This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.  
 

India Presses Mauritius To Renegotiate Treaty

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Indian government would like to see an end to the provision in the India-Mauritius tax treaty which provides that capital gains from sale of securities in India can only be taxed in Mauritius, especially with regard to "treaty shopping". In the absence of a capital gains tax in Mauritius, more than 40% of foreign investment inflows to India are routed through Mauritius, more than any other country.

“A team is going to Mauritius… we are on the job,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters, "but the process could take as long as negotiating a new treaty."

Earlier in 2010, Milan Meetarbhan, the Chief Executive of Mauritius's Financial Services Commission (FSC), defended the tax treaty, arguing that Mauritius was not a tax haven. He denied that the treaty resulted in a high incidence of "round-tripping," whereby funds are transferred illegally out of India and then transferred back as foreign investment into the Mumbai stock market via participatory notes. However he did agree to address Indian concerns on the matter through tighter checks on treaty abuse by Indian entities.

There had been suggestions earlier this year that the Indian government might include a clause in the Direct Tax Code which would override India's tax treaties on the matter of treaty abuse, but the legal controversy this caused has meant that this proposal will probably be quietly dropped.

In its negotiations of other treaties after 2004, India has insisted on limiting the benefits clause with an anti-abuse provision. The limitation of benefit clause in the India-Singapore treaty provides for an expenditure test to demonstrate commercial substance, and a similar clause was included in the UAE treaty, whilst Cyprus is also reportedly under pressure to accept such an amendment.

A recent judgement in the Indian courts has highlighted that changes in the double taxation treaties are needed rather than relying on commercial substance arguments. A Mauritius resident company, also a subsidiary of a US company, used capital contributions and loans from the US parent to buy shares in ILFS, an Indian company. On sale of the shares, the Mauritian company succeeded in arguing that earned capital gains were not chargeable to tax in India through Article 13 (4) of the India-Mauritius tax treaty.

The Indian tax department objected unsuccessfully on the ground that the real and beneficial owner of the capital gains was the US company, and the Mauritius company "merely a façade" to avoid capital gains tax in India. According to the judgement, for the act to be a ‘sham’, the parties must have had a common intention not to create the legal rights and obligations which they gave the appearance of creating.

Mailing List

Click here to manage your mailing list preferences, or view our privacy statement.


The Report

Offshore Trusts Guide: Introduction

The History of Offshore Trusts
Development of Professional Competence in the Jurisdictions
What Future for the Trust?
The New Age of Transparency
The Swiss Association of Trust Companies
The Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners

Offshore Trusts Guide: Jurisdictions

Bahamas

Bahamas: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bahamas: 2006 Private Trust Companies Legislation

Barbados

Barbados: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Barbados: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Bermuda

Bermuda: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bermuda: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
British Virgin Islands: Special Trusts Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: The Trustee Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: :Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees
British Virgin Islands: New Laws on Private Trust Companies
British Virgin Islands: New Private Trust Company Regulations

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cayman Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cook Islands

Cook Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cook Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cyprus

Cyprus: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cyprus: Supervision, Licensing and Tax

Gibraltar

Gibraltar: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Gibraltar: Legislation, Regulation and Supervision

Guernsey

Guernsey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Guernsey: Trusts Law 2007

Isle of Man

Isle of Man: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Isle of Man: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Isle of Man: Uses Clients and Tax Treatment

Jersey

Jersey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Jersey: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Jersey: Trusts Amendment Act 2006
Jersey: Foundations

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Liechtenstein: Regulation Supervision and Transparency
Liechtenstein: Characteristics of Liechtenstein Trusts
Liechtenstein: Foundations

Madeira

Madeira: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Malta

Malta: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Malta: The Trust and Trustees Act 2004

Mauritius

Mauritius: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Mauritius: Characteristics of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Additional Provisions of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Tax Treatment

Monaco

Monaco: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Nevis

Nevis: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Panama

Panama: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Panama: Requirements for Acting as Trust Company in Panama

Seychelles

Seychelles: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Turks & Caicos: The Voidable Dispositions Ordinance

Vanuatu

Vanuatu Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees




Latest News

Jersey Proposes Infrastructure Levy
23/6/2017
Jersey is consulting on the introduction of a land development charge, to be called the Jersey Infrastructure Levy.

ADGM Establishes REIT Regime
20/6/2017
Abu Dhabi Global Market, the low-tax international financial center, has introduced a private real estate investment trusts regime.

Jersey Research Highlights China HNW Succession Issues
15/6/2017
Jersey's financial services promotion agency, Jersey Finance, has published new research on the key challenges facing wealth management practitioners working with China's wealthiest individuals.

NZ Foreign Trust Numbers Expected To Fall
27/6/2017
Fewer than 70 out of 11,645 New Zealand foreign trusts have reregistered following the introduction of tougher disclosure and eligibility requirements, with only three weeks left to go before the final deadline.

Abu Dhabi Tax-Free Zone To Launch Foundations
2/6/2017
Abu Dhabi Global Market, the low-tax international financial center, is seeking feedback on its proposal to allow the formation of "foundations," a trust-like entity widely used in civil law jurisdictions.

IoM Consults On Funds Sector Rules
22/5/2017
The Isle of Man Financial Services Authority, which supervises the island's financial services sector, is seeking feedback on draft guidance dealing with the governance of collective investment schemes.

Dubai Tax-Free Zone Seeing New Business From India
19/5/2017
The Dubai International Financial Centre, the leading financial hub in the United Arab Emirates, has become an increasingly popular destination for Indian banks, financial institutions, and fund managers, the zone has said.

Guernsey Issues Warning On 'Sark Company Registry'
18/5/2017
The Guernsey Financial Services Commission has issued a warning concerning an entity named "Sark Company Registry," while investigations are ongoing.

Abu Dhabi Free Zone Hopes To Attract Venture Capital Firms
15/5/2017
Abu Dhabi Global Market, the low-tax international financial center, has unveiled a regulatory framework for managers of venture capital funds.

Australian Budget Targets Housing, Tax Compliance
10/5/2017
Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison's 2017 Budget focused on measures to cool the housing market and crack down on tax avoidance.

Australia Delays Action On Stapled Structures
2/5/2017
The Australian Government has decided to extend a review into the taxation of stapled structures. It will not tackle the issue at the upcoming Budget.

BVI Financial Firms Need To Develop New Niches
13/4/2017
BVI Finance, the financial services industry promotional agency, has said the industry must actively adapt to target new opportunities and promote new offerings internationally.

ADGM Revises Pooled Fund Capital Req's
11/4/2017
Abu Dhabi Global Market, the low-tax international financial center, has revised the capital requirements applicable to managers of collective investment funds, with effect from April 10, 2017.

ADGM Consults On Allowing REITs
6/4/2017
Abu Dhabi Global Market, the low-tax international financial center, is consulting stakeholders on plans to allow the establishment of private real estate investment trusts.

Gibraltar To Offer Foundations
4/4/2017
Gibraltar's Parliament recently passed a bill permitting the establishment of Private Foundations.