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Seychelles Enacts BEPS Legislation

Friday, December 28, 2018

Seychelles has enacted numerous legislative amendments that are intended to enable Seychelles to comply with the OECD's base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) minimum standards.

The laws, which received assent from President Danny Faure on December 20, 2018, are:

  • The Seychelles Pension Fund (Amendment) Act, 2018;
  • The International Trade Zone (Amendment) Act, 2018;
  • The International Business Companies (Amendment) Act, 2018;
  • The Companies (Special Licences) (Amendment) Act, 2018;
  • The Securities (Amendment) Act, 2018;
  • The Insurance (Amendment) Act, 2018;
  • The Mutual Fund and Hedge Fund (Amendment) Act, 2018; and
  • The Business Tax (Amendment) Act, 2018

The Government said all the laws, except the pension fund amendment, "will enable Seychelles to be compliant with the BEPS framework of the OECD, which will contribute to greater international confidence in the country's financial risk assessment."

Back in March 2018, Ingela Willfors, a United Nations tax expert from the Swedish Ministry of Finance, warned that Seychelles was lacking the resources and capacity to effectively respond to the OECD's recommendations. She recommended that authorities focus on those measures that must be implemented to meet international best standards – namely the BEPS minimum standards, on preventing treaty abuse, the introduction of country-by-country reporting rules, improving dispute resolution mechanisms, and tackling harmful tax practices.

Seychelles signed up to the BEPS multilateral instrument to make changes to its tax treaties in June 2017. The Seychelles has for the past two years received support from Sweden on BEPS implementation, as part of a twinning program.

Seychelles was this year to be peer reviewed on its compliance with the BEPS minimum standards on Action 5, Harmful Tax Practices, Action 6, Preventing Treaty Abuse, and Action 13, country-by-country reporting. In 2020, it will be reviewed on its implementation of recommendations on improving dispute resolution mechanisms.