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Establishing a business presence in Qatar

The Qatar National Vision for the year 2030 set out four guiding principles on the basis of which the State of Qatar aims to create a sustainable economy and advance the standard of living of its people. 
This economic development strategy has been very successful and the investment incentives, infrastructure, banking services, insurances and political and social stability are contributing factors in creating an excellent business climate.
 
Company Formation in Qatar
In order to establish a business presence in Qatar foreign companies and organizations must have one or more national partners whose share in the company capital must not be less than 51%.
Here must be noted that the parties' profit share do not necessarily have to reflect their equity stake. Therefore, foreign investors wishing to establish business operations in Qatar engaged in most of the commercial business activities must do so with a partner who is a Qatari national.
 
Qatar welcomes foreign participation to invest in all the various sectors of national economy with 51% Qatari participation. To promote foreign investment in Qatar Government has enacted new Foreign Investment Laws permitting 100 % foreign ownership in business sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, health, education, tourism power and projects which develop and utilize the State's natural resources.
However the law does not allow a non-Qatari to participate in banking, insurance, commercial agency or real estate trading activities. Full foreign ownership is also viable for companies registering under different zones
 
Available Company structure
There are a number of different ways of establishing a business in Qatar, and the requirements vary depending on the nature of business and capital investment. Follow the link to help you identify the correct structure for your company’s future opportunities, as it has a direct impact on your personal liability, tax obligations, and ability to raise capital. 
 
Business culture in Qatar
If you are planning on visiting Qatar strictly for business purpose; the most favorable time for visit would be between the months of October to June. Usually the officers from private and public sectors go for vacation during the time frame between July and September.
Avoid coming to Qatar for business trips during the fasting month of Ramadan as this is the time when businesses in Qatar give more priority to family and worship.
 
The two main religious festivals that differs every year as per the lunar calendar; Eid Al- Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. During this time the government ministries are closed for a much more duration of time as compared to the private companies. In the State of Qatar, working hours are from Sunday to Thursday.
 
Company Taxation
Taxation is covered by Law 11 of 1993 and Law 9 of 1989
Companies owned by foreign nationals must pay tax on their activities. Qatar companies do not pay tax, but foreign partners must pay tax on their share of the business.
GCC citizens and companies are treated as Qatari Nationals for the purpose of tax and therefore do not pay tax on their business activities.
 
Tax declarations have to be made within four months of the end of the financial year. Companies with profits exceeding QAR100,000 have to submit audited financial statements certified by a registered Qatar accountant to support their declaration.
 
Qatar Tax rates start at 10% at profits between 100,000 and 500,000 riyals and rise to a total of 35% for profit above 5,000,000 riyals.
 
There is currently no taxation for employees on income tax
The employer in Qatar arranges for the work visa and residence permit to be processed. Before a visa is approved it has to be reviewed by the Ministry of Interior.
In order to procure required permits for working and doing business in Qatar, the sponsoring company must hire a public relation officer (PRO) eligible to submit application and collect issued permits from the immigration authorities.
Qatari sponsorship
Expats who wish to work in Qatar require a sponsor to do so. This sponsor is typically their employer. Expats can only work for their sponsor and for nobody else for at least two years. After that time period and with a clearance letter from their sponsor, they are allowed to find a new employer and transfer their sponsorship.
 
All residents except the spouse and children under the sponsorship of their family members are required to obtain an exit permit when leaving Qatar.
The sponsor is responsible for arranging the exit permit. 
 
We at QShield can help you navigate through the various requirements and provide you with the assistance needed to close all the formalities on time. 
Qshield’s  business and relocation specialists are ready to accompany you every step of the way, providing unrivalled professional services.
 
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