Business Environment

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

 

Accounting Rules

Tax Year
The tax year is generally the same as the calendar year, and a taxpayer must use this accounting period unless approval is obtained for a different year-end (in exceptional cases only).
The first accounting period may be more or less than 12 months, but it should not be less than six months or more than 18 months.
Accounting Standards
The Commercial Law No. 5 of 2002 requires all listed companies to prepare consolidated and separate company financial statements “in accordance with the accounting principles approved internationally”. Regulations of the Qatar Financial Markets Authority have defined this to mean IFRS Standards.
Accounting Regulation Bodies
Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA)
Ministry of Economy and Commerce
Qatar Exchange
Accounting Reports
The annual report has to include a balance sheet, a profit and loss account and a cash flow statement.
Publication Requirements
In general, all companies must file tax declarations within four months after the end of the accounting period. The due date may be extended at the discretion of the QTD, but the length of the extension may not exceed four months.
All accounting books, registers, and documents relating to activity in Qatar are required to be retained in Qatar for a ten-year period.

The Commercial Companies’ Law 11/2015 requires public shareholding companies to submit financial statements, in compliance with IFRS and IAS, to the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. Publicly listed companies should also publish financial statements 15 days before their annual general meeting, in two local newspapers (in Arabic and English) and on the company’s website. All companies are required to keep accounting records (including PSC, LLC and LPC), prepared according to standards promulgated by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).

Professional Accountancy Bodies
Qatar Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Gulf Cooperation Council Accounting and Auditing Organization (GCCAAO)
Certification and Auditing
A company's CIT return is required to be accompanied by audited financial statements if the company's capital or profit exceeds QAR 100,000 or the head office is situated outside Qatar. The tax declaration must be certified by an accountant in practice in Qatar who is registered with the Ministry of Finance. If this requirement is not satisfied, the Qatar Tax Department (QTD) rejects the tax declaration. The tax declaration and supporting audited financial statements must be denominated in QAR.
Accounting News

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
Currently, Qatar imposes no VAT or sales tax on operations in its territory. However, VAT is expected to be implemented by 2023, since Qatar is part of the GCC VAT framework.
Tax Rate
N/A at the moment. The standard rate of VAT in Qatar and the GCC should be 5%.
Reduced Tax Rate
N/A at the moment.
Other Consumption Taxes
Excise tax applies in Qatar from 1 January 2019 and is imposed both on imports and locally produced goods. Rates are 100% on tobacco products, energy drinks and “special purpose” goods and 50% on carbonated drinks.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
10%
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
An entity that is wholly or partially foreign-owned and that derives income from sources in Qatar is taxable in Qatar, regardless of the place of its incorporation.
A company is resident in Qatar if it is incorporated in accordance with Qatari laws, its head office or its place of effective management and control is situated in the country (residency is used to determine whether withholding taxes will apply on payments, but not for corporate income tax purposes).
Capital Gains Taxation
Capital gains are aggregated with other income and are subject to tax at the regular corporate income tax rate.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Expenses occurred to generate income are generally deductible, provided they are not capital in nature.
Other deductible expenditures include: employee costs (including salaries, wages, gratuities, and other ends of service benefits), losses resulting from the sale of assets, rents, insurance premiums. Bad debts are deductible subject to approval of the General Tax Authority. Interests on loans are deductible (subject to conditions). Entertainment expenses are deductible up to 2% of net income or QAR 500,000, whichever is lower.
Certain charitable contributions are deductible, up to 3% of the net profit in the year in which the deduction is claimed.
Payments to foreign head offices are deductible up to 3% of the total revenue less certain other costs (1% for banks and insurance companies).
Losses may be deducted from the net income during the year. Losses can be carried forward for five years after the year in which they were incurred, but cannot be carried back.
Other Corporate Taxes
Employers have to pay social insurance in respect of Qatari employees (10% of the basic salary) but have no obligations for foreign employees.
Employees' salaries, wages, and allowances are not subject to income tax.
Although no property or transfer taxes are levied in Qatar, fees may be payable to the government by the owner on the registration of property and by the landlord on the registration of leases.
Other Domestic Resources
General Tax Authority (GTA)
Consult Doing Business website (World Bank), to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Qatar Middle East & North Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 4.0 20.8 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 41.0 204.0 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 11.3 32.1 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Employees Income tax is not imposed on employed individuals' salaries, wages, and allowances. Only business income is taxable in Qatar.
Self-employed A self-employed individual may be subject to income tax if one derives qualifying income from sources in Qatar, regardless of his/her tax residency.
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
N/A
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
Individuals are taxable in Qatar on their qualifying Qatar-source income, regardless of their tax residence.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
List of Tax Conventions signed by Qatar
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 0; Interest: 0 (residents)/5% (non-residents); Royalties: 0 (residents)/5% (non-residents)
The rates may be further reduced under a tax treaty.
Bilateral Agreement
Qatar and Mauritius concluded a Double Taxation Agreement.

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
The Ministry of Economy and Trade, Directorate for Trademarks, Designs and Industrial Models.
Regional Organisations
GCC Patent Office

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
The judiciary is not completely independent.
Many judges serving in the Qatari judiciary are recruited on a temporary basis, thus making their independence a complex issue.
Court proceedings could lack transparency, as some hearings are held in closed session without justification and lawyers can experience difficulties in gaining access to relevant information.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Qatar is one of the least corrupt countries in the MENA region. However, foreign nationals cannot be always guaranteed an impartial trial from the country’s judicial system.
The Language of Justice
Arabic is the official language for Qatari’s courts.
Recourse to an Interpreter
The courts will hear evidence given by non-Arabic speakers and witnesses through an interpreter, who are required to take an oath and obliged to observe all honesty, integrity and sincerity.
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
Shari’a Law (Islamic Religious Law)
The Consultative Assembly is the legislative body of Qatar
Qatar does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
Checking National Laws Online
Al Meezan – Qatari legal portal

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Standards

National Standards Organisations
Laboratories and Standardization Affairs of Qatar (QS)
Integration in the International Standards Network
The Laboratories and Standardization Affairs office is a member of the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) and of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Classification of Standards
QAT - 634
Online Consultation of Standards
See the ISO catalogue
Certification Organisations
Laboratories and Standardization Affairs of Qatar (QS)

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Business Practices

General Information
Qatar business etiquette
U.S. Commericial Service guide on Qatar
Opening Hours and Days
The working week in Qatar is generally from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday being off. However, most businesses are open on Friday, with just half-a-day on Thursday.
Offices usually work in two shifts, from 7.30am to 12pm and from 3.30pm to 7.30pm.
Banks are generally from Sunday to Thursday 7.30am – 1pm.
Hours vary significantly during the holy month of Ramadan to accommodate breaking the fast.
 

Public Holidays

Exact dates of Islamic Calendar are subject to moon sightings, thus public holidays may occur in different dates of the Gregorian Calendar each year
Second Tuesday in February National Sports Day
1st January International New Year's Day
Varies depending on the Islamic Calendar Eid al Fitri
Varies depending on the Islamic Calendar Eid al-Adha
18th December Qatar National Day – (Founder's day) (public holiday)
4th March 2018 Early March Bank Holiday (only for Banks)
 
 

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Eid Al Adha According to the Islamic Calendar
 

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Latest Update: November 2022