In removing Mauritius from its Grey List, the EU Council affirmed that Mauritius had been removed from its list of countries which were classified as cooperative but remained subject to the implementation of measures to confirm their commitment to comply with the screening criteria of the EU.
The EU Council also confirmed that Mauritius had actually implemented the necessary measures in order to comply with the EU tax good governance principles, ahead of schedule and the efforts deployed by the Mauritian Government towards this end are worth recognising.
First, it has enhanced substance requirements and addressed concerns that there was a lack of anti-abuse rules through the introduction of rules relating to Controlled Foreign Companies by the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2019 which rules are largely inspired by the anti-tax avoidance directive of the EU. Amongst the changes brought by this legislation are the changes to the Freeport Zone and Partial Exemption regimes.
Secondly, the Mauritian Government undertook measures to ensure that there was in place (i) a transparent set up (ii) the minimum standards of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and (iii) the elimination of tax practices identified as harmful.This led to a confirmation by the OECD in November 2018 that Mauritius had satisfied its international requirements of the BEPS Action 5 and did not have any tax practices identified as harmful anymore.
Clearly, this recognition by the EU Council is a welcome acknowledgement of the continued efforts and ambition of the Mauritian Government to enhance its reputation and position itself as a competitive International Financial Centre of choice in line with the measures announced in the past National Budgets which we outlined in our previous E-Alerts.