Mauritius has kept its word. The island nation has swiftly acted to address issues raised by India on the alleged misuse of the double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA). To stop India from pushing for a review of the treaty, Mauritius has tightened procedures for obtaining a tax residency certificate.
The move includes ensuring that all banking transactions are routed though an account in Mauritius. The Mauritius revenue department issued a circular last week in this regard. The circular laid down enhanced procedures for issue of tax residency certificate.
The new circular strengthens the case for genuine Mauritius resident companies to take benefit of tax treaty instead of letter-box companies, Sudhir Kapadia, partner, BSR & Co said.
The circular came close on the heels of an assurance given by Mauritius deputy prime minister and finance minister Rama Sithanen during his visit to India in August. He had said Mauritius would ensure that interests of both parties to the treaty were protected and any alleged misuse was dealt with.
As per the circular, companies must have two resident directors from Mauritius at all time. Also, these directors should be of good repute and must have the requisite qualifications. All the meetings of the board must be held, chaired and have their minutes recorded in Mauritius.
The company must keep all its accounting records at its registered office in Mauritius. It must also ensure that all banking transactions are routed though an account in Mauritius. Companies applying for the residency certificate should furnish an undertaking on all these accounts every year, when it comes up for renewal.
Also, the certificate would be issued on the recommendation of the Finance Service Commission of Mauritius. The recommendation can be revoked by the commission, if it feels that the company has not fulfilled the conditions of the circular and is not in good standing.
Mr Kapadia said Mauritius, it seems, is attempting to put apprehensions expressed by India at rest and also to make an impression internationally that it is a mature and responsible jurisdiction.