Mauritius implements budgetary measures on 01Jul15 to mixed response
Several measures announced in Budget 2015-16 came into effect on Wednesday, 1st July 2015; among them, a cut in tax on iron bars, a rise in grants for casting roof slabs and increase in license fee for bookmakers, together with other measures to benefit taxpayers and SMEs, while curbing gaming operators.(Image:ionnews.mu)
From today onwards, instead of having the roof-casting allowance capped at Rs 65,000, Mauritian families with a salary below Rs 10,000 will benefit from higher financial support of Rs 75,000. Furthermore, Rs 40,000 will be granted to those with a monthly income in the range of Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000.
The abolition of the Rs 10 cents levy on SMS and MMS has also been brought into effect. Also, exemptions for parents with a child pursuing tertiary studies will be enhanced, whether the student be in Mauritius or abroad, to Rs 135,000 per child, and the allowable number of years will increase from 3 years of study to 6 years.
However, the gaming industry will be in the red with tighter measures, where bookmakers operating in Champ-de-Mars will see license costs rising from Rs 350,000 to a towering Rs 1 million. Those who operate outside Champ-de-Mars will pay a whopping Rs 3.5 million instead of Rs 350,000, and, as for bookmakers of football matches, they will also have to shell out Rs 3.5 million as license fee. Besides, the license fee for Lottotech has soared from Rs 500,000 to Rs 5.0 million.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will be in a better position to operate smoothly from now on, with the VAT registation threshold being increased from Rs 4 million to Rs 6 million. Moreover, there is no corporate tax or TDS for SMEs over the first eight years. However, they will have to respect certain criteria, such as registering with the SME Development Authority.
As for iron bars, the customs duty on iron bars has been slashed from 15% to 10%. The idea is to make the market more competitive to benefit consumers and make a home affordable for Mauritians.
Moreover, a first-time homeowner will be able to claim relief for the full amount of interest he paid on his mortgage loan and over the complete duration of that loan.
Additionally, the tax exemption ceiling has been increased, with the threshold for exemption of tax having risen by Rs 10,000 across the various categories of taxpayers. As an example, for a person who bears the expenses of one dependent, the exemption threshold has risen to Rs 395,000. For those who have two dependents and three dependents each, the scale has gone up from Rs 445,000 to Rs 455,000 and from Rs 485,000 to Rs 495,000 respectively.
Moreover, the allowance for purchase of building materials by families with an income at or less than Rs 10,000 a month will go up from Rs 55,000 to Rs 65,000. Besides, about 2,000 families will get the chance to apply for an allowance for roof casting or building materials.
Besides, consumers will now be more aware of prices with price display (inclusive of VAT) being made mandatory for consumer goods.
Additionally, those acquiring a piece of land for the first time will benefit from exemption of the registration fees on their purchase, if the value of the property is below Rs 1.5 million.
Finally, the exemption threshold on the lump sum received as pension, retirement allowance or severance allowance is being raised from Rs 1.5 million to Rs 2 million.