Mauritius – Economic Substance considerations

As a result of the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (“BEPS”) project, combined with pressure from the EU Mauritius has adopted, in a very short timeframe, economic substance requirements for entities registered and licenced there which avail from DTAs. This requires taxpayers to have an adequate number of employees (direct or indirect) with necessary qualifications and to incur an adequate amount of operating expenditures to undertake the core income-generating activities associated with the income that may benefit from the regime.

Bearing in mind the recent harmonisation of the tax rates in Mauritius to 15%, with an 80% partial exemption available in certain circumstances (please contact us for further information on the partial exemption and tax holiday scheme) and new substance criteria, a Mauritius GB company (ex GBC 1) is only tax resident in Mauritius if managed and controlled from Mauritius in addition to employing directly or indirectly people (to an extent based on the activity), spending a minimum amount there proportionate to its activities and carrying on its core income generating activities in or from Mauritius.

The law reads that the authorities will consider the following for the management and control test:
(i) has at least 2 directors, resident in Mauritius, of sufficient calibre to exercise independence of mind and judgement; 
(ii) maintains, at all times, its principal bank account in Mauritius; 
(iii) keeps and maintains, at all times, its accounting records at its registered office in Mauritius; 
(iv) prepares its statutory financial statements and causes such financial statements to be audited in Mauritius; and 
(v) provides for meetings of directors to include at least 2 directors from Mauritius

Rosemont can arrange for the provision of staff with necessary qualifications to undertake the core income-generating activities associated with the income that may benefit from the Mauritius tax regime.

A Mauritius “Authorised company” is meant to be managed and controlled from outside of Mauritius. Rosemont can assist in making arrangements for this in a suitable jurisdiction.

In Mauritius it is possible to consider both the re-domiciliation of foreign entities to Mauritius as well as the change of tax residence of a foreign entity to Mauritius.

Re-domiciliation is the easiest solution for a client, but may not be so in terms of costs.

Moving the tax residency from one jurisdiction to another is also an option, but needs to take into account the changes being implemented as a result of the OECD BEPs project. Consideration will need to be given to any relevant Double-Taxation Agreements.

For more background information on the global move towards requirements for businesses to have Economic Substance where they are based please read our new article here.