Payroll in Qatar
What tax considerations are there?
Personal Income Tax
Individual income derived from salaries/wages is not subjected to tax in Qatar.
Corporate Income Tax (CIT)
Companies entirely owned by Qatari nationals are exempt from Corporate Income Tax. Any businesses owned (even in part) by foreigners, are subject to CIT at a rate of 10% on income derived from Qatar.
Tax returns should be filed and paid within four months of the end of the company’s accounting period. Usually the accounting period runs from January to December, however businesses can apply for approval from the General Tax Authority for an alternative date to align with their own accounting year-end.
If a company’s head office is outside of Qatar, or their annual profit is above 100,000 QAR ($27,464), the CIT return must be accompanied by financial statements that have been audited and signed by a Qatar-registered auditor.
NB. As of July 2019, all communication with the General Tax Authority in Qatar must be in Arabic.
HR in Qatar
What are the regular working hours in Qatar?
In Qatar, most people’s working week is Sunday to Thursday. Friday is a day of prayer for Muslims, and so is the most common day off – although businesses do not necessarily close completely. Saturday is often the additional rest day, however some businesses offer Thursday as the additional because Thursday and Friday are the ‘weekend’ days for schools.
The average working week is between 40 and 48 hours, with days most often running from 8.30am – 5.30pm or 9am to 6pm. Working days are reduced to six hours during the month of Ramadan; a policy that should legally apply to all staff but is often only extended to Muslims.
Vacation, maternity and sickness
Pregnant working women in Qatar are entitled to 50 days of paid maternity leave, as long as they have been employed for at least one year. Up to 15 of the 50 days can be taken before the birth, and a minimum of 35 days must be taken afterwards. Additional leave must be agreed with the employer – this will usually be unpaid or come out of a vacation allowance. Women must supply a signed medical certificate from their doctor, detailing the expected due date of their child. Mothers are also allowed to take one hour of ‘nursing’ time every working day for one year after their child has been born.
Any employees who have given at least three months of service are entitled to paid sick leave. A medical certificate signed by a doctor must be provided though. Lawfully, sick leave will only be paid when an employee needs a minimum of two weeks. The first two weeks will be fully paid, the next four weeks will entitle them to half pay, and any more than this will be unpaid. This is the minimum by law; some companies offer more generous terms for sick employees.
Employees who have given less than five years service are entitled to three weeks – or 15 days – of fully paid annual leave. Those who have worked for more than five years are entitled to four weeks – or 20 days. This is exclusive of national Qatari holidays.
In Qatar an employee must be given three written warnings before they can be dismissed, unless there is criminal activity – in which case there can be immediate dismissal. If either party decides to terminate the contract, there is a minimum of one month’s notice for those who have been employed for less than five years, and two month’s notice after this.