On the 17th of November 2013, popular French TV channel M6 broadcasted during its TV program “Capital” dedicated part of it on the attractive tax system of Mauritius. Entitled « Paradis fiscal – Ma retraite dorée à l’Ile Maurice » (Tax Haven – My gilded retirement in Mauritius), the TV program presents Mauritius as a dream destination for those wishing to settle in the island to work or to enjoy retirement. According to M6, some 10 000 French expats live in Mauritius and that this craze is attributable to the tax very advantageous and competitive Mauritian tax system.
Tax exile seems to be an issue of widespread concern according to the traffic recorded on lexpressproperty.com real estate portal the day following the broadcast of the TV program. The website experienced a rise of 150% in traffic, out which 65% from France.
Definition of a Tax Haven:
The label “Tax haven” is not official. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the island is not even in the OECD’s official list of the 20 tax havens worldwide. A country is considered as a Tax Haven when it meets the following criteria:
• Little or no taxation (15% for Mauritius)
• Lack of transparency ( Mauritius ranked 3rd African country in terms of transparent and accountable governance)
• Legislation preventing automatic exchange of information with the administrations of other countries. (Mauritius has signed with the United-States the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act ) on the 27th of December 2013. This act ensures that the United-States obtain information on accounts held abroad at foreign financial institutions. Mauritius was the African and 20th worldwide country to sign this agreement.
• Tolerance towards shell companies with little or no substantial activities (Not in Mauritius)
• Secret bank accounts and limited international judicial cooperation (Not in Mauritius)
As opposed to tax evasion which constitutes a criminal offence, tax exile is totally legal. It is in fact a legal choice. According to Professor François Poitevin-Lavenu of l’Institut de droit des affaires à Paris, « it arises as a result of the combination of a whole set of factors: heritage, financial, fiscal, and societal. When those fours factors reach climax, it is the no return point. For that to be the case, the four factors should be in the red.” Mauritius is not ranked in the Canfin List of the 17 countries considered as tax havens. (Pascal Canfin is the French Deputy Minister for Development under the Minister of Foreign Affairs).
Aimed at attracting foreign invest, the appealing tax system of Mauritius is tempting more and more foreign to come and settle in the island. Among those, there are individuals who can afford to buy real estate properties in Mauritius under the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS). The IRS régime allows a foreign buyer to buy a freehold property in Mauritius, priced 370 000 € (500 000 USD) or above and to take advantage of a resident permit in the island; thus benefitting from the favorable tax system of Mauritius. He may also rent the property and in return, receive rental income.
According to M6 TV channel, the number of French expats settled in Mauritius has risen by 25% in 5 years. In fact, lowering tax burden has become a powerful argument for many countries to attract foreign investment. Since 2002, Mauritius has been encouraging an open-door policy regarding foreign investors. The island has all the qualities to attract foreign investors as well as pensioners:
• Income tax at 15%
• Domestic companies tax at 15%
• VAT at 15%
• No inheritance tax
• No capital gain tax
• Net worth tax not levied
To learn more about Mauritius and business opportunities in Mauritius, view the Luxury Magazine. You may access interviews from foreign investors and entrepreneurs as well as advices, contact details of real estate experts and much more useful information
Click on the following articles to read more about Integrated Resort Scheme : http://mauritius-news.lexpressproperty.com/2014/01/real-estate-mauritius-integrated-resort_15.html