05.15.17

Seychelles alters Tax Exemption for 13th month salary

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles government, Seychelles legislation, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 7:16 pm by Robert Klien

The Seychelles Government has recently published legislation in the Official Gazette to amend the jurisdiction’s individual tax regime.

Published in the Official Gazette on April 13, 2017, the Income and Non-Monetary Benefits Tax Act (Exemption) Order, 2017, sets the value of 13th month pay that an employee can receive tax-free at SCR10,000 (USD733).

Payments in excess of this amount will be subject to tax at 15%.

04.06.17

Transparency Initiative Seychelles to fight corruption

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 6:04 pm by Robert Klien

Transparency Initiative Seychelles was officially launched in the beginning of April. This is a new non-governmental organisation, a part of the global entity Transparency International (TI).

Chrystold Chetty, the chair of Transparency Initiative Seychelles, said that the group joined the international organisation as people in Seychelles are asking for more transparency.

The launch of Transparency Initiative Seychelles was done at the end of a 2-day workshop hosted earlier this week on illicit financial cash flows from Africa. Participants were from TI members from the region such as Nigeria, South Africa and Mauritius. The workshop countries explored ways to resolve the issue of money that comes illegally from African countries and how as members of TI they can lobby their respective governments to put in place measures and structures to stop the illicit financial flows.

Transparency International (TI) is working in 35 countries in Africa. Transparency Initiative Seychelles was set up in October 2016 as the newest member of the organisation.

At the opening of the workshop, the founder of TI Peter Eigen, said that the “TI was set up about 25 years ago with the idea to help stop international corruption.” He noted: “We have seen that many countries, in particular in Africa, suffer from systemic bribery by companies from Europe and the United States. We have to stop these companies from bribing the decision makers in Africa, in Asia and in Latin America.”

11.06.16

Seychelles’ financial survey reveals more education is needed

Posted in Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 6:03 pm by Robert Klien

In accordance with the Seychelles’ first financial literacy survey, the majority of people in Seychelles know about financial products and services and have access to them, but do not know about how to use and evaluate these services.

The findings of the baseline survey were presented by Abel Motsomi of FinMark Trust, an independent organisation based in South Africa, which carried out the survey along with the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) and the local Financial Services Authority.

The objective of the study which was recommended as part of the Financial Sector Development Implementation Plan was to measure and provide credible benchmarks on financial literacy and capability.

Beggita Vital, the Payment Systems officer at CBS, said 562 interviews were conducted on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, the three most populated islands in Seychelles.

The study showed that 94% of the participants have transacted with a bank and most knew about financial products and services available and had access to them. However, they were not necessarily knowledgeable about how to evaluate and use these services.

“Another common complaint that we receive at CBS by customers is that they were not aware that as guarantor of a loan, they are responsible to repay the loan in the event of a default by the borrower and this also came out of the study,” Vital said.

Other findings show that 94% of the people interviewed had transacted with a bank, and 87% wanted to improve their financial situation while 46% did not have a plan of what to do.

On the need for financial information, 38% felt they wanted to know more including how to save, invest and budget. While 83% of the people interviewed knew how much they earned or received, only 14% kept track of how much they lend.

The results of the study will be used to develop a national strategy for financial education in Seychelles.

09.20.16

Seychelles and India to exchange Tax Information

Posted in Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 2:51 pm by Robert Klien

Signed last year, the tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) between India and Seychelles has entered into force.

The TIEA entered into force on June 28, 2016, following the completion of domestic ratification procedures by both countries.

The agreement will enable the Competent Authorities of Seychelles and India to provide assistance through exchange of information relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of the countries concerning taxes.

The information will be provided by each jurisdiction’s competent authority on request.

“India and Seychelles will ensure that its Competent Authority has the authority to obtain and provide “information held by banks, other financial institutions, and any persons acting in an agency or fiduciary capacity, including nominees and trustees; information regarding the legal and beneficial ownership of companies, partnerships, collective investment funds or schemes, trusts, foundations, ‘Anstalten,’ and other persons.”

The TIEA also provides for a Mutual Agreement Procedure for resolving differences as regards its implementation or interpretation.

09.16.16

Seychelles is 36th World’s Freest Economy

Posted in Business and Economy, International relations, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 6:47 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles was ranked 36th out of 159 countries and territories in the Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World report.

Top position was occupied by Hong Kong which became the world’s freest economy for the 22nd consecutive year. It was followed by Singapore. The other nations in the top 10 are New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Georgia, Ireland, Mauritius, the UAE, and Australia and the UK.

The rankings of some other major countries are as follows: the United States was 16th, Germany was 30th; Japan was 40th; South Korea was 42nd; France was 57th; and Italy – 69th.

05.15.16

Seychelles ready to support Sri Lanka’s probe on offshore bank accounts

Posted in International relations, Offshore Banking, Offshore Services, Seychelles government, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 2:16 pm by Robert Klien

The government of Seychelles is ready to cooperate with the Sri Lankan government in its efforts to investigate into fraud and corruption, especially with regard to offshore bank accounts and assets in the Seychelles.

The Seychelles is already cooperating with the Sri Lankan government through the Finance Investigation Unit in Seychelles with regard to investigations into any fraud and corruption.

Seychelles Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Didlier Dogley said that Seychelles has signed the OECD guidelines for offshore banking to keep offshore dealings transparent. So, all information on transactions can be inspected and checked by authorized bodies. He noted that owners have to be declared for each account opened in Seychelles. Earlier in other jurisdictions, people were able to open a briefcase and didn’t have to declare ownership, while this is impossible today as all jurisdictions are reviewed. The minister said that Seychelles is “one of the countries that is clean” as it is abiding by all international rules.

The Seychelles is ready to help the Sri Lankan government in investigating fraud and corruption. “We have made sure that we are not allowing the wrong people into our country. So if there is any investigation, Seychelles will cooperate as long as it is reciprocal on both sides,” the minister added.

04.09.16

Norway says DNB Bank must explain Seychelles policy

Posted in Business and Economy, Offshore Banking, Offshore Services, Seychelles companies, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 2:24 pm by Robert Klien

Norway’s biggest bank DNB must provide a written explanation of its policy of helping clients register offshore companies in the Seychelles, the Norwegian industry minister said in a statement on April 4.

Trade and Industry Minister Monica Maeland said: “DNB says this should not have happened and that the bank should not have participated.”

The Norwegian government is the bank’s top owner with a stake of 34%. DNB’s Seychelles activities were first reported by daily Aftenposten, quoting leaked documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The leak involves more than 11.5 million documents from the files of the law firm, revealing details of hundreds of thousands of clients in multiple jurisdictions.

DNB said in a separate statement it regretted assisting about 40 customers in establishing the offshore companies between 2006 and 2010, and that the practice had ended.

11.03.15

OECD re-rates Seychelles as “largely compliant”

Posted in International Organisations, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 2:39 pm by Robert Klien

Sixteen peer review reports were released at the recent plenary meeting of the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes on October 29-30, 2015. The release of the reports follows reviews of those territories’ legislation for the exchange of tax information and their frameworks for the exchange of tax information in practice.

Along with Cyprus and Luxembourg, the Seychelles had previously been rated “non-compliant.” Following significant changes to its legal frameworks or practices, the jurisdiction has been assigned a new rating of “largely compliant.”

05.13.15

Seychelles and Qingdao promoting mutual trade and investment

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, Double Taxation Agreements, Financial Services, Foreign investments, International Organisations, International relations, Seychelles infrastructure, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 1:16 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles and Qingdao, a major port city of China’s eastern province of Shandong, have widely discussed trade and investment opportunities between entrepreneurs from both jurisdictions.

A 1-day business forum was held on May 12 in the northern part of the Seychelles main island of Mahé, where about 30 local companies and representatives of some 20 businesses from Qingdao could have business-to-business meetings and discuss the possibilities for cooperation in infrastructure, banking, import and export, shipping, and construction.

According to the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB), it had responded to the Qingdao delegation’s proposal to organise the forum as the group are currently on a tour of the Indian Ocean to establish business contacts and develop partnerships.

SIB’s Chief Executive, Rupert Simeon, told SNA that the Qingdao delegation have already been to Mauritius and are now heading to Sri Lanka.

It should be noted that a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTA) already exists between Seychelles and China allowing businessmen operating in the two countries to pay tax in one of the jurisdictions and avoid taxation in the other, aiming to encourage trade and investment between the two jurisdictions. Also, Seychelles is a member of both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) trade alliances and was recently welcomed as the 161st member of the World Trade Organisation. So, there should be much interest from Chinese businesses especially in the offshore sector that are using the tax structures in place to invest in the region.

03.13.15

Seychelles Confirms Tax Amnesty

Posted in Business and Economy, Financial Services, Seychelles legislation, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 2:49 pm by Robert Klien

The availability of an amnesty on penalties and interest for businesses that have outstanding tax debts and returns has been confirmed by the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC).

Further to measures to boost tax compliance announced in the 2015 Budget, the Commission has implemented a debt recovery plan. This plan will apply to business tax arrears for tax years up to 2013 (for amounts payable in 2014), and for withholding tax, duties, and all other taxes, for payments due for tax years up to 2014.

To settle their outstanding tax as at December 31, 2014, or to submit outstanding returns, taxpayers have 3 options. The program offers:
a) a 100% waiver of penalties and interest on arrears cleared by May 31, 2015;
b) a 50% waiver of penalties and interest on arrears cleared by August 31, 2015;
c) a 25% waiver of penalties and interest on arrears cleared by October 31, 2015.

The Seychelles Revenue Commission is urging taxpayers to take advantage of the amnesty and settle their tax liabilities.

In order to complement the arrangements, there will also be a more aggressive stance on debt collection.

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