QATAR Slams Door Shut on QROPS Pension Transfers
QROPS Qatar closed for business. Qatar has decided to close the door on QROPS business to the financial centre in Qatar. The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authorityhas decided against opening its doors up to QROPS pension transfers after looking into the changes that would have to be made to its regulatory framework.
However, you can still transfer to a QROPS if you are a British expat or Qatari that has worked in the UK and want to transfer your pension to avoid UK taxes.
You just need to move your QROPS to a jurisdiction which is outside the UK and outside of Qatar, preferably to a jurisdiction which is secure and has a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with Qatar. Malta is also a former British colony and is regulated by the MFSA.
QATAR decides not to introduce its own QROPS
The decision by the QFCRA not to permit UK pension transfers into Qatar will be a disappointment to the 3 regulated financial advisory companies in Qatar, but not a big surprise. Clients wishing to transfer their UK pensions out of the UK will now have to take advice on them outside of the QFC, in order to move these pensions to a “third country” jurisdiction that is set up to receive such transfers, such as Gibraltar QROPS or QROPS in New Zealand.
Shaun Swan, associate director in the policy enforcement division of the QFCRA, stressed that their decision had no bearing on what may be done elsewhere in Qatar outside the QFC, a specially designated area in Doha that was established in 2005 to attract international financial services businesses.
Outside the QFC, financial services regulation is overseen by the Qatar Central Bank.
Can British Expats in Qatar Still Transfer to a QROPS and Avoid Paying UK Taxes on their Pension?
British expats living in Qatar can still transfer to a QROPS in Malta to avoid the 55% tax upon death that the UK imposes as well as UK income taxes of up to 50%. They would then pay the Qatari tax on their pension income rather than the UK taxes. At the moment, there is no personal income tax in Qatar, so a QROPS would be free from any taxation.
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