Mauritius: Legal changes in 2021/22

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The draft budget 2021/22 presented by the government on 11 June 2021 was clarified in the Finance Bill on 16 July. On 5 August, the FINANCE (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACT 2021 was enacted.

The regulations include additional incentives for companies and further relief for immigrants, among other things.

Background: In June of each year, intended new laws and regulations, as well as legislative changes and deletions, that will be enacted in the following fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) are announced by the government in the “Budget Speech.” At this point, many details are still unclear. Some projects and initiatives may receive the funding they need within the timeframe provided, but others may not. More details of the procedure are available here.

Finance Act 2021-22: Most important changes

The Budget

The budget is entitled “Rebooting the Mauritian economy”. One of the main objectives is to diversify the economy in the areas of renewable energies and biotechnology, for which there are extensive incentives.

One of the government’s primary goals is to remove Mauritius from the FATF’s and the EU’s “gray list”. To this end, all necessary measures are being initiated and the necessary legislative changes are being implemented. In my opinion, there are good prospects that Mauritius will no longer be included in the list after its next revision in Oct./Nov.

Digitalization

  • Roll out of a Central Bank Digital Currency – The Digital Rupee – on a pilot basis. Bank of Mauritius (BOM) empowered to prescribe the framework for the issue of such currency
  • Introduction of a QR Code at national level by the BOM to facilitate digital payments
  • Setting up an Open-Lab for banking and payment Solutions and a FinTech Innovation Lab
  • Setting up of MAUCAS platform to allow for real time payments
  • BOM is authorised to set up fintech innovation hubs and digital labs for the banking sector
  • Launching of the FSC One platform as an online licensing portal as from 01 July 2021

Company forms

  • Use of Protected Cell structure to be extended to the real estate sector of domestic companies

Trusts and foundations

  • Trusts and foundations will be subject to corporate tax in the future, even if none of the parties involved is resident in Mauritius.
  • Existing trusts and foundations will be grandfathered until 2025/26.

Corporate taxation

The rates for corporate taxes remain unchanged. This is very positive; many market participants had expected tax increases.

Companies registered with the Economic Development Board (“EDB”) as a holder of an Investment Certificate are eligible to an 8-year tax holiday in the case of new companies operating in the following sectors:
– Aquaculture
– Industrial Fishing
– Seafood processing
– High Tech manufacturing
– Pharmaceutical research and manufacturing
– Agro Processing
– Food Processing
– Healthcare, Biotechnology and Life Sciences
– Nursing and residential care
– Digital technology and innovation
– Marina
– Tertiary Education
– Seeds Production
– Other activities as approved by the EDB

Especially for digital entrepreneurs, this regulation could be highly interesting.

Tax holiday on Family Offices extended from 5 to 10 years.

Premium Investor Scheme: For investments of at least 500 million rupees (approx. 10 million euros) in the following areas, taxes, subsidies and investment incentives can be freely negotiated with the government:

  • emerging sectors;
  • pioneering industries and
  • innovative technologies and industries; or
  • such targeted economic activities as the Minister may approve

Individual taxation

The rate for the Individual Tax remains unchanged at 15%. This is very positive; many market participants had expected tax increases.

Fund managers and asset managers will in future enjoy tax exemption (on their emoluments) for 10 years (previously 5 years); the prerequisite is assets under management of at least USD 50 million (previously USD 100 million) per manager.

Premium Travel Visa
A holder of a premium Visa spending 183 days or more, will be subject to income tax as follows:

  • The Mauritian-sourced income of a Premium Visa Holder (e.g. emoluments for work performed remotely in Mauritius) will be taxed on a remittance basis;
  • Money spent in Mauritius through the use of foreign credit or debit cards by the holder of a Premium Visa will not be deemed to have been remitted to Mauritius; and
  • Income brought and deposited in a bank account in Mauritius will be liable to tax except if a declaration is made by the holder of a Premium Visa that the required tax has been paid thereon.

Occupation Permits (OP)

Occupation Permit for Professionals:

  • Validity of OP as professional extended from 3 to 10 years.
  • Flexibility to switch job without the need to file a new application provided minimum criteria are met.
  • Monthly basic salary applicable for an OP in financial services (fund accounting and compliance only) brought down to Rs30,000 for companies holding an FSC licence provided the employee has at least 3 years relevant work experience.
  • Dependents of OP holders: Exemption from OP or Work Permit application for spouse of OP holders willing to invest or work in Mauritius.
  • Maximum age limit of 24 years for dependent children will be waived.
  • OP as Self-employed Possibility for holders of OP as self-employed to incorporate a one-man company and employ an administrative staff.

Other rules

  • Requirement for OP applicants to enter Mauritius on a business visa will be waived.
  • A non-citizen will be eligible for an OP irrespective of his visa category when entering Mauritius.

Permanent Residence Permit (PRP)

  • 10-year PRP automatically extended to 20 years.
  • Flexibility to switch categories between investor, professional and retired.

Holders of OP buying property

A non-citizen who purchases an apartment used, or available for use, as residence, in a building of at least 2 floors above ground floor, provided the purchase price is not less than USD375,000 will be issued with a residence permit, including for his dependents, and exempted from the requirement of a work or occupation permit.