On 3 May 2017 the Prime Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani chaired the Cabinet’s ordinary meeting. During its ordinary meeting, the Cabinet approved a draft law on income tax and some of its draft executive regulations. A draft law related to Value-Added Tax (VAT) was also approved by the Cabinet.
The Income Tax Law promulgated by Law No 21 of 2009 and Law No 17 of 2014 will be replaced by the draft legislation on income tax that exempts the share of non-Qatari investors in the profits of some corporations and investment funds from the income tax. The draft law also contains some development features of tax legislation to certify the simplification of process, strengthening the tax revenues and collection measures which in turn will help tax compliance.
The Finance Ministry has prepared the draft law regarding VAT under the unified GCC VAT agreement. This agreement requires each member state to take the necessary steps domestically for issuance of the relevant local law and procedural policies in order to implement the VAT with a view to executing the agreement’s provisions.
Though a firm date has not been fixed, policy makers in the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) are aiming to introduce a 5% VAT at the start of next year. The GCC has long planned to adopt the tax in 2018 as a way to increase non-oil revenues. The Cabinet accepted draft decision of the Council of Ministers to issue the executive regulation of the selective tax law.
The draft executive regulation contains provisions concerning tax declaration, tax entitlement, registration, the declaration of loss or damage to goods, methods of tax payment, inspection of defective goods, maintenance of accounting systems, the language of accounting records, and control and inspection.
The Cabinet has also approved a draft agreement on economic cooperation between Qatar and Poland, a draft memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the field of combating terrorism between Qatar and Australia and a draft memorandum of understanding between the Qatar Central Bank and Bangladesh Bank.
On 19 April 2017, Dr Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary of UK opened the UK-GCC Public Private Partnership (PPP) conference to show how UK expertise can maximize the innovation of both public and private sectors to transform their societies.
The conference will bring together ministers and senior representatives from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, led by H.E Dr Abdulatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary-General of the GCC, to look at how PPPs can be used to inform national diversification plans.
From the Qatar National Vision to Saudi Vision 2030, the Gulf is looking for opportunities to diversify and shape their economies to face the challenges of the future, from infrastructure to healthcare and education.
The UK has considerable experience in the area of public private partnerships, which enable the public sector to access the discipline, skills and expertise of the private sector and for many years has been home to one of the world’s largest and most experienced PPP markets. UK companies with a proven track record across a range of sectors will share their expertise at the conference.
The conference also presents the national transformation programs, and the economic diversification plans adopted by the GCC. It also presents the laws enacted by the GCC countries to increase opportunities for foreign investors in the sectors of infrastructure, health, telecommunications, energy, information technology and other sectors. This is in pursuit of strengthening their economies and diversifying their resources.
The conference will also provide a further opportunity to expand and deepen the trading relationship between the UK and the GCC. UK companies export over £30 billion worth of goods and services to the GCC nations every year and thousands of British companies are active across the Gulf, creating jobs and helping to deliver projects from energy expansion, to helping Qatar prepare to host the 2022 World Cup.
An Income Tax Treaty between Qatar and Paraguay has been initialed on 8th March 2017 for avoiding double taxation.
The Income Tax Treaty of 2016 between Qatar and Turkey has been ratified on 8th March 2017 by Qatar for avoiding double taxation. When in force and effective, this new treaty will replace the previous Income tax treaty of 2001.
On 27 February 2017, the cabinet of Bangladesh authorized the signing of a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with Qatar for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
The signing of the initialed Income and Capital Tax Treaty between Qatar and Tajikistan was authorized by the Cabinet of Qatar on 22nd February 2017.
The Finance Ministry has prepared the draft law in accordance with the GCC unified agreement for selective tax, and the GCC Supreme Council decision recently issued in the 37th session held in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The decision specifies the imposition of selective tax uniformly between the GCC countries according to the schedule of goods and percentages set in that resolution. The Qatar Government has accepted a draft law to charge a tax on selective goods and beverages. The selective tax is different from the 5% value-added tax (VAT) that is to be implemented across the GCC countries in 2018.
According to the provision of the draft law, the selective tax will be imposed on goods harmful to human health and the environment, and the luxury goods produced domestically or imported and set forth in the table attached to the law, and in accordance with the tax rates specific to it. The draft law contains provisions concerning application dates for the selective tax, circumstances where selective goods are presented for consumption, persons in charge of application, registration for tax purposes, maintenance of books and records for recording the movement of selective goods, tax assessment on the basis of the tax recognition and installed data, cases of suspension of tax and its recovery and exemption and confidential information and financial sanctions.