Qatar, once one of the poorest Gulf States, is one of the richest countries in the region today.
Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) was established by the government in 2005 with a mandate to support the development of a world-class financial services sector in the State of Qatar. Qatar’s rapid growth, political stability, open economy and geographic position between East and West are instrumental in helping the country to realize its ambition to be a leading financial centre. The QFC offers both local and foreign firms a legal system based on English common law, one of the region’s most robust regulatory regimes along with one of the most business friendly tax environments in the world and efficient administration.
Over the past six years, the QFC has been refining the legal and regulatory environment and developing the infrastructure needed to realize the investment potential of Qatar and the wider region. Whilst continuing to welcome all types of financial services firms, in 2010 the QFC Authority further refined its strategy to focus on the creation of hubs in niche sectors, creating a uniquely sustainable platform for regional growth in reinsurance, captive insurance and asset management.
The QFC offers an open and transparent market
The QFC provides an onshore trading environment with a legal structure based on English common law and a strong principles-based regulatory structure. Foreigners may own 100% of companies in Qatar and profits can be repatriated. Civil and commercial disputes may be brought before the QFC Civil and Commercial Court (in English), while work is in progress to unify and streamline the country’s financial regulatory system.
The QFC seeks the continuous evolution of the environment to ensure the optimum conditions for financial services growth. The last 12 months have been no exception with a number of notable enhancements to the regulatory regime as well as to the legal and tax environment in Qatar.
The QFC Authority enacted regulations introducing an attractive new tax regime which became effective on 1 January 2010. The salient features of the regime include:
- 10% corporation tax on locally sourced profits
- Self-assessment regime and advance transaction ruling scheme
- Tax incentives for the reinsurance, captive insurance and asset management industries
- Zero personal income tax
- No restrictions on dealing in any currency
- Access to an extensive network of double taxation treaties negotiated with other countries.