In preparation for the hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2022 (“Competition”), several resolutions, decisions, and circulars have been recently drafted and issued by various ministries and authorities. One of these is the Resolution issued by the Minister of Finance No. (9) of 2022 regarding Tax and Customs Duties Exemption in relation to Hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 (the “Resolution”). The Resolution addresses the tax exemptions that have been guaranteed by the State under Government Guarantee No. 3 (the “Government Guarantee”).
The state of Qatar guaranteed in the Government Guarantee that certain tax emptions will be afforded to various entities that are involved in the hosting of the Competition. The envisaged exemption extends to customs duties and/or levies that may be imposed on importation, exportation or transportation of goods, services or rights that may be related to the Competition.
Consequently, the Minister of Finance has issued the Resolution for purposes of complying with the FIFA requirements for hosting the Competition. While the Resolution basically adopts the assurances made in the Government Guarantee, there are notable provisions that must be highlighted, as follows:
- a) Individual tax exemption shall be granted to “FIFA Listed Individuals” who may enter and leave the State within 60 days prior to the first match and until the end of 60 days after the final match of the Competition with regard to any compensation that they may receive from non-resident entities. The only condition is that these individuals have not expressed any intention to permanently reside in the State;
b) It shall be the responsibility of FIFA to notify the General Tax Authority (“GTA”) of the details of contracts and activities that may be carried out by tax-exempt individuals and/or entities. The information shall be provided by FIFA through Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (“SC”);
c) GTA shall create special registrar for all entities and individuals addressed by the Resolution which shall be divided into categories depending on the tax exemption granted to each category;
d) The exemption for excise tax shall be granted upon local purchase by way of refund. A refund request must be submitted to GTA by the entities which benefit from the exemption. The request must be accompanied by list of purchase invoices, copies of the invoices or any other supporting documents, copy of the bank account certificate of the applicant; and evidence that the purchase was made within the scope of the Competition activities and that it was not made for resale and other commercial purposes;
e) It shall be the responsibility of SC to provide the General Customs Authority (“GCA”) with a list of entities approved by FIFA in all their categories to be exempted from customs duties, taxes/levies, and other related fees. The GCA shall coordinate with GTA to ensure that exemption shall be applied to incoming shipments;
f) It shall be the responsibility of SC to provide GTA with the necessary information and documentation for purposes of obtaining tax exemption certificates; and
g) The President of GCA is tasked to issue a circular which shall provide a simplified and expedited customs clearance procedures that will be applicable to all competent authorities for purposes of facilitating customs clearance procedures for importation, re-exportation, or transportation of any goods or services, to be transported by FIFA or any exempted entities.
It is worth noting that the validity of the Resolution expires according to Government Guarantee No. (3) dated 22\2\2010.
With a very distinct tax system and tax legislation as compared to other jurisdictions, it could be said that taxation is one of the challenging aspects for Qatar with regard to FIFA requirements for hosting the Competition. Nevertheless, the issuance of the Resolution has proven yet again the State’s efforts and commitment to fully adhere to the representations and assurances that were given in the government guarantees, including Government Guarantee No. 3 on taxation and customs.
The Resolution has required the involvement of and coordination between and among FIFA, SC, GTA, and GCA in ensuring that the tax benefits, as envisaged under the Government Guarantee, are duly granted and effectively facilitated in favour of the tax-exempt entities and individuals. The Resolution could be deemed as another step forward, among the many developments that Qatar is currently spearheading, towards a successful hosting of Competition.
Salman Al-Ansari Richelle Segura
Partner Senior Associate
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