Goods and services imported and supplied in Mauritius are charged with Value Added Tax (VAT) of 15 per cent, which is refundable when the product is exported. Exemptions include:
- basic foodstuffs
- animal feeding stuffs (other than prepared pet food)
- printed books, brochures, leaflets and periodicals
- water and ice, not treated or mixed with any other goods
- medicines, fuels and fertilisers.
Mauritius runs a self-assessment system based on the residence concept. A resident in Mauritius is liable to tax on the worldwide income derived by that person. A non-resident is taxed on income derived from sources in Mauritius. However, earned income derived from overseas by an individual resident in Mauritius is taxable to the extent it is remitted to Mauritius.
Income tax is payable on income derived in the preceding year. The fiscal year runs from 1 July to 30 June.
Bodies of persons subject to corporate tax are:
- trustees of unit trust schemes
- non-resident sociétés (partnerships).
Tax rates on chargeable income of companies for year of assessment commencing on 1 July 2015 – 15 per cent.
Although many financial centres have flourished without any tax treaties, Mauritius being a tax-planning jurisdiction has focused the development of its offshore centre on the use of its growing network of Double Taxation Agreements. The expanding network of Double Taxation Treaties reinforces the seriousness of Mauritius as a tax efficient offshore jurisdiction for structuring investment abroad. No agreements exist with Australia, other than the Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) signed in December 2010.
Some multinational corporations use Mauritius to route their investments into emerging regions such as India, China and Pakistan. The various tax treaty benefits are aimed to attract investors wishing to minimise their costs when repatriating income from their investment in the treaty country where they have invested. Mauritius has been, for a number of years, ranked as the top investor in India, although this position may now be challenged by other jurisdictions as the historical DTAA with India is under review. Mauritius is also deploying considerable efforts into positioning itself as a secure platform for investment into Africa and a global business hub.
Mauritius presents a number of advantages for overseas companies keen to position themselves in Africa from a strong, secure and stable base. Besides the growing network of DTAAs and IPPAs with selected African states, Mauritius also presents the advantages of offering excellent infrastructure, qualified labour, strong language skills, highly skilled professional firms well equipped to operate in an international environment, a business-friendly environment and good, friendly ties with neighbouring countries. In addition to financial services, Mauritius also positions itself as a logistics hub, supported by the modern and efficient infrastructure proposed by its port and Freeport.