Lebanon isn’t the first place you’d think of to open a company. The images of the war-torn capital Beirut after years of civil war which ended in 1990 would probably be the only things that come to mind when you mention Lebanon. But since that time, the country has worked hard to establish itself within the business community by offering entrepreneurs excellent tax benefits.
The corporate tax rates are among the lowest in the world (currently at 17%, the tax rate in 2019 is forecast to go even lower to only 15%) and the free market policy, together with a favourable environment for the private sector and its location means the country is an interesting prospect for entrepreneurs who want to expand into Middle Eastern and African markets.
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Lebanon has now established itself as a regional and international centre for trade and finance. Qatar’s Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has recently invested $500 million into the country which comes complete with a sophisticated legal framework which protects the rights and assets of both Lebanese and non-Lebanese residents with the advantage of complete repatriation of capital for investors.
The other legal and tax benefits in Lebanon include the fact that non-Lebanese general managers and employees do not need work permits (providing the company doesn’t go over a balance sheet threshold of $667,000) and certain companies are provided protection from stamp duties on contracts, inheritance tax, tax on profits, interest tax gained on foreign investments and tax on salaries paid to employees working outside Lebanon.
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The capital Beirut is a perfect place for business. The bars and restaurants in the lively districts of Achrafieh and Gemayzeh and the celebrated Arabic coffee shops and the Ramlet al-Baida beach bring in tourists from all around the world. The country has worked hard to rebuild itself after the war years and it now reflects all the wonderful Lebanese traditions but with an updated business edge that can compete with some of the bigger trade capitals in Europe. With the added advantage of being a sea-edged country, the possibilities for import and export are numerous.
If you’re interested in setting up a business in Lebanon, the documents and information needed to incorporate your company are as follows:
- Name of the company (24 hours are needed to check the availability of the name).
- Copies of the IDs of the shareholders (a minimum of three is required). If the shareholders are outside Lebanon, you will need a power of attorney which should be certified at the Lebanese Embassy). If one of the shareholders is a company, articles of incorporation and the certificate of registration will also be needed, along with a board resolution which needs to be certified at the Commercial Register, and the Lebanese Embassy).
- The percentage each shareholder holds.
- Name of the Chairperson/General Manager.
- Capital (the minimum is of LBP 30,000,000/ $20,000) and 25% of the capital (LBP 7,500,000/ $5,000) must be deposited at the bank upon incorporation of the company. As soon as the company is incorporated, that share capital can be used.
- The name of the father and mother, number of children, phone number and detailed home address of every shareholder. Proof of residency (deed, real estate certificate or rental agreement) is also compulsory.
Once those documents and information are in place, then corporation is only a short step away. For more information regarding setting up a company in Lebanon, just email us via our contact page or call us on 0033 (0) 1 53 57 49 10.
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