Company formation in brief
Foreign investors may have participation interests in companies engaged in any sector of Qatar economy, except for banking, insurance services, commercial agencies and real estate transactions. Foreigners may not have more than 49% of the capital of local companies either, except for companies engaged in agriculture, manufacturing, health care, education, tourism, energy, natural resources production and development.
The Companies law of Qatar specifically provides for the establishing of companies of such organizational and legal forms as:
• Public limited liability company
• Private limited liability company
• Partnership limited by shares
Public limited liability company may be established by at least five shareholders (maximum number of shareholders is not limited) and is characterised as follows:
• minimum charter capital of a public company is QAR 500’000;
• the company’ capital is represented by registered shares of the same value of no less than QAR 100 and no more than QAR 1’000 each;
• public company may offer its shares to the public only after the founders have provided a bank certificate confirming the subscription to at least 10% of its capital to the Companies Control Authority under the Ministry of Economy and Trade;
• the company is managed by the Board of Directors composed of no less than five and no more than 11 directors (physical persons only) to be appointed to this position for three years. The Board of Directors elects its Chairman who represents the company in relations with third parties. The Chairman is responsible for realising decisions taken by the Board of Directors restricted in its authority by the Charter and the current law;
• directors are personally responsible for any fraud, abuse of authority, non-compliance with the law, as well as for unprofessional management of the company's operations;
• public company has to contribute 10% of its net profit to the reserve fund especially established by the company until the amount in the reserve fund is 50% of the company's capital;
• company is required to appoint at least one auditor.
Private limited liability company may be established by two shareholders (maximum number of shareholders is 30) and is characterised as follows:
• minimum charter capital is QAR 200’000;
• the entire capital has to be fully paid up by shareholders at the time of incorporation;
• the company’ capital is represented by registered shares of the same value of no less than QAR 1’000 each;
• company’s shares may not be publicly offered;
• company is managed by one or more managers (only physical persons) restricted in their authority by the company's Charter and the current law;
• managers are personally responsible for any fraud, abuse of authority, non-compliance with the law, as well as for unprofessional management of the company's operations;
• company with more than ten shareholders elects the Board (composed of at least three persons) to control the managers;
• if company's capital exceeds QAR 500’000, the company has to appoint at least one auditor.
Partnership limited by shares may be established by at least three general partners with unlimited liability for the partnership’s debts and obligations and by at least ten partners whose liability is limited with their participation interests in the partnership, and is characterized as follows:
• minimum charter capital is QAR 200’000;
• partners may be both physical and legal persons;
• each partnership’s share is of the same nominal value;
• partnership is managed by general partners (only physical persons) or managers appointed by general partners. Limited partners may not be involved in the management of the partnership, otherwise they lose the status of limited partners;
• partnership with more than 10 members elects a Board (composed of at least three persons) to control the managers.
• if partnership's capital exceeds QAR 500’000, the partnership has to appoint at least one auditor.
A foreign investor has to obtain Qatari Minister of Finance’s approval before starting the establishing of business in the country.
All businesses in Qatar pay a progressive net profit tax rate.
Foreigners may lease land for a period of up to 10 years, import equipment and materials for their projects, and receive tax exemption upon obtaining a relevant approval by the Qatari authorities.
Currency regulations in Qatar restrict activities related to currency exchange, traveller cheques, precious metals and money transfers carried out by physical persons.
The Qatari Riyal is freely convertible on the global financial markets.
Qatar is not a tax heaven or offshore jurisdiction, and a concept of Qatar tax exempt company (and/or Qatar offshore company, International Business Company, trust, foundation etc. registration) does not exist in Qatar as such. A company formation in Qatar could be arranged with a professional registered agent providing incorporation, virtual office and other corporate services in Qatar. To set up a company in Qatar is possible by correspondence, but to open a bank account in Qatar will, most probably, require a personal visit.
Qatar Double Taxation Agreements
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