International Fiscal Association experts discuss taxation of Islamic finance

Qatar Financial Centre Authority hosts seminar
Doha, Qatar, 18 November 2013 –

Taxation of Sharia’ah compliant financial products and transactions was the main topic examined by a distinguished group of experts meeting in Doha this week. Among the subjects discussed were the Qatar Financial Centre Authority ‘s ( QFC Authority ) taxation of Islamic transactions research project and how Islamic finance transactions are structured in practice.

International Fiscal Association experts discuss taxation of Islamic finance

International Fiscal Association experts discuss taxation of Islamic finance

The seminar, which took place at the W Hotel Doha, was held under the auspices of the GCC branch of the International Fiscal Association (IFA). It is the second successive year in which the QFC Authority has hosted a meeting of the branch in Doha.

The seminar started with a presentation by Mohammed Desin, a partner at Ernst & Young, who looked at the growth potential for Islamic finance in the region, and provided a clear explanation of why Sharia’ah compliant products were important.

Mr Desin said: “Islamic finance is effectively the sharing of risk and reward and not ignoring the economics of the transaction. We say: ‘We are partners with you’. The intention of the parties doing the transaction is critical.”
The keynote speaker, Mohammed Amin an Islamic finance consultant, discussed the research he conducted earlier in the year on the cross-border taxation of Islamic finance in the MENA region which was sponsored and supported by the QFC Authority .

The impetus behind the research, for which Malaysia and the UK were comparators, was to suggest tax policies for countries wishing to develop a supportive tax regime for Islamic finance.

Mr Amin observed: “There’s very little legislation for Islamic finance. Countries are at very different stages of development. For example, of the countries which responded to our study enquiries, only Turkey and the Qatar Financial Centre have specific rules for Sukuk.”

Another speaker, Moshin Iqbal from Latham and Watkins, described in detail some real transactions in the GCC region, and identified pitfalls for the unwary investor. He commented: “A comprehensive legal structure is essential in any jurisdiction to ensure that Sharia’ah finance is successful.”

Ian Anderson, CFO and Director of Tax, QFC Authority chaired the meeting, which was attended by tax experts across the GCC, lawyers, accountants, bankers and representatives from the Ministry of Finance.

Providing a world-class tax regime is central to the QFC Authority ‘s strategy as a prominent regional financial centre. The IFA is the leading non-governmental organisation dealing with tax and related policy matters. The community of tax professionals in Qatar and the region has grown considerably in recent years.

Mr. Anderson said: “Islamic finance is growing rapidly in many parts of the world, not least in the Gulf. Improving the understanding of taxation of Islamic finance is therefore increasingly important – and our seminar took significant steps in that direction. It has been a privilege to host an important IFA meeting in Doha for the second consecutive year. As a leading financial centre offering a very attractive environment for Islamic finance, the QFC Authority has a deep interest in the taxation of Islamic finance. We will continue to support research and encourage debate to help advance knowledge in this area.”

Photo credit: Mr Mohammed Desin, a partner at Ernst & Young, speaking at the QFC Authority hosted 2nd Annual GCC International Fiscal Association (IFA) Meeting in Doha.


About the International Fiscal Association.

The International Fiscal Association (IFA) was established in 1938 with its headquarters in the Netherlands. It is the only non-governmental and non-sectoral international organisation dealing with fiscal matters. IFA is a not for profit association, with 63 branches globally; the UAE branch has recently received approval to extend its membership coverage to the GCC region.

The aim of the GCC branch, comprising of both individual and corporate members, is to provide a forum for members of the tax community (in-house, private practice, and regulatory) to network, exchange ideas fuelling both debate and education. IFA does not engage in lobbying but does often make contributions to academic research that assists the global tax community as a whole.

The GCC branch is looking to increase its membership and participation from around the region.

About QFC.

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) is a financial and business centre established by the Government of Qatar and located in Doha. It has been designed to attract international financial services institutions and major multi-national corporations in particular those operating in the reinsurance, captive insurance and asset management sectors and to encourage participation in the growing market for financial services in Qatar and elsewhere in the region. The QFC operates to international standards and provides a first class legal and business infrastructure for those operating within the QFC. The QFC was created by Qatar Law No. (7) and has been open for business since 1 May 2005. This is the third year in succession that the QFC has won the Global Investor “Best Financial Centre in Middle East” award.

QFC Authority.

The QFC Authority is the commercial, administrative and legislative body responsible for leading the expansion of Qatar’s financial services sector, providing a uniquely sustainable platform for regional growth in reinsurance, captive insurance and asset management.


For further information:
International Fiscal Association
Dominic Treays
Tel: +971 4 321 8740
Email: [email protected]

Qatar Financial Centre Authority
Yusuf Jehangir
Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications
Qatar Financial Centre Authority
Tel: +974 4496 7784
[email protected]

Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Michael Prest, President, Gulf Region
+974 3373 5083
[email protected]

© Press Release 2013

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