Mauritius has a hybrid legal system which is based on French civil law with elements of English common law in certain areas.
Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim (Since 5 June 2015)Capital city
Food processing (largely sugar milling), textiles and apparel, financial services, fish processing, information and communications technology, hospitality and property development, clothing, mining, chemicals, metal products, transport equipment, nonelectrical machinery and tourism.Languages.
Creole 86.5%, Bhojpuri 5.3%, French 4.1%, two languages 1.4%, other 2.6% (includes English, the official language, which is spoken by less than 1% of the population), unspecified 0.1%
Hindu 48.5%, Roman Catholic 26.3%, Muslim 17.3%, other Christian 6.4%, other 0.6%, none 0.7%, unspecified 0.1%
- Capital Markets
Corporate Governance Code
Mauritius has a report on Corporate Governance, which was published in October 2003 and revised in April 2004.
The National Code of Corporate Governance for Mauritius (2016) (Code) has been officially launched on 13 February 2017. The Code comprises of a set of principles and guidance aimed at improving and guiding the governance practices of organisations within Mauritius. It forms part of a larger body of existing laws, rules, regulations, principles and best practices.
Current number of listed companies
The Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) operates in two markets: the Official Market caters for larger companies; and the Development & Enterprise Market (DEM) caters for small and medium enterprises. There are 51 companies listed on the Official Market and 43 companies listed on the DEM.
The Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) is the leading stock market in Mauritius
Securities Act 2005
Public Offers/Disclosure Regulations
The Financial Services Act 2007 and the Securities Act 2005
Regulatory body or bodies
The Financial Services Act 2007, the Securities Act 2005, the Competition Act 2007 and the Companies Act 2001.
Mauritius is also a Member State of COMESA and therefore subject to the COMESA Competition Regulations. Please see the COMESA summary in the AG section of the app to be found at the AG in Africa page.
- Competition Regulation
Impact of Regulatory Regime on Business
Pursuant to the Competition Act, the Competition Commission needs to be notified in situations where:
- all the parties to the merger, supply or acquire goods or services of any description, and following the merger, the merged entity will supply or acquire 30% or more of all those goods or services in the market; or
- prior to the merger, one of the parties to the merger alone supplies or acquires 30% or more of goods or services of any description on the market; and
- the Competition Commission has reasonable grounds to believe that the creation of the merger situation has resulted in, or is likely to result in, a substantial lessening of competition within any market for goods or services.
The relevant competition legislation is the Competition Act 2007, which is enforced by the Competition Commission.
The areas covered are:
- collusive agreements;
- merger situations;
- monopoly situations; and
- other restrictive agreements.
- Corruption / Transparency
Corruption Perception Index score for 2017
Corruption Perception Index rank worldwide for 2017
Signatories to United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNAC)?
Signatories to the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption?
Signatories to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions?
Mauritius, being a member state to the New York Convention (Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards), has implemented the International Arbitration Act 2008 to recognise and enforce foreign awards by and in the Supreme Court of Mauritius.Effectiveness of the court system.
Effectiveness of the court system
The fact that the ultimate court of appeal is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is definitely an asset to the Mauritian court system and the impartiality of decision-making is very well reflected. Additionally, over the past few years, the judicial system has been marked by some important reforms, for example, the introduction of the family division of the Supreme Court, which have added to the effectiveness of the Mauritian court system.
Enforcement of arbitral awards
Awards of foreign arbitrators may be enforced by making an application to the Supreme Court of Mauritius.
Enforcement of foreign judgments
Final and conclusive judgments of foreign courts can, under 'exquatur' proceedings, be enforced by the courts in Mauritius, without re-examination of the merits of the case, provided that:
- the foreign judgment is still valid, final and capable of execution in the country in which it was delivered, notwithstanding that an appeal may be pending against it or that it may still be subject to an appeal in such country;
- the foreign judgment is not contrary to any principle affecting public order in Mauritius;
- the foreign court which delivered the said judgment had jurisdiction to hear the claim;
- the Mauritian conflict of laws rules were respected;
- there has not been any 'fraude la loi', i.e. any malice, bad faith and fraud on and in the choice of law and jurisdiction clauses;
- the company which is the subject of the foreign judgment had been regularly summoned to attend the proceedings before the foreign court; and
- the foreign judgment is duly registered with the relevant authority in Mauritius in circumstances in which its registration is not liable to be set aside.
The Constitution of Mauritius confers upon the President of the Republic the power to appoint the Judiciary, after consultation with or upon the advice of specific eminent persons. Likewise, the President appoints the Chief Justice after consultation with the Prime Minister, the Senior Puisne Judges are appointed upon the advice of the Chief Justice, and the other Puisne Judges are appointed in accordance with the advice of the Judicial and Legal service commission.
Structure of the court system
The Mauritian Judicial system consists of a Supreme Court as the court of highest authority in Mauritius and 3 subordinate courts, namely, the District Court, Industrial Court and the Intermediate Court. After its independence in 1968, Mauritius decided to maintain the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) as the highest court of appeal.
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council – The court of last resort and the highest court of appeal. Appeals against any final judgments of the Supreme Court can be as of right or by the leave of the Supreme Court upon the satisfaction of certain conditions.
Supreme Court of Mauritius - The superior court of records or the court of original jurisdiction. Pursuant to the Constitution of Mauritius, the Supreme Court has unlimited jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil and criminal matters. Appeals against any final judgments of either of the subordinate courts lie to the Supreme Court.
Intermediate Court - Instituted by the Courts Act 1945, the court of records has jurisdiction over limited civil and criminal matters.
Industrial Court - The Industrial Court Act 1973 has conferred on the Industrial Court the exclusive civil and criminal jurisdiction to try any matter as established in the Act.
District Court - This is established, pursuant to the Courts Act 1945, in every district. Equally known as court of records, is presided by a District Magistrate and has jurisdiction over limited civil and criminal matters.
- Foreign Investments
Foreign investment incentives
Incentives to foreign investors include free repatriation of revenue from the sale of shares, exemption from tax on dividends and capital gains and no restrictions on foreign ownership.
Competition Act 2007
Industry Specific Legislation
Code of Advertising Practice pursuant to the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act 2000
Capital Gains Tax
Capital gains derived from the sale of assets are not subject to capital gains tax in Mauritius.
Corporate tax is at 15% on chargeable income.
Pursuant to the Companies Act 2001, any distribution of dividends needs to be made in accordance with the authorisation of the Board and upon the approval of the shareholders through an ordinary resolution. The solvency test below needs to be satisfied and attested by the board upon the distribution of the dividends. For the purposes of the Companies Act 2001, a company shall satisfy the solvency test where: (a) it is able to pay its debts as they become due in the normal course of business; and (b) its assets are greater than the total value of its liabilities and stated capital. In establishing the value of assets and liabilities, the Board may refer to the most recent financial statement prepared in accordance with International Accounting Standards and such assets and liabilities may be based on reasonable estimates.
Exchange control was abolished in 1994. Since then, the exchange rate is market-determined and there is convertibility on both capital and current accounts. Settlement can be done in foreign currency, and foreign currency accounts can be opened in Mauritius.
Interest paid to resident and non-resident companies is tax exempt.
Losses can be carried forward for a maximum period of 5 years. Unrelieved losses can however not be carried forward by companies where there is more than 50% change in shareholding.
Newly listed companies
No taxes on newly listed companies, but an initial listing fee of US$ 1,500 and an annual fee of US$ 1,500 are applicable.
Non-resident companies are taxed from sources earned in Mauritius and are not entitled to benefit from any Double Taxation Agreement concluded by Mauritius.
Payroll Tax and Social security
No payroll tax although a pay-related security contribution needs to be made by both the employer (6%) and employee (3%).
Personal Income Tax
For the purposes of income tax, a resident is a person who has his domicile in Mauritius (unless his permanent place of abode is outside Mauritius) or has been present in Mauritius in an income year for a period of, or an aggregate period of, 183 days or more or has been present in Mauritius in an income year and the 2 preceding income years for an aggregate period of 270 days or more. A resident is taxed on income earned both in Mauritius and abroad (remitted to Mauritius) while a non-resident is taxed only on income earned in Mauritius. The personal income tax rate is at 15%.
Real Property Tax
No real property tax currently exists.
A resident company, in accordance with the Income Tax Act 1995, is one which is incorporated in Mauritius and has its central management and control in Mauritius. Resident companies are taxed on their worldwide income.
All companies other than companies holding a category 1 Global Business Licence are required to deduct tax at source on royalty payments. Rate of tax deduction at source for a resident is at 10% while for a non-resident it is 15%, although a 0% rate applies to specified non-residents.
The current tax regime makes no provision for stamp duty.
Technical Service Fees
10% of withholding tax levied unless specifically exempted.
Thin Cap Regulations
Under the present tax regime, there are no thin capitalisation regulations in Mauritius.
There are no transfer pricing rules and regulations in Mauritius.
Value Added Tax
Presently, the value added tax is at a standard rate of 15%. Certain goods and services supplied on the local market are exported zero-rated.