Business Environment

flag Mauritania Mauritania: Business Environment

In this page: Accounting Rules | Tax Rates | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework | Standards | Business Practices


Accounting Rules

Tax Year
The fiscal year is the calendar year.
Accounting Standards
Mauritania has a Chart of Accounts but the requirements concerning presentation of accounts are not yet very well developed. Mauritanian GAAP are applied.
Accounting Regulation Bodies
Central Mauritanian Bank
Mauritanian Court of Accounts
Accounting Reports
Companies must establish a balance sheet, operating account and profit and loss account. Every year an inventory indicating the expenses and liabilities is established, as well as a profit and loss account.
Publication Requirements
No obligation of publication.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
Mauritanian National Order of Chartered Accountants
Certification and Auditing
Financial statements of all companies must be audited annually by a qualified auditor applying ONECRIM's standards. You can contact an external auditor: BSD & Associés.
Accounting News

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
Value-added Tax (VAT)
Tax Rate
The standard VAT rate is 16%
Reduced Tax Rate
Exports of goods and services are zero-rated.
A higher rate of 18% applies to telecommunications services, whereas the rate for petroleum products is 20%.
Other Consumption Taxes
Consumer taxes applied to imported products and local products are the same. Certain products (notably tobacco, alcohol, petroleum products, sugar, dairy products, etc.) are subject to excise tax in addition to customs duty and VAT.
In addition to customs duties (0%, 5%, 13%, 20%, and 22%, depending on the nature of the goods and customs regime), most imports are subject to a statistical tax of 1%.
A vehicle tax also applies.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
The standard corporate tax rate is 25% of net taxable profit or 2% of taxable revenue, whichever is higher.
In any case the tax payable cannot be less than MRU 100,000
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
Resident and non-resident companies are subject to corporate tax only on income generated from activities carried out in Mauritania (territorial system).
A non-resident company that does not have a permanent establishment in Mauritania but that provides services in the country can elect, prior approval from the tax authorities, to be subject to simplified taxation by way of a 15% withholding tax applicable on the contract value for the provision of services.
Remittances by a branch to a head office are subject to a 10% withholding tax.
Capital Gains Taxation
Capital gains of resident and non-resident companies are taxed as general taxable income at a rate of 25% (or 2%, where applicable). However, the capital gains may be tax-exempt if the entity commits to reinvest the amount of the capital gains within three years from the end of the financial year in which they arose.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Business expenses are generally deductible unless specifically excluded by law. Fixed assets may be depreciated using the straight-line method at specified rates. Provisions are generally deductible for tax purposes if they provide for clearly specified losses or expenses that are likely to occur and if they appear in the financial statements and in a specific statement in the tax return.
Several expenses cannot be deducted, including penalties, fines and depreciation exceeding the rates provided in the tax law. Management fees payments can be deducted up to 2% of the turnover.
Payments made to the National Social Solidarity Fund against COVID-19 are fully deductible, so as taxes paid (except for corporate income tax). Losses can be carried forward for up to five years.
Other Corporate Taxes
Other taxes include payroll tax, vehicle tax, social security contributions (15% of the employee’s monthly salary, capped at MRU 7,000), property tax (the rate is determined by deliberation of the municipal council between 3% and 10% - generally 8% - and it applies to the rental value obtained), gift tax, business activity tax (calculated based on the turnover of the company, up to MRU 500,000), registration duties (on transfers of real property or businesses at rates that range between 0.25% and 15%), stamp duty, etc.
Other Domestic Resources
Directorate General for Taxation, in French or Arabic
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Mauritania Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 33.0 36.6 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 270.0 284.8 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 67.0 47.3 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Individual tax rate Progressive rate from 15% to 40%
MRU 0 - 9,000 15%
MRU 9,001 and 21,000 25%
MRU 21,000 and above 40%
Rents paid to individuals 18% withholding tax
Remuneration paid for services rendered by a resident 2.5% WHT
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Individual deductions include mandatory social security and pension contributions, life insurance premiums, and interest paid on loans.
Benefits in kind are not taxable unless they exceed 20% of salary.
Individuals that carry out industrial, commercial and non-commercial activities may deduct expenses incurred in generating taxable profits. However, the following expenses may not be deducted: (i) exchange gains and losses; (ii) donations and subsidies; (iii) deemed deferred depreciation; and (iv) provisions; in addition, it is not possible for such individuals to take accelerated depreciation.
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
Both Mauritanian nationals and foreigners are subject to taxation on their Mauritanian-source income.
Non-Mauritanian nationals also are subject to tax on salary paid outside of Mauritania for work performed in the country.
Foreign non-established suppliers are subject to a 15% withholding tax on sums paid to non-residents for services they provide or use in Mauritania.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
See the list of tax conventions proposed by the Directorate General for Taxation
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 10%, Interest: 10%, Royalties: 0% (residents)/15% (non-residents)

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
The Ministry of Mining and Industry has jurisdiction over matters of protecting intellectual property. For authors' rights, protection falls under the Department of Cultural Cooperation and the Protection of Authors' Rights of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Orientation.
Regional Organisations
Mauritania is one of the 16 member countries of AIPO, African Intellectual Property Organization, The current regulation concerning intellectual property is based on the Bangui treaty of 1977.
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Law n° 17/97 relating to the protection of industrial property.
20 years Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Treaty revising the Bangui Treaty of March 2, 1977 on the creation of African Organization for Intellectual Property, February 1999
 10 years, renewable for consecutive 10-year periods
Treaty revising the Bangui Treaty of March 2, 1977
5 years, renewable for two consecutive 5-year periods  
Treaty revising the Bangui Treaty of March 2, 1977
Until 70 years after the author's death Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
WIPO Copyright Treaty
Industrial Models
Treaty revising the Bangui Treaty of March 2, 1977
5 years, renewable for two consecutive periods of 5 years  

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
The judiciary in Mauritania is not independent. It is heavily influenced by the government. Many decisions are shaped by Islamic law, especially in family and civil matters.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Foreign nationals cannot expect an impartial trial from the country's judicial system.
The Language of Justice
The judicial language in the country is Arabic.
Recourse to an Interpreter
An interpreter can be organized.
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
The main source of the law is the constitution of 1991 (modified through a referendum in June 2006). The country's legal system is a combination of Islamic law and French civil law. 
Checking National Laws Online
Mauritanian Developmental Webportal

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National Standards Organisations
Department of standardization and quality promotion, In French or Arabic
Integration in the International Standards Network
The Mauritanian regulatory environment is characterized by poor norms and regulations. The recently created Department for standardization and quality promotion (DNPQ) is a Directorate of the Ministry of Mines and Industry whose mission concerns standardization, certification, accreditation and metrology. The DNPQ is a correspondent member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Classification of Standards
National standards are derived from international ones.
Online Consultation of Standards
Legislative changes in the matter of regulation techniques are published in the Official Journal of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
Certification Organisations
Department of Standardization and quality promotion

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Business Practices

General Information
Worldbiz, World Business website on Mauritania
Opening Hours and Days
During the week, people work from 8AM to 4PM from Sunday to Thursday. Banks and administrative offices are open from 8AM to 1PM. Friday and Saturday are week-end days but for the majority of Mauritanian workers, they only have a right to a free Friday.

Public Holidays

Year's Day January 1
Labor Day May 1
The Organization of African Unity Day May 25
Independence Day November 28
Aid El Fitr Variable, indicates the end of Ramadan
Aid El Adha Variable, 70 days after the end of Ramadan
Aid El Mawled Variable
Islamic New Year Variable

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Aid El Fitr Between 2 and 10 days depending on the region
Aid El Adha Between 2 and 10 days depending on the region

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Latest Update: May 2024