Mauritius ready to walk extra mile to sort out tax issues
Port Louis: Committing to walk extra mile to sort out taxation issues, Mauritius Sunday said it was ready with the Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) and was awaiting response from India.
On black money routed into India, Mauritius Minister of Foreign Affairs (Regional Integration and International Trade) Arvin Boolell said the island nation would plug all loopholes and put in place all necessary checks and balances.
"When it comes to disclosure of information, we have made it almost mandatory. Our finance minister is looking forward to travel to India to strengthen exchange of information to sign TIEA. Text has been finalised to this effect. TIEA is ready to be signed," Boolell said in an interview.
He said Mauritius is going to "rest fears from all quarters" that black money is routed through the nation.
"Whatever loopholes are to be plugged ... We are willing to plug them. We are (a) jurisdiction which has put in place all necessary precautions, all necessary checks and balances...," he said.
On amending the double taxation avoidance agreement between the two nations, Boolell said Mauritius is waiting for India to finalise the date for the next meeting of the Joint Working Group.
"We are willing partners and we are willing to walk the extra mile... That extra mile is in respect of alleged contentious issues... We are going to address them.
"We all want certainty and this is the purpose of this meeting of the joint working group," he said.
The two countries had signed the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) in 1982 when Indira Gandhi was India's Prime Minister, and the treaty was a part of various steps initiated by the two countries for strengthening the flow of investments to and from Mauritius.
As far as the progress in the long-pending revision of the DTAA is concerned, Boolell said, Mauritius has submitted the proposal with regard to limitation of benefit (LOB) to the Indian authorities.
While the tax treaty with Mauritius has helped in driving a significant flow of foreign investments coming to India through Mauritius over the years, there have also been concerns in the recent years about suspected misuse of this pact for round-tripping of funds and laundering of illicit money by Indian entities through this Indian Ocean island nation.
Consequently, India sought to revise the treaty a few years ago, but the matter has been dragging on for one or other reason, although a joint working group has been working on revision of the pact for quite some time.
The India-Mauritius Joint Working Group met in December, 2011, and again in August, 2012, to discuss concerns on the operation of the India-Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Convention.