Qatar, located on the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula, is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and by the Persian Gulf to the north, east, and west. It is divided into seven municipalities, with Doha as the capital. The official language of Qatar is Arabic, and the currency is the Qatari riyal (QAR).
Ruled by the Al-Thani family since the mid-1800s, Qatar transformed itself from a British protectorate noted mainly for pearling into an independent state with significant oil and natural gas revenues. Oil and natural gas revenues have placed Qatar as one of the highest per capita income countries, as well as one of the fastest growing economies. Qatar has the third largest natural gas reserves in the world and these are expected to last well into the 22nd century. Its proven oil reserves should also enable continued output at current levels for many years. Economic policy is focused on developing Qatar's non-associated natural gas reserves and increasing private and foreign investment in non-energy sectors, but oil and gas still account for approximately 50% of gross domestic product (GDP).
In Qatar, there are four tax regimes in which foreign investors can operate, as follows:
- The State regime provides for the general framework for the majority of businesses operating in Qatar.
- The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) regime is modelled closely after the English common law and existing major financial centres through which financial institutions and professional service companies can operate in Qatar.
- The Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) has the ability to provide tax exemptions for research and development (R&D) activities.
- The Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) was established in 2018, which will set up two free zones in Qatar in 2019. Benefits of setting up in the Zone would include 100% ownership, a flexible foreign work force, and a possible tax holiday of up to 20 years with zero corporate tax, customs duties, and personal income tax.
This summary is primarily directed towards entities operating under the State regime. Key features of the QFC regime are provided in the Other issues section of the Corporate tax summary. The QSTP and QFZ regimes are not discussed in this summary.
PwC Qatar supports clients with the local knowledge and skills of its people and with access to a broad range of other professionals across the PwC global network of firms. In addition to audit and advisory services, the firm's tax and legal services in Qatar include international tax structuring, fund structuring, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), inbound and outbound corporate tax advisory, transfer pricing, tax policy and governance, VAT, customs duties, excise tax, tax compliance services (e.g. corporate income tax returns and withholding tax returns), legal services (e.g. company and branch formations), international assignment services, company secretarial services, and accounting services.