The first audited accounts for a Mauritius company must be prepared for any period of six to 18 months from the date of incorporation and in respect of every subsequent financial year for a period not exceeding 12 months. Sovereign can arrange for preparation and filing of annual accounts (audited, as required) and ongoing payment of all regulatory fees and disbursements. Accountancy fees for the preparation of these accounts will be charged on a time-spent basis.
Aviation, including Aircraft Registration
Mauritius offers an attractive platform for the registration of aircraft, helicopters and private jets with the Mauritius International Aircraft Registry. It is a signatory to major international conventions including the Chicago International Civil Aviation Organisation Convention, Geneva Convention on International Recognition of Rights in Aircraft and the New York Convention on the Registration and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration. Mauritius also has a comprehensive Civil Aviation Law that governs the registration and leasing of aircrafts. The Director of Civil Aviation (DCA) is the authority for all licensing and regulatory functions.
Gibraltar-based RegisterAnAircraft.com (RANA) is the aviation division of The Sovereign Group. Combining the experience acquired over 20 years in the field of aircraft registration and offshore company management, RANA offers a complete range of professional and highly tailored services to aircraft owners and operators worldwide.
Sovereign can provide introductions to a number of local and international banks in Mauritius, and elsewhere in the world, with which we have long-term relationships. We can also assist with account opening procedures for a company in Mauritius.
The Foundations Act 2012 provides clients with a foundation solution to use alongside, or instead of, a trust. It is a very useful structure for asset protection, wealth planning and dynastic planning. A Mauritius foundation is also useful for corporate entities looking to create an orphan structure where the assets of a particular entity can be held in a foundation, rather than being an asset on that company’s balance sheet.
Once registered, a Mauritius Foundation acquires its own separate legal status or personality, which is separate to its founder, council of members and beneficiaries. It is governed by its charter and articles, which are private documents. The identity of the Founder need not be disclosed in the charter. Reservation of rights and powers of the founder may be provided for in the charter, which sets out how the Foundation’s assets will be administered and its objectives achieved. Unlike many jurisdictions, the objectives of a Mauritius Foundation may be charitable or commercial, or both, and may be for the benefit of a person or a class of persons, or to carry out a specific purpose, or both.
A Foundation can apply for a GBC1 licence, entitling it to all requirements and benefits of a GBC1 company, including access to double tax treaties. Foundations are exempt from income tax in Mauritius if the Founder is a non-resident or holds a GBC1 licence and the beneficiary (or beneficiaries) is non-resident or holds a GBC1 licence.
Every Foundation must have a Council to administer the assets and carry out its objectives. The Council must have at least one member who is ordinarily resident in Mauritius. A Foundation is also required to have a secretary, who can be either a management company or individual in Mauritius, and a registered office in Mauritius at which its statutory and financial records must be maintained.
Insurance is one of the most effective ways to manage risks and protect your assets, and is a vital part of the wealth management process. Gibraltar-based Sovereign Insurance Services (SIS) provides a full range of insurance broking services – from home, contents, travel, accident and life cover through to more complex products such as “key man”, professional indemnity and kidnap and ransom cover – at the most competitive pricing levels available in the international insurance markets. SIS is licensed by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission to act as an insurance intermediary for general insurance business within the European Economic Area (EEA) but also has strategic partnership arrangements with a series of underwriters and brokers throughout the international insurance community so as to be able to meet a client’s insurance requirements anywhere in the world.
International Tax Planning
It is relatively straightforward to set up or purchase a company but it is vital to get proper advice on how to structure the ownership of that company, how it should be administered and how to organise its commercial arrangements. Every case is different and a high level of expertise is required to ensure that the advice is up-to-date, effective and fully compliant. Once we have understood your personal and business requirements, Sovereign is in a unique position, through its global network of offices, to advise on a suitable structure which will meet those needs and should result in significant tax savings.
Marine, including Yacht Registration
Mauritius citizens and certain types of companies are entitled to own and register ships under the Mauritius Flag. Specifically this includes a GBC1 licensed company provided that its object is confined to the registering of ships under the Mauritius Flag and its shipping activities are carried out exclusively outside Mauritius. Mauritius citizens and certain types of companies can also register a foreign ship under the Mauritius Flag if the ship is bareboat chartered to them for a period of at least 12 months but not exceeding three years. Every type of sea worthy vessel intended for use in navigation is eligible unless older than 15 years.
Ship registration and mortgaging are regulated by the Mauritius Merchant Shipping Act 1986 and the Mauritius Shipping (Amendment) Act 1992, which are largely based on the UK Merchant Shipping Act. Mauritius is a member of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and has acceded to all key international maritime conventions.
Gibraltar-based RegisterAYacht.com (RAY) is the marine division of the Sovereign Group. It was formed in 2000 to provide marine corporate and administration services to yacht owners, as well as to maritime law firms, yacht managers and brokers and other professional firms involved in the yachting industry. Initially established to register vessels under the British Red Ensign, RAY is now registering, administering and managing yachts – both pleasure and commercial – on a worldwide basis.
Nominee Shareholder Services
A minimum of one shareholder is required and corporate shareholders are permitted. Bearer shares are not permitted and details of the beneficial owner of a company must be communicated to the Guernsey Registry as part of the incorporation process. A share register must be maintained at the registered office address of the company and must be available for inspection by any member of the public. Details of shareholders are also maintained on the public file at the Company Registry but anonymity can be preserved by the use of nominee shareholders. Documents can be sent electronically from the company to shareholders where agreed by the shareholder.
Overseas Property Ownership
Sovereign assists many of its clients with the acquisition of real estate worldwide. We advise on tax and structuring and can manage the transaction process and financing arrangements. With our regional knowledge of property ownership laws and regulations, along with our tax planning expertise, we can help you reduce any potential exposure. Most people who own or intend to own property abroad will not be fully conversant with local legal procedures or taxes – stamp duties, municipal and wealth taxes – and may not fully recognise the longer term implications in terms of potential exposures to capital gains tax, inheritance tax or forced heirship rules. Substantial benefits may be derived through the use of corporate, trust or foundation structures to address these issues.
By outsourcing your payroll you can free up your valuable time and resources to concentrate on the important business of running your company. Sovereign can provide a comprehensive yet flexible outsourced payroll service tailored to each of our client’s specific requirements.
If the Mauritius GBC1 company wishes to qualify for benefits under a taxation treaty signed between Mauritius and another state, then effective control and management must be exercised from Mauritius and the company must, inter alia have a Mauritius based auditor, two Mauritius resident directors and a bank account in Mauritius. The Mauritius resident directors must be approved by the Financial Services Commission. Sovereign is pleased to provide approved Mauritius resident directors.
Tax Residency Certificates – A Mauritius GBC1 company must obtain a Certificate from the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) stating that the relevant requirements have been complied with for the company to be considered a Mauritius tax resident company and therefore that the company may fall within the terms of a tax treaty – the Tax Residency Certificate (TRC). The MRA will issue one general TRC without making particular reference to any double tax treaty, which can be used for all countries with which Mauritius has an active treaty. However, it would still be possible to apply for a TRC for a specific country. A service fee payable to the Mauritius Revenue Authority will be charged for each TRC that a company applies for. Sovereign can provide assistance with obtaining a TRC.
Trademark and Intellectual Property Services
The intellectual property (IP) associated with a business name or system can be one of its most valuable assets – but only if it is properly protected. Any business that wishes to establish a national or international identity should take steps to protect the use of its name, logo or other IP, such as patent rights, formulae/processes, designs, trademarks, franchises, licence agreements, “know-how” and copyrights. Given the importance of IP to modern businesses, Sovereign has established an intellectual property division that specialises in registration, monitoring, advice and proactive assistance.
Mauritius is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and a signatory to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Universal Copyright Convention and the Berne Convention. IP is increasingly recognised as an economic asset as Mauritius moves towards a knowledge-based economy. An Intellectual Property Development Plan (IPDP) was developed with the assistance of WIPO in 2009. The IPDP seeks to ensure, amongst other things, that the organisations involved in IP enforcement, the potential users as well as generators of IP have the technical capacity and know-how to use IP as a tool to promote research, innovation, investment and economic growth.
A new Copyright Act was passed in 2014 to bring Mauritius copyright law into line with the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonogram Treaty. The setting up of an Intellectual Property Office is in the pipeline.
Trust Formation and Trustee Services
Trusts have many applications and advantages, including the protection and preserving of assets, tax planning or just avoiding the expense and delays of obtaining probate under a will. They also provide a high degree of confidentiality. Trust services can be provided by our licensed trust corporations in Mauritius.
Although trusts were recognised and given effect by the courts in Mauritius as far back as 1962, the first trust legislation was enacted only in 1989. The Offshore Trusts Act was enacted in 1992 as part of the legislative framework to launch Mauritius as a financial centre. A new Trusts Act was enacted on 1 December 2001. It repealed and replaced both the 1989 and the 1992 acts and provides a single integrated legislation to regulate all trusts in Mauritius.
- Registration – There is no requirement to register a Mauritian trust but a settlor may opt to register a trust with the Mauritius Registrar General.
- Duration – Except for a purpose trust, duration may not exceed 99 years. A charitable trust may be of perpetual duration. A non-charitable purpose trust may not exceed 25 years.
- Trustees – The number of trustees may not exceed four. A trust must have at least one “qualified” trustee, which is a person or company resident in Mauritius and authorised by the Financial Services Commission.
- Beneficiaries – Must be identified by name or by reference to a class.
- Settlor – May be any person who has the legal capacity to contract but may not be the sole beneficiary of the trust.
- Property – May not include any immovable property situated in Mauritius if the beneficiary is a not a citizen of Mauritius unless prior approval is received from the Prime Minister.
- Courts – The Supreme Court of Mauritius has jurisdiction to hear any matter relating to trusts in Mauritius.
- Taxation – A trust is tax resident in Mauritius and subject to tax on its income at a rate of 15% per annum where the trust is administered in Mauritius and a majority of the trustees are resident in Mauritius, or where the settlor of the trust was resident in Mauritius at the time the instrument creating the trust was executed. A trust that is tax resident in Mauritius can benefit from the Mauritian network of double tax treaties.
A trust may opt to be non-resident for income taxation purposes and pay no income tax in Mauritius provided that the settlor is a non-resident and all beneficiaries are either non-resident or hold a global business licence.
Under a circular issued by the Financial Service Commission, high-net-worth individuals may set up a private trust company (PTC) holding either a GBC1 (tax resident) or a GBC2 (tax exempt) licence to act as a trustee. The PTC must provide its private trust business services solely to connected persons and must not solicit trust business from, or provide trust business services to, the public. The PTC must appoint a licensed management company to carry out its trust administration services in relation to any express trust to which it is a trustee.