GIS – 11 September, 2019: The key achievements of the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) for financial year 2018-2019, and the numerous initiatives taken to implement new budgetary measures, in particular new tax measures in line with the Finance Act 2019, were highlighted, today, during MRA’s annual press conference, in Port-Louis.
The MRA’s Director General, Mr Sudhamo Lal, spoke about the performance of the institution and indicated that Mauritius moved from its 10th worldwide ranking in the 2018 Paying Taxes Index to the 6th position in the 2019 Index.
The Director General recalled that the revenue collection amounted to approximately Rs 97.810 billion as compared to Rs 87.180 billion for the year 2017-2018, representing an increase of 12.2 % over the preceding year. As for efficiency gains, the arrears collection of the MRA for this financial year, amounts to Rs 3.712 million in comparison to Rs 2.612 in the preceding financial year.
Moreover, Mr Lal stated that the tax yields for 2018/19 amounts to Rs 5.123 million compared to Rs 7.176 million for the previous year. The institution, he added, has adopted a zero-tolerance policy for non-filers of tax returns in order to broaden the Taxpayer Base. In fact, the Director General indicated, the Non-Filers Unit has issued automatic tax claim and letters and has also undertaken site visits and tax audits on non-filers. Some 75 site visits have been effected while 710 automatic tax claims for Rs 21.5 million were issued to non-compliant companies. Some 1 869 returns already received showed Rs 46 million as tax and 377 non-filing companies were assessed for total tax yield of Rs 242 million.
Mr Lal also reiterated MRA’s intent to tackle tax frauds and emphasised that the MRA carries out fiscal investigations to probe into offences being made by taxpayers. Tax evasion, he cautioned, is a serious offence and, on conviction by Court, may lead to severe fines and even imprisonment. The MRA, he pointed out, is currently prosecuting some 30 taxpayers for failure to pay tax for an amount of Rs 100 million. The MRA has reinforced its Legal Team recently and will be having recourse to more prosecution for tax evasion in the months to come, he announced.
Speaking about narcotics seizure, the Director General stated that the total number of seizures amounts to 110, representing a value of Rs 727 157 755. There were some 490 of other seizures including undeclared and falsely declared currency, representing a value of Rs 69 913 374.
As regards MRA’s endeavor to help reduce Income Inequality, Mr Lal underlined that the MRA has paid Rs 218 million under the Negative Income Tax Allowance (NITA) to some 66 759 distinct low-income earners, and some 71 963 persons benefitted from the Special Allowance (SPA) for an amount of Rs 343 million, in 2018-2019. Since the start of each Scheme, a total of Rs 848 million has been paid out namely Rs 393 million under NITA and R 455 million under SPA and approximately 113 000 distinct beneficiaries have benefitted from these allowances at least once since November 2017.
Furthermore, the Director General underpinned the effective and reliable international cooperation with foreign authorities as regards the sharing of data on foreign financial accounts including bank account, insurance contracts and investment funds. This, he said, enables the MRA to get access to valuable information as regards the financial assets held by Mauritians overseas. He made an appeal to all those taxpayers who may have derived locally sourced income and transferred the same overseas without paying tax thereon to join the Incentive Schemes and declare the unpaid taxes.
As regards MRA’s projects in the pipeline, these include: introduction of a one-time Password for taxpayers; SMS notification to taxpayer; referral of Cases to Integrity Reporting Services Agency; transparency in Tax audit; New Client Relationship Management System; and, an Integrated Governmental Clearance Centre.
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