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Mauritius company registration

Mauritius Background

Extensive tax treaty network.
Commitment to the development of the financial service industry.

Mauritius Introduction

Mauritius, located in the Indian Ocean approximately 1,200 miles from the southeast coast of Africa, is a democratic republic and has a population in excess of 1 million. Mauritius has, at different times prior to independence, been colonised by the English and French, and as such its legal system is a hybrid of both English and French law. The Mauritius government has made a substantial commitment to the development of the financial services sector.

Law and Taxation

The new Companies Act 2001, which replaced both the Companies Act 1984 and the International Companies Act 1994, allows for two categories of companies, the GBL2 and GBL1.

The Category 2 Global Business Licence (GBL2) is similar in structure to an International Business Company (IBC). It is not subject to taxation in Mauritius except for an annual government fee of US$235 which is payable to the Financial Services Commission (FSC) on 1st July each year and an annual registration fee of US$65 which is payable to the Registrar of Companies (ROC) on 20th January each year.

The Category 1 Global Business Licence (GBL1) may be used to access the extensive and growing network of international tax treaties which the Mauritius Government is continually developing. GBL1 companies are subject to taxation at a rate of 15% as a Tax Incentive Company. However, companies can structure their affairs to take advantage of a series of tax credits which may significantly reduce the effective rate of taxation, or may elect to pay at a higher rate to satisfy controlled foreign company legislation in the country of residence of the parent company.

Companies which fail to pay annual fees to government and the officers of such companies are in default and could be subject to prosecution in Mauritius.

Corporate Requirements

Chinese names are permitted and can be included on a company's Certificate of Incorporation.

GBL2: The GBL2 company is only required to have one director and one shareholder. While corporate directors are permitted, GBL2 companies are precluded from issuing bearer shares. Following the Finance Bill 2000 enacted in July 2000, details of members, directors and officers of GBL2 companies must be registered with the FSC and ROC but are not available for public inspection which adds to administration costs. There are no requirements to file annual returns or audited accounts. It is not clear if books and statutory records should be kept in Mauritius. Section 190 and the fourteenth schedule of the Act are contradictory.

GBL1: The costs of establishing a GBL1 company are relatively high because of the additional compliance and residency requirements. A GBL1 company must have at least two local directors to access treaties and one shareholder. At present corporate directors are not permitted. A GBL1 company must also appoint a Mauritian resident as company secretary. Each year, the company must prepare audited accounts and file them with the FSC within 6 months after the closure of its financial year. Non-compliance will result in a revocation of the GBL1 licence. GBL1 companies that wish to utilise Mauritius' international tax treaties must demonstrate that management and control are exercised in Mauritius. Details of directors and members must be kept with the FSC and ROC.

Both GBL2 and GBL1 companies must have a Registered Office and Agent in Mauritius.

Local Infrastructure

All of the major international accounting firms are represented in Mauritius and there are an increasing number of international banks. There are, however, no established legal firms, with all lawyers being sole practitioners. Communications are excellent and there are direct flights to Mauritius from both Singapore and Hong Kong.

Hongkong Tel : +852-2537 7886 Add : 5/F Manulife Place, 348 Kwun Tong Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR