Mauritius: The Financial Services Institute (FSI), in collaboration with Andersen (Mauritius) Ltd, launched, this morning, a training on Tax Series 2023 on the theme ‘Demystifying the Mauritian Tax Administrative System’, at Hennessy Park Hotel, in Ebène.
The Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun; the Director of the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), Mr Mahmad Oozeer; and other personalities were present on occasion.
In his keynote address, Minister Seeruttun indicated that this initiative brought together the FSI and Andersen (Mauritius) Ltd in a public-private collaboration aimed at enhancing the understanding, practical application and compliance of relevant local and international laws related to taxation.
“I believe that this public-private proposition, with its year-long calendar of literacy events, is the first of its kind aimed at minimising tax complexity and raising the level of taxpayer awareness and compliance,” he pointed out.
Furthermore, the Minister stressed that in order to maintain good standing with international standard setters such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Union, it was essential to inculcate a culture of adherence to local and international tax laws that put the country at par with other established and reputed International Finance Centres (IFC).
On this score, he reiterated the importance of specialist training in the field of taxation, fund management or wealth management, among others, adding that these Tax Series were most welcomed as a new chapter in the financial services sector’s Training Calendar. “One of the priority areas for the financial services sector this year is talent development so as to ensure that we have the skills required to meet the needs of the future,” Mr Seeruttun stated.
In addition, the Minister remarked that continuous learning as regards financial education was central to overall economic prosperity. On this note, he announced that the financial services sector was putting in place a suite of courses and training programmes aimed at building on the strengths of people, as such education campaigns would help forge the compliance culture and attitude needed among the population.
Speaking on the Tax Series 2023, Mr Seeruttun underlined that these aimed at demystifying complex issues in the tax administration system and would provide invaluable insights from the perspectives of the Regulator as well as Tax experts.
“Every IFC needs a strong team of tax professionals and advisors who master the tax administration system and hold the expertise in navigating the tax administration system for and on behalf of clients and investors,” he said.
Furthermore, Minister Seeruttun commended the MRA for their laudable efforts in modernising the country’s tax administration system, adding that the efforts of the MRA over the years had resulted in the remarkable score achieved by Mauritius, which jumped to the fifth position in the World Bank’s Ease of Paying Taxes Index.
Mr Oozeer, speaking on behalf of the Director-General of the MRA, Mr Sudhamo Lal, highlighted that the world of taxation was under constant evolution with pronounced developments taking place in technology which were impacting, directly and indirectly, the tax system.
“It is therefore critical for our people to learn, understand and impart the changes taking place in taxation, both locally and internationally, as taxation has an important bearing on our financial services sector and may affect its attractiveness and viability,” he pointed out.
Furthermore, the Director commended the partnership between the FSI and tax professionals such as Andersen for their initiatives to deliver expert tax training and disseminate tax knowledge. On this note, Mr Oozeer appealed to the academia to be in constant dialogue with tax professionals and the tax administration so as to learn about the needs of the industry in terms of skills and expertise.
“The level of voluntary compliance,” he underscored, “depends on the tax literacy of the population.” On this note, Mr Oozeer dwelt on some initiatives taken by the financial services sector geared towards making the population at large more tax literate, including: the publishing of guides, booklets and leaflets; several educational and awareness campaigns, year in and year out, for stakeholders; and educating students about taxation by introducing some basics about taxation in Mauritius in the school curriculum at Grade 7.
“At the level of the MRA, a major initiative that shall be promoted in 2023 will be the concept of ‘tax governance’ as our aim will be to bring a culture change within large corporations with an enhanced involvement of the board of large companies in the tax strategy of these companies,” the Director indicated.
Mr Oozeer emphasised that increasing globalisation and digitalisation had been adding layers of complexity to the tax system and to the tax administration in maintaining or enhancing tax compliance.
“Therefore, the challenge for all of us is to adapt to the new world order by working together, sharing our views and ideas and publishing papers, articles, and magazines for the empowerment of every tax stakeholder,” he stressed.