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Mauritius

 
   

Executive Summary
The Republic of Mauritius is an island nation located in the South-Western part of the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the continent of Africa, approximately 900 km to the East from Madagascar. The Republic of Mauritius consists of the following islands: Mauritius, St. Brandon, Rodrigues, Agalega Islands that all together cover an area of 2,040 sq km. It is a part of Mascarene Islands. Mauritius became independent from the UK in 1968 and it became a republic in 1992. Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius. English is the official language of the country.

Since its independence, Mauritius has been experiencing a significant development from low-income economy, based solely on agricultural activities, to middle income economy with a well developed financial, industrial and tourism market segments. It is now classified as a developed country. In addition, the infrastructure has been significantly improved and the infant mortality has been lowered.

Sugar cane is the main cultivated product, which is used for export. Periodic droughts can cause significant damage to the sugar corp. France is the main international trading partner, and it actively provides different types of assistance to Mauritius. Economic reforms have been being implemented in the recent years, in order to make the business environment even more favourable and more attractive to foreign investors. Wireless Internet connection is available on the major part of the territory of Mauritius.

The Mauritian rupee (MUR) is the national currency.

Geography
Islands of Mauritius were formed by a volcanic eruption, but they are not volcanically active any longer. The landscape of hilly territories is changed by beautiful beaches, which attract a big number of tourists every year.

Mauritius has a tropical climate, winters are warm and dry, while summers are hot and humid.

Mauritius is known for having been the only country-home of the dodo – a flightless bird, related to pigeons and doves. It reached approximately one meter of height and 20 kg of weight. In the 17th century this bird became extinct, and is often studied as an archetype of extinct species, as its extinction has been recorded in a relatively recent history, and it is evaluated to have been caused by human activities.

Map, Flag and Coat of Arm


Types of Company

Sole Proprietorship

This type of structure is widely used in the jurisdiction and is regulated by the Code of Commerce. The name of the sole trader is registered in the Registrar of Companies, and a company owner has unlimited liability for its activities and debts. Annual tax return must be submitted with the tax authorities.

Private Company Limited by Shares
Shares of this type of company cannot be transferred to the general public. At least one and a maximum of 35 members can be registered in this type of company. Such companies can be exempted and non-exempted from paying taxes. Exempted companies must issue and reserve share capital below MUR 1M, and their turnover must be below MUR 2M.

Private Company Limited by Guarantee
This type of company may be solely used for non-profit organization purposes. Liability of every company member is limited to their contributions. A minimum of MUR 5M is an obligatory requirement.

Private Company Limited by Shares and Guarantee
This type of company can no longer be incorporated.

Public Company Limited by Shares
The name of a public company ends with “Public Limited Company” or “PLC”, and its shares can be offered to a general public. At least two members is an obligatory requirement for a public company.

Foreign Company
A foreign company may be registered in Mauritius by submitting all the requested documents to the Registrar of Companies, after what it is treated as a local company. Direct foreign ownership of a company is not automatic, but must be approved by local authorities.

Global Business Company Category 1 (GBC1) (Offshore Company)
This type of company replaced the old Offshore Company in 2001. This type of company is defined as an organization which manages an activity from Mauritius by persons who are resident outside Mauritius. The business must be conducted outside the jurisdiction in a currency different from MUR. This type of company must pay a relatively high annual registration fee and it must file its annual accounts. This type of company is also suitable for financial operations such as fund management.

Global Business Company Category 2 (GBC2) (International Company)
This type of company replaced an old International Company in 2001. It is often used for holding assets. Citizens of Mauritius cannot own shares in this company. Shares cannot be offered to general public, such a company cannot conduct banking or insurance business and cannot own or manage a collective investment fund. Annual accounts need not be filed.

Limited Life Company
This form of company may be obtained only by GBC1 and GBC2 structures. It means that a company may be dissolved when particular events happen. A company may obtain the status of a limited life company at the moment of its incorporation or at a later stage.

General Partnership
Partners of this structure may be either private persons or corporate bodies, fully liable for a general partnership’s obligations.

Limited Partnership
At least one general partner and at least one limited partner, individual or corporate entity, who is liable to such a partnership’s obligations up to the capital invested, may form a limited partnership. A limited partnership may obtain an offshore status.

Trust
Trust law in Mauritius is based on English trust law. In order to be considered as an offshore trust, a settlor may not be a resident in Mauritius, at least one trustee must be Mauritius resident, and trust property must be situated outside the physical boarders of Mauritius. There are no disclosure procedures, nor annual reporting requirements for trusts.

Taxation
A tax year in Mauritius starts on 1st July and ends on 30th June.

Personal

A person who is resident in Mauritius is taxed in this jurisdiction. A resident is an individual who is present in Mauritius at least for 183 days in a tax year. A person domiciled in Mauritius is considered to be resident there even if he does not spend a minimum of required days within the country. A resident is liable for income tax on his world-wide income, but income that is derived from activities conducted outside Mauritius, is not taxed if it is received outside Mauritius. Employees of GBC1 and GBC2 types of companies as well as other forms of offshore business structures are liable to pay income tax at a half of its standard rate.

Income tax is paid on income derived from employment, pensions, interests, dividends and rents. There are some exemptions and deductions that can be obtained for the income tax purposes. A standard income tax rate is applied on a progressive basis, starting from 10% and reaching a maximum of 30%.

There are no social security contributions in Mauritius, but employers and employees must pay pension contributions. Stamp duty is applied on documents at different rates depending on a nature of a document. Capital gains tax at a rate ranging between 20% and 30% is applied to owners of immovable property who divide it at least into five lots for sale. Standard rate of a local VAT is 15%.

Corporate
A company is resident in Mauritius if it is incorporated there or its daily management activities are conducted from the jurisdiction. A local company is liable to pay corporation tax on its worldwide income. In 2007 the standard rate of corporation tax has been reduced from 25% to 15%. There is no formal withholding tax, but there are  important nuances to be taken into consideration and addressed professionally when paying dividends or making other types of payments outside Mauritius. Certain types of companies are either fully or partially exempted from taxes.

 
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