734. Clarification regarding taxation of income from dividends and capital gains under the Indo-Mauritius Double Tax Avoidance Convention (DTAC)

1. The provisions of the Indo-Mauritius DTAC of 1983 apply to ‘residents’ of both India and Mauritius. Article 4 of the DTAC defines a resident of one State to mean "any person who, under the laws of that State is liable to taxation therein by reason of his domicile, residence, place of management or any other crite­rion of a similar nature." Foreign Institutional Investors and other investment funds, etc., which are operating from Mauritius are invariably incorporated in that country. These entities are ‘liable to tax’ under the Mauritius Tax law and are, therefore, to be considered as residents of Mauritius in accordance with the DTAC.

2. Prior to 1-6-1997, dividends distributed by domestic companies were taxable in the hands of the shareholder and tax was deductible at source under the Income-tax Act, 1961. Under the DTAC, tax was deductible at source on the gross dividend paid out at the rate of 5% or 15% depending upon the extent of sharehold­ing of the Mauritius resident. Under the Income-tax Act, 1961, tax was deductible at source at the rates specified under section 115A, etc. Doubts have been raised regarding the taxation of dividends in the hands of investors from Mauritius. It is hereby clarified that wherever a Certificate of Residence is issued by the Mauritian Authorities, such Certificate will constitute sufficient evidence for accepting the status of residence as well as beneficial ownership for applying the DTAC accordingly.

3. The test of residence mentioned above would also apply in respect of income from capital gains on sale of shares. Accord­ingly, FIIs, etc., which are resident in Mauritius would not be taxable in India on income from capital gains arising in India on sale of shares as per paragraph 4 of article 13.

Circular : No. 789, dated 13-4-2000.