Business setup in Qatar

Qatar is the wealthiest country in the world in per capita terms with substantial oil and gas reserves, an excellent infrastructure system and free market economic policies. As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international financial bodies, Qatar offers investors a mature and sophisticated banking environment. Qatar’s economy has been growing by around 10% per year in recent years. The Foreign Investment Law No.13 of 2000 has also played an important role in stimulating economic growth. The law permitted up to 100% foreign ownership for the first time in the sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, health, education, and tourism. It also offered investors a number of substantial incentives, including the freedom to repatriate all profits to the investor’s country of origin

Among the key benefits are:
No income tax or social security deductions payable on wages and salaries.
No taxation is payable on exports and customs duties start at just 5%.
Foreign investors are permitted full repatriation of capital and profits overseas in foreign currency.
Corporate tax on foreign companies is 10% (as of 1 Jan 2010).
Developing transportation infrastructure.
State-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure.
Top international exhibitions and conference venues.
High quality offices and residential accommodations.
Inexpensive workforce and easy recruitment procedures.
Luxury hotels, hospitals, schools and shopping malls.

 

Generally, all licenses are issued by Ministry of Business and Trade. However, licenses for some categories of business require approval from certain ministries and other authorities e.g.:
Industrial Companies- must have approval from Ministry of Energy and Industry
Law Office Companies- must have approval from the Ministry of Justice
Education Institutions- must have approval from the Ministry of Education
Healthcare entities- must have approval from the Ministry of Health
Tourism Companies- must have approval from Qatar Tourism Authority
Engineering Consultancy Office- must have approval from Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture

 

Legal Structures for Business

The Qatari Laws stipulate a total local equity of not less than 51% in any commercial company and defines seven categories of business organization, which can be established in Qatar with the exception of those categories mentioned in Law 13 of 2000 and Law 1 of 2010. It sets out the requirements in terms of shareholders, directors, minimum capital levels and incorporation procedures. The seven categories of business organization defined by the Law are:

Simple Partnership Company:
It is the most basic form of commercial arrangement for two or more individuals to associate for the purpose of having a commercial activity in Qatar. The partners have unlimited liability and the trade name of the partnership company will reflect the names of the partners.
Joint Partnership Company:
Is similar to a simple partnership company however, a joint partnership company will have two classes of partners. 1- Joint Partners. 2- Trustee Partners.
Joint Venture Company:
It is an entity comprised of two or more persons that associate to carry out a project. The joint venture company provided for in the law is an unincorporated entity without legal personality.
Public Shareholding Company:
The public shareholding company is also known as a joint stock company or Qatari shareholding company. The law recognizes different variants of the public shareholding company including: 1- Public shareholding company-open. 2- Private or closed public shareholding company.
Limited Share Partnership Company:
It has at least one or more joint partners and at least four trustee shareholding partners. The minimum share capital of the company is 1,000,000 QR
Limited Liability Company:
It is the most commonly used business entity in Qatar.
Holding Companies:
It is a holding company which must be a shareholding company or limited liability company and which has financial and management control on the companies by owning at least 51% of that company. The minimum capital should be 10 million QR.
Out of these seven structures LLCs are more commonly used by the foreign investors.

 

Steps to be followed in the registration of a Qatar company:
Identifying the appropriate Qatari national as partner or if the case the preparation and follow up of required documentation & processing application for 100% owned business at the Ministry of Business and Trade
Obtaining name approval for new company.
Obtaining activity approval for new company.
Bank Account opening with the minimum share capital of QAR 200,000.
Preparation of the Articles of the Association for the company.
Processing necessary documentation and assisting in the attestations from the Ministry of Justice.
Preparation of necessary documentation & Processing Application for registration with the Chamber of Commerce.
Preparing documentation & processing the application for Company Registration with the Ministry of Business & Trade.
Preparing the documentation & processing the Application for Municipality License.
Preparing the documentation & Processing Application for Immigration Card for the Company.
Once the company has been incorporated and the Commercial Registration issued, the share capital can be released to the company’s directors or the general manager for the purposes of running the company.

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