LIVING IN MAURITIUS
Over the past few decades, Mauritius has turned into one of the most sought-after destinations, not only for tourists but also for foreign investors, namely from South Africa, United Kingdom, Réunion Island, France, Belgium, Switzerland, United States and United Arab Emirates among others. But why is there so much fascination about the little former British colony locate at the heart of the Indian Ocean?
In fact, there exists a number of reasons why Mauritius attracts so many tourists, foreign investors and even those looking for a secondary residence in a paradise-like setting: a strategic geographical location at the cross-roads of Africa and Asia, only a few hours’ flight from Europe (GTM +4). In addition to the postcard-perfect image with all its coconut, palm and filao trees, kilometres of white sandy beaches bordered by a turquoise lagoon, all-year-round tropical sunny climate, and the legendary hospitality of its people, Mauritius has another key asset: a low-tax system which continues to attract more and more foreigners to work, live or retire in Mauritius. Historically, Mauritius has always been a favourable environment that attracts local entrepreneurs as well as foreigners wishing to establish or expand their business.
The tax regime of Mauritius comprises the following:
• The corporate tax rate of a domestic company is 15%.
• There is no capital gains tax.
• There is no withholding tax on dividends, interest and royalties.
• There is no inheritance tax, estate duty or gift taxes
• No exchange controls; dividends and capital can be freely repatriated
• Personal Income Tax of 15%
• Value Added Tax is 15%
Important note: Thanks to the transparency and cooperation shown by the Mauritian authorities in reassuring international control systems, Mauritius is not considered as a tax haven. The control of the Mauritian authorities on foreign companies prevents it from falling into the list of countries that are officially recognized as a tax haven.
The two types of offshore companies which may be set up in Mauritius:
Global Business Company 1 – Onshore Company
The 1 Global Business company (GBC 1) holding (Global Business License – GBL 1) can be created prior to the approval of the FSC (Financial Services Commission) to perform offshore activities. The GBL1 holder can become a resident of Mauritius and benefit agreements to avoid double taxation in the country. The GBC 1 is taxed at 15%, except for capital gains, and is not subject to withholding.
A GBC 1 consists of at least two individuals or legal entities and must have two resident directors. Its headquarters must also be based in the country.
Global Business Company 2 – Offshore Company
The Global Business Company (GBC 2) holding a Global Business Licence 2 (GBL2) must also receive a license (issued by the FSC), and unlike the GBL1, it cannot be regarded as resident in Mauritius. Therefore, it does not benefit from double taxation agreements and must be registered with a registration agent. The GBC 2 can perform any kind of activity (excluding banking, insurance, trust or investment funds) and absolutely not imposed and not suffers from withholding.
Property Investment Opportunities for foreigners
Since 2002, Mauritius has opened its economy to foreign investors by setting up a series of property schemes allowing foreigners to buy a real estate property in Mauritius: the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS), the Real Estate Scheme (RES) and most recently, the Property Development Scheme (PDS).
There is no minimum selling price for the Property Development Scheme (PDS) enabling foreigners to invest in real estate in Mauritius and benefit from the wide array of tax advantages offered by the Mauritian government. To be granted a Mauritian Residence Permit, a foreign should invest a minimum of 500 000 USD (approx. 350 000 euros) in a PDS unit. The permit applies also to the buyer’s spouse and dependents.