Qatar has long been among the most prosperous nations in the Middle East. In recent years, however, it has taken further steps to strengthen and diversify its economy.
With major global events on the horizon, government and investment programmes and increasingly strong relations with many global economies, there’s never been a better time to launch a business out here. If you’re ready to get started, keep reading to find out:
• An overview of business in Qatar
• Legal requirements to set up a business in Qatar
• Financial requirements to start a business in Qatar
• Types of company setup in Qatar
• Steps to start a business in Qatar
• Taxes in Qatar – explained
• How Creative Zone can help with business setup in Qatar
An overview of business in Qatar
Thanks traditionally to its vast oil wealth, Qatar has been considered a major financial and commercial player in the region for many years. But more recent developments are further cementing the country’s position on the world stage.
Perhaps the most eye-catching of those developments is Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Now mere months away, it is expected to bring around 1.5 million visitors to the country and boost the local economy by USD 20bn.
However, while it may be the most high-profile stimulus to the economy, it is one of many. Qatar’s rulers recently announced a USD 200bn investment package into the country’s economy. The funds, part of the Qatar National Vision 2030, will be used to attract foreign entrepreneurs as well as improving on the already high standard of living for all residents.
Finally, Qatar is also a vital member of the Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure development strategy designed to boost trade between Asia, the Middle East and the global west. All of this combines to present a world of opportunity to entrepreneurs doing business in the country.
Legal requirements to set up a business in Qatar
There are several legal requirements that overseas entrepreneurs must meet in order to trade in Qatar. The most important is obtaining the commercial registration from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), without which businesses are unable to trade.
As it is so essential to meet all legal and business registration requirements, it is highly advisable to work with a company formation agent when setting up in Qatar. The team at Creative Zone can guide you through the entire process from initial registration to licensing, launch and beyond.
Financial requirements to start a business in Qatar
The financial requirements for setting up a business in Qatar differ depending on the type of company you wish to establish. If you are setting up a private LLC, the company must show minimum share capital of QAR 200,000 (around USD 50,000).
Types of company setup in Qatar
When starting a new business in Qatar, foreign entrepreneurs can set up as several different legal entities. These include:
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
LLCs must be formed by at least two investors, up to a maximum of 50. Minimum share capital for this type of business is QAR 200,000.
Free Zone Companies
Free Zone Companies trade from permitted economic zones within Qatar. This type of business benefits from 0% corporate tax and income tax, 100% foreign ownership with full capital repatriation and zero customs duties.
This type of business is formed by two partners. These can be either joint partners with shared responsibility for business affairs and liabilities, or trustee partners, where liability is limited to the value of their invested share capital.
Limited Partnership Company
This type of company requires two or more partners who are Qatari citizens. Foreign shareholding is allowed but it is limited to a 49% stake.
Any entrepreneurs wishing to work as a freelancer in Qatar requires local sponsorship and a permit from the Ministry of Labour. Foreign workers should not travel to Qatar in search of freelance work.
Steps to start a business in Qatar
There are several steps that must be undertaken before foreign entrepreneurs are permitted to trade in Qatar. As this is a very particular process, each step is best undertaken with the assistance of a local company formation expert such as Creative Zone.
Step 1: Company name reservation
All business names must comply with the country’s naming conventions. This means no words that could be deemed offensive or blasphemous. You must also choose words that can be translated in Arabic.
Step 2: Draft the Memorandum of Association (MOA) or Articles of Association (AOA)
The next step is to draft the MOA or AOA, official documents that outline details of the company and its activities and objectives.
Step 3: Attestation
The MOA/AOA must then be attested by the relevant authority under the Ministry of Justice.
Step 4: Verification
The MOA/AOA is then verified, and you can now apply for your license and tax certificate.
Step 5: Secure office premises
All companies in the Qatar mainland must have an address of a commercial office space registered against its name.
Step 6: Establishment card
Once you have obtained your trade license, you must apply for a computer card or an establishment card from the Ministry of the Interior.
Step 7: Get TIN
Next you should register with the Public Revenue and Tax Authority so that your business can obtain its Tax Identification Number (TIN).
Step 8: Get the company seal
With these steps complete, your company seal is issued by the relevant authorities.
Taxes in Qatar – explained
Any company in Qatar that is all or part owned by a foreign entrepreneur must pay tax on its profits.
The tax rate remains low and flat at just 10%. Mainland business are also liable for a 5% tax on most goods imported from outside the GCC. Certain goods such as tobacco are taxed at a much higher rate.
On a personal level, there is no tax on wages or salaries. However, a household may be subject to income tax if its occupants receive income from Qatari sources.
How Creative Zone can help with business setup in Qatar
If you’re looking to start your enterprise in Qatar, Creative Zone can help. Our 200-strong staff speak over 20 languages and have assisted clients from all over the world. And whether you are a small startup or a big brand, our advice, support and guidance is always tailored to your needs.
All of our business setup services are rated the highest in the market and we have secured that by providing our clients with a much-needed peace of mind throughout the whole process and beyond. Whether you only want a visa, assistance in business setup, or are looking for long-term business support, our prices are great value for money.
Ultimately, our business is your business. So, when you’re ready to get started in Qatar, there’s no better company formation partner.
Prices offered by free zones are subject to change without notice. Please get in touch with Creative Zone for an updated price based on the current promotions and availability