An innovative and unique incentive in respect of using tax losses and new areas of tax relief, particularly providing an opportunity for Qatari-owned entities to elect for a zero tax rate to apply to their operations in the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), have been introduced by the QFC Authority as amendments to the Tax Regulations and Tax Rules.
The updates will help Qatari-owned entities investing in Qatar by allowing them to opt for the zero tax rate on their operations conducted from the QFC. It will also help them to invest overseas by introducing advantageous changes to the taxation of structures, for example Holding Companies and Special Purpose Companies, established in the QFC. Such structures previously could only be set up abroad but these latest changes to the QFC Tax Regulations and Rules encourage their formation in Qatar.
The amendments follow a consultation in which a number of QFC Firms and other stakeholders in the State of Qatar and abroad participated. The QFC Authority Board approved the amended QFC Tax Regulations and accompanying amended QFC Tax Rules on 10 June 2014. Following Board approval, the amended QFC Tax Regulations and QFC Tax Rules were enacted by the Minister (on 18 June 2014) in accordance with QFC Law.
The QFC Authority undertook this revision to update the Tax Regulations and Tax Rules to reflect legislative changes elsewhere in the QFC, in particular to ensure alignment with new rules on Special Purpose Companies, Holding Companies and Single Family Offices.
The Tax Regulations (which originally came into force in 2010) provide for the imposition, administration and collection of tax in accordance with Article 17 of the QFC Law in relation to QFC Entities.
Yousef Mohammed Al-Jaida, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the QFC Authority, said: “The QFC Authority’s mandate is to support enterprises in Qatar and help the State of Qatar meet its development objectives. The most recent amendments to the QFC’s Tax Regulations and Rules introduce changes which create new opportunities for Qatari-owned entities and demonstrate our commitment to continuing to meet our mandate.”
Sheikh Salman Al Thani, Chief Financial and Tax Officer, QFC Authority, added: “The QFC Authority strives constantly to keep its tax regime as up to date as possible and to provide a first class tax and legal environment for QFC-licensed firms. These changes to our Tax Regulations and Rules following our latest review support the QFC’s evolving strategy by ensuring alignment with structures such as Holding Companies and Special Purpose Companies available in the QFC. Qatari-owned entities stand particularly to benefit and will now find it advantageous to set up structures in the QFC which previously they could only establish abroad.”