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25 Jun, 2015

Mauritius to join fight against international tax avoidance and evasion

Paris, OECD media release, 24 June 2015 – In line with the international movement towards more transparency and exchange of information, Mauritius has taken a significant step to enhance its exchange of information legal framework and has signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. It is the seventh member of the African Tax Administration Forum to join the Convention and becomes the 87th jurisdiction participating to this truly global instrument to fight international tax avoidance and evasion.

Mr. Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, Minister of Finance and Economic Development signed the Convention in the presence of the OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria.

Developed by the OECD and the Council of Europe, the Convention provides a comprehensive multilateral framework for the exchange of information and assistance in tax collection. Its coverage includes administrative assistance between tax authorities for information exchange including automatic exchange, simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in the collection of tax debts.

Signature of the Mutual Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters with Mr. Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Mauritius
Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of OECD; Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo,
Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Mauritius
OECD Headquarters, Paris, France
Photo: OECD/ Andrew Wheeler

On 24 October 2014, Mauritius was among the first 51 jurisdictions (the early adopters), which signed a multilateral competent authority agreement to automatically exchange information on financial account information (the new international standard) based on Article 6 of the Multilateral Convention. Subsequent signatures of the agreement bring the total number of jurisdictions to 61. Mauritius has committed to start exchanging automatically in 2017 and now has joined the legal instrument which once ratified serves as the basis for the implementation of the multilateral competent authority agreement already signed.

Mauritius has been very active in ensuring effective implementation of international standards of transparency and exchange of information which is also evidenced by its long standing commitment to implementing the standards. It is a member of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of information and the 2014 peer review of Mauritius concluded that it is largely Compliant with the standard of exchange of information on request.

The 87 jurisdictions participating in the Convention can be found at: http://www.oecd.org/ctp/exchangeof-tax-information/Status_of_convention.pdf

During his presence at the OECD Minister Lutchmeenaraidoo also met with the Director for Development Centre, Mario Pezzini, and his senior staff to discuss about the fruitful ongoing cooperation and possible future areas of work between Mauritius and the Development Centre. Mauritius has been a member of the Centre since 2009.

In his opening remarks, Mr Gurría made the following comments (as prepared for delivery):

Minister Lutchmeenaraidoo, ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to welcome you this morning for the signing of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, the most powerful single instrument for international tax co-operation. Mauritius becomes the 87th jurisdiction to join the club!

In Berlin last October, Mauritius joined 50 other jurisdictions in committing to implement automatic exchange of information and to begin sharing financial account information automatically by 2017 and 2018. With the Convention, Mauritius is moving forward to turn that commitment into a reality. The Convention will provide the legal basis for Mauritius to undertake tax information exchange, as well as other forms of cross-border cooperation, across its large network of trade and investment partners.

Of course, these are just the latest steps Mauritius has taken towards best practice in tax transparency. Mauritius first became a member of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information when it was restructured in 2009. Mauritius was one of the first jurisdictions to undergo the Global Forum’s peer review process for EOI on request, and its combined Phase 1 and Phase 2 report was published in 2011. In November 2013, Mauritius was rated as ‘largely compliant’ – the second highest rating possible. It has demonstrated its ongoing dedication to improving its framework by addressing the Forum’s recommendations, making further changes to its tax information exchange regime, which were reflected in the OECD’s 2014 supplementary report.

So, I would like to congratulate Mauritius on its ongoing commitment and progress on tax transparency. We look forward to continuing to work with you and support your implementation of automatic exchange in line with the global standard.