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Qatar

 
   
Executive Summary
Qatar is located on the North-Eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.  It is surrounded by the Persian Gulf and it borders with Saudi Arabia to the South. Qatar occupies a total area of 11,437 sq km. Doha is its capital; Arabic is its official language.

The Emir has large executive powers, he also appoints members of the Cabinet. The constitution of 2005, however, has introduced that a new national assembly should be established, of which approximately two/thirds of the members must be elected. Although officially this legislative body may propose legislation and even dismiss cabinet members, the Emir will continue to have large powers and influence political processes.

Till the second half of the 20th century fishing and pearling were main economic activities of Qatar. The discovery of oil revolutionized the country’s economy, brought modern state amenities, favored the development of social services and resulted in the overall high standard of living. National income is mainly dependent on exports of oil and natural gas. However, country’s policy aims to develop the knowledge economy and improve its private sector. Qatar’s financial services industry is a rapidly growing market segment. Qatar has the highest GDP among the Arabic countries, it is constantly developing the business environment, in order to introduce more favourable business conditions for international investors.

The Riyal (QAR) is the official currency of Qatar.

Geography
The major part of the country’s territory is low sandy plain. Khor al Adaid is an inland sea located to the South-East, and is a territory of rolling sand dunes which surrounds an inlet of the Persian Gulf. The highest point of the country reaches 103 metres above the sea level. Main onshore oil deposits are located in Jebel Dukhan, natural gas is mainly located offshore to the North-West of the peninsula.

Summers are very hot and humid, winters are warm and mild.

Map, Flag and Coat of Arm


Types of Company

Local Joint Venture Company

This is a traditional company, which is described as 49/51% split of ownership, where 51% must belong to the Qatari nationals. It is an unincorporated company without legal personality.

General Partnership
This is a widely used type of a business structure where two or more entities cooperate under a single name and are jointly and severally liable for all the liabilities and debts of the partnership.

Traditionally a non-Qatari entity cannot own the business, and at least 51% should belong to a Qatari national. However, since 2000 several exceptions have been introduced particularly in the fields, where foreign investments and development is supported by the local government. These market segments include: agriculture, health care, educational services, manufacturing, tourism, several specific projects. Entities operating in these market segments are granted a number of incentives during and after completion of a business activity. Foreigners, however, are not allowed to own banking and insurance business, as well as real estate and commercial agencies.

Limited Share Partnership
A minimum share capital of this structure is QAR 1,000,000. At least one joint partner and a minimum of four trustee shareholding partners may incorporate this type of company.

Limited Liability Company
This type company is the most popular structure for managing a business activity in Qatar.

Shareholding Company
This company is also known as a Joint Stock Company. It may take two different forms: a public or open shareholding company, as well as private or closed shareholding company.

Holding Company
A Shareholding company or a Limited Liability Company which owns at least 51% of another company’s shares may become a holding company. A minimum capital of this company should be QAR 10,000,000.

Branch of a Foreign Company
This type of company can be fully owned by foreigners, and usually such a company is established for realization of a certain project. Upon completion of a project, this type of company generally ceases its existence and operations.

Taxation

Personal
There is no personal income tax.

Corporate
Qatari companies are not liable to pay taxes. Foreigners are taxed on their activities conducted in Qatar and shares they own in a Qatari company. Profits tax has a scalable nature and is charged at different rates – 0%, 10%, 35%, depending on the total annual income of a company. Specialized tax-free zones offer taxation advantages and exemptions for companies from certain market segments or for the purposes of realization of specific projects.

 
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