Amendments to the Qatar Customs Law

October 9, 2023

On 17 August 2023, the State of Qatar published Law No. (10) of 2023, introducing significant amendments to the Qatar Customs Law (Law No. 40 of 2002) via Official Gazette issue No. 11 of 2023, with an immediate effect.

Key highlights of the amendments: 

  1. Duties paid on lost/abandoned goods: Customs duty paid for lost or abandoned goods is now non-refundable.
  2. Customs procedures flexibility: Importers can complete customs procedures without commercial invoices under specific conditions.
  3. Customs duty exemptions: Customs duty exemptions have been expanded to cover the following categories: 
    1. Security-related imports
    2. Incoming personal postal parcels and dispatches (excluding tobacco and certain commodities)
    3. Goods imported by persons with disabilities, relevant government agencies, and those related to disability care
    4. Rescue materials
    5. Goods that are temporarily exported and returned subject to specified conditions and controls
    6. Commercial samples imported to GCC countries with a value not exceeding 5,000 Qatari riyals
  4. Penalty increase: Penalties for "smuggling" cases have increased to three times the duties or double the goods' value, as per GCC Common Customs law. The broad definition of ‘smuggling’ as per Article 142 of the GCC Common Customs law is now enforced under Qatari customs law. Understanding the implications of these substantial penalty increases is essential.
  5. Qatar Customs commitments: The GAC Qatar is pleased to announce the following commitments aimed at enhancing trade facilitation:
    1. Pre-clearance for efficient trade: Pre-clearance of goods before their arrival at customs ports is now permitted, expediting foreign trade, reducing time and costs, and ensuring prompt goods release, thereby avoiding unnecessary port delays.
    2. Acceptance of electronic documents: The authority may accept electronic documents required for customs clearance, subject to specific conditions and controls, provided that the electronic documents and data are verifiable as authentic.
  6. Penalty waiver in case of voluntary disclosure: The Chairman may partially or wholly waive customs fines if violations are voluntarily disclosed before discovery. This applies to the following violations:
    1. Import and export violations.
    2. Customs declaration violations.
    3. Violations of goods in transit.
    4. Warehouse violations.
    5. Violations of the areas supervised by customs.
    6. Violations of temporary admission.
    7. Re-export violations.
    8. Any other customs violation.

Stay informed about these crucial updates to the Qatar Customs Law for a smoother import-export experience. For the official announcement issued in the Official Gazette of State of Qatar, please click here.  

Implications for taxpayers

The recent amendments by the Qatar Customs Authorities are aimed at boosting trade and streamlining customs procedures through document centralization and technology-based approaches. Simultaneously, they encourage taxpayer compliance by imposing stricter controls on non-compliance and offering incentives for voluntary disclosure of information irregularities.

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