Mauritius, as one of the leading International Financial Services Centre, offers two most common types of companies to international clients, namely the Category 1 Global Business companies and the Category 2 Global Business companies. The choice between the two types of companies will depend on a number of factors, some of which being the proposed activities and the geographical area of operation.
GBC 1 structures are commonly used by those clients wishing to benefit from the various Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements which Mauritius has with other jurisdictions. This is because a GBC 1 company is considered, for tax purposes, to be resident in Mauritius. A company holding a GBC 1 license can engage in any activity ranging from simple investment holding, fund management, insurance to other non-banking financial services.
With the recent amendments brought to the legislation in Mauritius, a GBC 1 company can now also deal with Mauritian Residents provided that prior written approval from the Financial Services Commission ("FSC") has been sought and that the conditions laid out in the Financial Services Act have been met.
Companies engaged in financial services business such as banking, insurance, investment management, investment advisory services, to name a few, can only be incorporated as GBC 1 companies and may apply for additional licences from the FSC wherever applicable.
Benefits of a GBC 1:
- A GBC 1 benefits from a deemed tax credit so that it will end up paying a maximum effective tax rate of 3% on its tradable profits
- There is no capital gains tax and no withholding tax on dividends, interest and royalties paid by a GBC 1 company
- As soon as a GBC 1 is qualified as tax resident in Mauritius, it will benefit from the tax treaty network
- There is no minimum capital requirement for a GBC 1 and the stated capital can be denominated in any currency except Mauritian Rupee
- A GBC 1 is allowed to have either par value (which may be stated in more than one currency) or no par value shares. The shares can be in the form of registered shares, ordinary shares, preference shares, redeemable shares and shares with or without voting rights. Bearer shares are not permissible in Mauritius. Nominee directors are not allowed
- Both individual and corporate bodies are allowed to be shareholders of a GBC 1
- It is to be noted that it is possible to apply for occupational permit for expatriates who are employees of the GBC1 Company
- Copy of passport
- Utility bill
- Bank reference
- Professional reference
- Certified copies of documents required on the Individual
- (Beneficial Owner/Shareholder/Director/Bank Signatory):
A GBC 1 must at all times have a minimum of two (2) Resident Directors, be managed and controlled from Mauritius, with board meetings held in Mauritius. It is to be noted that the concept of Corporate Director is not applicable in case of a GBC 1
- GBC 1 must at all times have a Resident Secretary and a Registered Office in Mauritius
- In addition, a GBC 1 must have a local auditor and its principle bank account with a local bank
- A GBC 1 must file an annual tax return with the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA)
- A GBC 1 must also file its audited financials prepared in accordance with internationally acceptable accounting standards, not later than 6 months after its financial year end
- The shareholders of a GBC 1 must hold an Annual Meeting in every calendar year and within 6
months of the company's balance sheet date
- It is to be noted that the names of shareholders and beneficial owners coupled with their corresponding due diligence documents must be disclosed to the FSC
- Accounting records and statutory records such as register of members, register of directors, minutes of all directors' and shareholders' meetings and resolutions, amongst others, must be kept at all times at the registered office of the GBC 1
- Conversion of a GBC 1 into a GBC 2 is permissible