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Mauritius briefing note on the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021

Insight 19 August 2021

Mauritius briefing note on the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021

Read our latest briefing note from Mauritius by Sanne's Bimal Nuckchadee and Arasi Patten.

Highlights

The Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (the “Finance Act”) was gazetted on 05 August 2021 and the provisions are deemed to come into operation on 5 August 2021 (except as otherwise specified hereunder) to implement the measures announced in the Budget Speech 2021-2022. This highlight covers the key regulatory measures contained in the Finance Act relevant to the Global Business Sector.

  • The exemption under section 23(1A) of the FSA, which previously allowed licensees to transfer shares or legal or beneficial interest of less than 5% and which did not result in a change of control of the licensee without the prior approval of the Financial Services Commission (the “FSC”), has been extended to cover issues of shares or legal or beneficial interest, subject to the same conditions. Consequently, the FSC must only be notified when there is an issue or transfer of shares or legal or beneficial interest of less than 5% not resulting in a change of control of the licensee.
  • Pursuant to the above section of the FSA, it has been further clarified that the “class of licences” exempted from obtaining the prior approval of the Financial Services Commission in respect of issues or transfers of shares which do not carry voting rights means in an exhaustive manner are collective investment schemes or closed-end funds authorised under the Securities Act and reporting issuers registered under the Securities Act which do not hold an activity license for licensable activities but whose securities are listed on a Mauritian securities exchange.
  • An Official Receiver, a liquidator or a provisional liquidator, an administrator or a special administrator appointed under the Insolvency Act or the relevant Acts shall provide such information as may be required in respect of a licensee or past licensee for the discharge of the functions of the FSC.
  • Certificates of good standing shall be issued by the FSC to any licensee (as opposed to only holders of global business licence or authorised company licence). A law practitioner or an accounting firm may submit an application for the issue of such certificate, on behalf of, and with the written consent of the licensee.
  • The requirements for a public company to have at least (i) one woman and (ii) two independent directors on the Board have been disapplied for a company holding a global business licence or an authorised company.
  • A public company that does not have for the time being more than 50 members may convert to a private company.
  • A registered agent or representative of a Global Business Corporation or an Authorised Company or a person qualified to act as Secretary will also be eligible to apply for the issue of certificates of current standing on a company holding a global business licence or on a company authorised to act as an Authorised Company.
  • Company Service Providers (“CSPs”) shall have an obligation to file suspicious transaction reports with the Financial Intelligence Unit (“FIU”) as soon as practicable, but not later than 5 working days from the date on which he becomes aware of a suspicious transaction. CSPs may further, upon authorization of the companies for which it acts, provide information to the competent authorities and investigatory authorities, pursuant to section 190(6) of CA 01.
  • The Registrar has been empowered to issue Practice Directions/ Guidelines to set the time limit for filing any document under the CA 01 or the manner in which any meeting under the CA 01 may be held.
  • The requirement for a company to include in its group financial statements the information set out in section 221(1) (d) – (i) of CA 01 in relation to each of its subsidiaries has been repealed.
  • Entities classified as Public Interest Entities (“PIEs”) under the Financial Reporting Act must comply with the requirements set out in the paragraphs (a), and (d) to (i) of section 221 (1) of CA 01 with respect to the content of annual reports and the shareholders cannot waive such disclosures.
  • A company limited by guarantee or a company limited by both shares and guarantee may have more than 50 shareholders.
  • A copy of the business registration card will be sufficient for display in a conspicuous place at the principal place of business.
  • A Core Group for Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation shall be constituted of members of the regulatory and investigatory bodies and relevant ministries to ensure the effective implementation, by the relevant competent authorities of the Financial Action Task Force international standards on AML/CFT.
  • The Core Group shall, in particular, make recommendations to the Prime Minister on matters, including implementation, strategy and international developments pertaining to AML/CFT; decide on matters pertaining to the implementation of AML/CFT standards which a relevant competent authority may refer to it; and ensure effective coordination/cooperation with the National Committee and among all competent authorities.
  • A Foundation shall authorise at least one officer or any other person ordinarily resident in Mauritius to provide, upon request from any competent authority, all basic information on, including information on beneficial ownership of, the Foundation and shall notify the Registrar within 14 days, from the date on which an authorisation is granted or, from which there is a change regarding the authorised officer or person. This has been extended for limited partnerships act as well
  • Every charitable Foundation shall for a period of at least 7 years, keep a record containing full details of transactions, both domestic and international, to enable verification as to whether the funds were received and spent in a manner consistent with the objects of the charitable Foundation.
  • The Registrar may request a charitable Foundation to submit financial statements for such period as he may determine, together with detailed breakdowns of receipts, payments and assets and liabilities, and the charitable Foundation shall comply with the request in such manner as the Registrar may determine.
  • A charitable Foundation must take appropriate measures to (a) confirm the identity, credentials and good standing of its beneficiaries and beneficial owners (if any), (b) verify whether its beneficial owners (if any) are not involved with or using funds of the foundation to support terrorists or terrorist organisations and (c) verify the identity of significant donors.
  • Where a Foundation, Council member, former Council member, secretary or former secretary fails to comply with its record-keeping obligations in relation to its transactions, acts or operations or any other provision of the Foundations Act, the Registrar will inform the Foundation in writing that its name will be removed from the register of foundations if the Foundation does not rectify such non-compliance within 30 days of the written notice.
  • The Registrar may inform a Foundation in writing that its purpose or objects no longer satisfy the requirements of the Foundations Act if (a) there is sufficient evidence that the Foundation has engaged or is about to engage in activities likely to cause a serious threat to public safety or public order; or (b) the Foundation has directly or indirectly made, is making, or is likely to make available any resources to a terrorist or terrorist organisation, or for the purpose of terrorism. The Foundation may make representations within 21 days from the date of the written notice.
  • Partial exemption has been extended to investment dealers and activities relating to leasing of locomotive and train including rail leasing.
  • Non-resident trusts and foundations shall not longer be able to file a declaration of non-residence to the Mauritius Revenue Authority and benefit from tax exemption. They will be subject to taxation of 15% with partial exemption on applicable income. A grandfathering provision will however be applied for trusts and foundations set up before 30 June 2021 up to the year of assessment 2024-25 (does not apply to intellectual property assets/projects acquired or derived post 30 June 2021).
  • The tax holiday of 5 years has been extended to 10 years for Family Offices, Fund and Asset Managers effective from the year of assessment commencing 1 July 2022.
  • Companies holding an Export Development Certificate issued by the EDB shall be eligible to be liable to tax at 3%.
  • Companies holding an investment certificate issued by the EDB will benefit an 8-year tax holiday on prescribed sectors/activities.
  • Manufacturing companies engaged in biotechnology, medical and pharmaceutical sector will be liable to tax at 3%, subject to meeting the conditions relating to substance requirements and not claiming partial exemption. Capital expenditure incurred for acquisition of patents will be allowed as tax credit and may be carried forward for the period of 5 years.
  • Double deduction would be available on acquisition of specialized software and systems and Research and development expenditure (R & D) targeting the African market. Qualifying R & D has been extended until June 2027.
  • Clarifications were brought with respect to the arm’s length principles to confirm that they apply to all entities or income earning activities carried out in or from Mauritius.
  • New flexible requirements are being implemented regarding the registration of non-citizens with the Economic Development Board (the “EDB”) for an occupation permit, family occupation permit or residence permit, or to benefit from any scheme under the EDB Act. Where an application for an occupation permit requires the views and recommendation of a public sector agency, that public sector agency shall, within 5 working days from the date of a request from the EDB submit its views, failing which it will be deemed to have no objection to the application.
  • A premium investor scheme is being put in place to promote – (a) emerging sectors; (b) pioneering industries and first movers; (c) innovative technologies and industries; and (d) such targeted economic activities as the Minister may approve in relation to the manufacture of pharmaceuticals or medical devices.

Residence and Occupation Permits to non-citizens

  • New criteria for a retired non-citizen to obtain a residence permit: Minimum initial transfer of USD 1,500; and thereafter either (i) a minimum monthly transfer of USD 1,500 or (ii) transfer of an aggregate of USD 18,000 or more per year (by instalments or otherwise) during the 10 years' validity of the residence permit.
  • Monthly salary applicable for an Occupation Permit (OP) for professionals in financial services (fund accounting and compliance services) having at least 3 years relevant work experience, by a company holding a licence from the FSC shall be Rs 30,000.
  • Extension of the Work Permit allowing Mauritians and non-citizen residents to bring foreign carers and maids to work in Mauritius.
  • Resident Permit will be issued to a person who purchases or otherwise acquires an apartment for residential purposes, provided the purchase price is USD 375,000 or more or its equivalent in any other hard convertible foreign currency.
  • A 10-Year Family Occupation Permit is being introduced to an applicant contributing USD 250,000 or its equivalent in freely convertible foreign currency to the COVID19 Projects Development Fund.
  • Extension of validity period of a Professional OP from 3 years to 10 years.
  • Spouse of OP holder wishing to work in Mauritius will be exempted from applying for a separate Occupation Permit.

This briefing note was authored by Bimal Nuckchadee and Arasi Patten.

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Rubina Toorawa Head of Sanne Mauritius - Mauritius
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Varounen Goinden Director, Head of Business Development, Mauritius & India - Mauritius
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