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Planning on starting a business in Qatar? If so, you’ve come to the right place. COREO offers comprehensive services for doing business in Qatar, right from company formation. We have built a solid network of relationships over the years and we are able to put you in contact with the right people and services to make your business hit the ground running.
If doing business in Qatar is a new frontier for you and your company then the following business basics may be of some benefit. COREO’s services offer a wide variety of services to businesses looking to set up. In addition to relocation services, COREO offers extensive administrative support including, but not limited to incorporation within the country, visa assistance, bank accounts, recruitment and visa processing. Contact us today for a free consultation and guidance as to how COREO and our Partners can support you in doing business in Qatar.
The different types of companies that can be setup in Qatar are as follows:
It is a company formed by a sole shareholder at a minimum capital of QR 200.000. It is subject to the same legal provisions regulating the limited liability companies and generally its management is handled by the sole shareholder, owner of the entire share unless otherwise stipulated in the company’s articles of association.
It is the legal entity most commonly used by the foreign investors in Qatar. It is formed amongst a minimum of 2 shareholders and a maximum of fifty and launched at a minimum capital of QR 200,000, divided into equal value shares, the value of each being no less than QR10. The local participation shall not be less than 51% of the capital unless a full foreign ownership is allowed for the categories provided for in the Foreign Investment Law of 2000 and its amendments. The Company’s memorandum and articles of association shall be submitted to the Ministry of Economy and Commerce and its management shall be entrusted to one or more managers who may be elected from amongst the shareholders or from outside the company as provided for in the articles of association. The liability of the shareholders is limited to the value of their shares in the capital. The limited liability company shall submit an annual tax return; however, should the Company generate annual profits exceeding the amount of QR 100,000, then the declaration shall be attached to an audited financial statement prepared by an auditor duly registered in Qatar. The limited liability company is also liable to pay an income tax of 10% on the profits generated in Qatar.
General Partnerships comprise of two or more merchants for the purposes of carrying out a mutual project under a specific name. The partners are jointly and severally liable to the full extent of their assets for the obligations resulting from the partnership .The management of such association is generally entrusted to the partners or otherwise to any other person as stipulated in the articles of association or by a separate agreement duly registered before the Commercial Register.
The minimum share capital of such a company is QR 1,000,000 divided into equal negotiable nominal shares. It has at least one or more general partners and at least one limited partner. The general partners are liable for the company’s assets to the full extent of their assets whilst the limited partners are only liable to the extent of their shareholding in the Company. The limited share partnership company shall appoint a control council of at least three members and an auditor to audit its accounts. Its management is handled by the general partners unless otherwise stipulated by virtue of a separate agreement registered before the Commercial Register.
It is an entity which must be a shareholding company or a limited liability company, and which has financial and management control on other companies by owning at least 51% of the controlling shares of that company. The holding company requires a minimum capital of QR 10,000,000. It cannot however own capital in a general partnership, a simple limited partnership, a limited partnership with shares, or in another Holding Company.
The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) is a financial and business center established in 2005 by the Government of Qatar, under Law No (7) of 2005, to attract international and domestic financial institutions and multi-national corporations to establish themselves in Qatar and to encourage the growth of the financial services market in Qatar and in the region. The QFC offers a first class legal and business infrastructure operating on international standards and provides a favorable environment for the companies aiming to develop business locally and internationally.
Located in Doha, the QFC is operated by a commercial authority, the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (“QFCA”) and the QFC Regulatory Authority (“QFCRA”) which is the independent regulatory authority that has powers to authorize, supervise and, when necessary, discipline QFC firms and individuals.
Entities within the QFC are permitted 100% ownership by foreigners and can remit all profits and capital outside Qatar.
The QFC law provides a range of activities, referred to as the Permitted Activities, which can be conducted in or from the QFC. Permitted Activities are divided into Non-Regulated Activities and Regulated Activities: Non-Regulated Activities are services found in support of financial service businesses, such as services provided by accounting, audit and law firms, which do not require extensive supervision. Regulated Activities are those financial services, such as, banking, insurance or securities businesses, which, unlike the Non-Regulated Activities, require close and continuing supervision.
Permitted Activities can only be conducted in the QFC provided the establishment of a legal presence in the QFC by incorporating a company or partnership, or by registering a branch of a non-QFC entity. In addition, all QFC entities must be licensed by the QFC Authority.
The Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) is a free-zone established in 2004 (law No. (36) of 2004). The QSTP is intended to provide an environment to attract technology-based companies from around the world and to promote the advancement of technology. As a free-zone; QSTP provides a large number of benefits for foreign investors wishing to establish a company in QSTP.
It’s possible to do business in Qatar without setting up a local entity through various mechanisms that include:
A foreign company can conduct business in Qatar by opening a Branch office if the company is awarded a specific contract that “would facilitate the performance of a public service or utility”. A Qatari partner is not necessary.
Branch offices must be licensed by the Ministry of Business and Trade and cannot conduct activities other than those for the specific purpose of completing the government contract. Therefore, they cannot be used for the private sector. Branch offices are fully taxable, unless a special exemption has been granted under the Foreign Investment Law.
A foreign company that only wishes to be introduced to Qatari companies and projects without conducting a business in Qatar can open a Representative office.
Representative Offices’ purposes shall only be the promotion of a foreign company in Qatar, through marketing and promotions. They cannot sell or enter into contracts in Qatar.
Therefore, contracts can only be performed by the foreign company if the performance of the contracts is outside Qatar. If the performance takes place in Qatar, the foreign company needs to open a branch office.
A commercial agency allows a foreign entity to sell goods and products in the territory of Qatar without any physical presence in the country. The commercial agent must be a wholly Qatari-owned entity or a Qatari individual.
The Commercial agency relationships in Qatar are governed by the Commercial Agencies Law (Law No (8) of 2000). Pursuant to article 2 of that law, a commercial agent is “any person who is exclusively licensed to distribute or offer for sale or circulate goods and products or render specific services in the scope of the agency on behalf of his principal in return for profit or commission”.
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