences have been terminated and the company is no longer a licensee; and
  • review the order of payment to Mauritius Revenue Authority in the context of a receivership or a winding up.

Limited Liability Partnership Act

The Limited Liability Partnership Act will be amended to provide for the:

  • disclosure and availability of Beneficial Ownership Information following enquiries related to Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism; and
  • no-objection of the Mauritius Revenue Authority and the Financial Services Commission for the removal of the Limited Liability Partnership from the register.

Limited Partnerships Act

The Limited Partnerships Act will be amended to:

  • provide for the disclosure and availability of Beneficial Ownership Information following enquiries related to Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism;
  • fails to file financial statements or a summary thereof or an annual return within 30 days from the date of the notice; and
  • allow the Registrar of Companies to remove the name of the limited partnership from the Register where a limited partnership –
    (i) has ceased to carry on business; and
    (ii) has failed to pay any fee due under the Act within 30 days from date of the notice.

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