The Business Environment 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.
On the 1st of Feb 2010, Law Number 1 of 2010 was issued amending some key provisions of Law No 13 of 2000 regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in key economic sectors. Law 1 of 2010 allows foreign investors to have up to 100 percent ownership in businesses such as consultancy services, information technology (IT), services related to sports, culture and entertainment as well as distribution services. Qatar offers the business sector all the advantages of a highly developed economy, the infrastructure and services match the highest international standards, facilitating efficiency, quality and service.

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.
Qatar government‘s economic development strategy has been very successful and the investment incentives, infrastructure, banking services, insurances and political and social stability are contributing factors in creating an excellent business climate for business start-ups.

For companies wanting to establish their commercial presence in Qatar there are a few structural options with the most common being the LLC ( Limited Liability Company) in which case the entity must have one or more national partners whose share in the company capital must not be less than 51%. Here must be noted that the parties' profit share do not necessarily have to reflect their equity stake. Therefore, foreign investors wishing to establish business operations in Qatar engaged in most of the commercial business activities must do so with a partner who is a Qatari national.
KMD Consulting comes with a unique solution and can help you setup your commercial presence in Qatar in less than one month.

KMD can provide a corporate local shareholder/partner tailored to the profile of any foreign company that requires this service.

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.


Additional Information
What timeframe should be considered when incorporating a Qatar company?
KMD Consulting can complete the company registration process within two to three weeks.
What is the minimum number of directors/shareholder required for a Qatar Company?
A Qatar Company requires a minimum of 2 shareholders and 1 director.
Are there any restrictions on ownership of a Qatar Company?
For a limited liability company (LLC), foreign investors are permitted up to 49% of the stake provided that there are one or more Qatari partners. It is also possible for foreigners to own up to 100% of a Qatar company upon request in specialist sectors: agriculture, industry, health, education, tourism and development of natural resources, consultancy services, information technology (IT), services related to sports, culture and entertainment as well as distribution services.
What are the requirements for setting up a LLC in Qatar?
The company name should be approved by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce in Doha. The signed Memorandum and Articles of Association in Arabic should be submitted to the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. Furthermore the minimum required capital should be deposited into a local Qatari bank.
Is a Qatar Company subject to an annual audit?
A Qatar LLC is required to submit an annual tax return. If annual profits exceed 100,000 QR the declaration should be accompanied by audited financial statements prepared by an auditor registered in Qatar.
What are the minimum capital requirements for a Qatar Company?
A Qatar LLC requires a minimum capital of 200,000 QR.
What are the tax implications of a Qatar Company formation?
A Qatar LLC is liable to pay a corporate income tax of 10 % on profits sourced in Qatar.
What is the governing Law for commercial contracts in Qatar?
Once a business entity has been established it will need to protect its interests when contracting with other entities. The parties to an international contract are free to choose the law and jurisdiction which will govern that contract. (If they do not choose an applicable law, the contract will be governed by the Qatari Civil Code.)
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