Authorised Company in Mauritius – All you need to know
The Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 amended the Financial Services Act to introduce a new type of company: the “Authorised Company”. Since its introduction last year, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) has issued 859 Authorised Company Licences.
During his 2018/2019 Budget Speech on 14th June 2018, Hon. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, presented the reforms to the Global Business sector. These reforms, which have since been put in place, support and strengthen the sector while ensuring the Mauritian jurisdiction complies with international standards (especially OECD’s BEPS Action Plan). The sector has seen the creation of the Authorised Company Licence.
What is an Authorised Company? What are the requirements to establish an Authorised Company in Mauritius? What kind of activities are Authorised Companies able to carry out? Here’s all you need to know. Click here to read the French version of this article.
What is an Authorised Company?
The Authorised Company Licence is delivered by the FSC. It is a new category of company whose business activities and Place of Effective Management are outside of Mauritius. With its Place of Effective Management abroad, an Authorised Company is considered as a foreign company for tax purposes. This type of company does not have access to the Double Tax Avoidance Agreements network of Mauritius.
What are the requirements for an Authorised Company to establish in Mauritius?
To set up an Authorised Company in Mauritius, it is required that the company’s (other than a bank) majority of shares, rights to vote, legal or beneficial interest are detained or controlled by a person or a group of people who are not Mauritian citizens.
An Authorised Company is also required to appoint a registered agent in Mauritius. Management Companies are specifically commissioned to act as permanently-registered agent, and are responsible for the administration of the company. Their duties towards these companies include:
- filing of return of income with the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA);
- filing of a financial summary with the FSC;
- filing of any document required under relevant Acts;
- safekeeping of records (board minutes and resolutions, transaction records and such other documents as required by the FSC); and
- undertaking measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, and any other related offences as specified by the FSC.
Last year, the MRA issued a Statement of Practice which describes the facts and circumstances to consider in determining if the Place of Effective Management of a company is in Mauritius. A company has its Place of Effective Management in Mauritius if it is the place where:
- the strategic decisions on the company’s core activities are taken in or from; and
- either a majority of the Board of Director’s meetings are held, or where the executive management of the company is regularly exercised.
If a company, incorporated in Mauritius, does not meet the above-mentioned conditions, it will be considered as non-resident.
What kind of activities is an Authorised Company able to carry out?
As at end of February 2019, the FSC delivered 859 Authorised Company Licences. Authorised Companies are appropriate for activities such as:
- Investment holding;
- Property holding;
- International trade;
- Management and consultancy;
- IT Services;
- Shipping and ship Management; or
- One-off transaction using a Special Purpose Vehicle.
However, as outlined in the Fourth Schedule to the Financial Services Act 2007, Authorised Companies are not allowed to perform the following activities:
- financial services, including banking;
- holding, managing, or dealing with a Collective Investment Scheme (or Fund) as a professional administrator;
- providing registered office facilities, or nominee, directorship and secretarial services, or other services to corporations; or
- providing trusteeship services.
Authorised companies are also prohibited to carry out any other activities that may damage reputation of Mauritius as an International Financial Centre (as determined by the FSC), or contrary to public interest.
Mauritius: the preferred destination for Global Business and investment funds
For the first two month of this year, 162 new Global Business Licences were issued by the FSC, and Mauritius welcomed 16 new Global Funds. As at end of February, there was a total of 11,947 GBLs and 1,013 Global Funds. This adds to the 859 Authorised Companies, and the 8,527 Global Business Category 2 companies (which will cease to exist after the 30th June 2021).
By means of its good corporate governance, hybrid and strong legal (civil law and common law) system, robust regulatory framework, social and political stability as well as diversified economy and culture, Mauritius’ global reputation has grown over the past decade. The island, through its strategic location in the Indian Ocean between Africa and Asia, is today the preferred jurisdiction for investments into and from Africa.
International indexes rank Mauritius first among African countries in several areas, including ease of doing business, good governance, economic freedom, political and social stability and ICT development. Strict ‘Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism’ (AML/CFT) laws and the support to international initiatives such as OECD’s BEPS Action Plan and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF-GAFI), reflect the vision of the Mauritian government to promote the country as a transparent International Financial Centre, that does not only attracts capital flows, but ensures the security of assets.
Mauritius also has an extensive network of treaties, having concluded 50 Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) and 45 Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) with countries around the globe. It clearly shows that Mauritius boasts a favourable ecosystem for companies looking to do business at an international level. The island nation also forms part of several international communities, including the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Indian-Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and the Indian Ocean Commission (COI).
Financial Services Commission of Mauritius – http://www.fscmauritius.org/
Economic Development Board Mauritius – edbmauritius.org
Mauritius Revenue Authority – http://www.mra.mu/