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Is shopping tax free in Qatar?

Qatar is well known as a shopping destination, with many people visiting the country specifically to take advantage of the tax free shopping. But what exactly does tax free shopping mean, and what are the requirements to get tax free prices? Let’s take a closer look at shopping and taxes in Qatar.

What is Tax Free Shopping?

Tax free shopping refers to the ability to purchase goods without having to pay certain taxes and fees on them. When you shop tax free, you don’t pay any of the following taxes at the point of sale:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT) – This is a tax on the increased value of a product at each stage of production and distribution.
  • Sales Tax – A tax applied to the retail sale of goods and services.
  • Excise Tax – A tax on specific goods, often luxury items or vices like alcohol and tobacco.
  • Import Duties – Taxes on goods brought into a country.

By not having to pay these taxes, you can get significant savings on your purchases. The prices are lower compared to what you would pay if you were a local resident doing your shopping. Tax free shopping makes the deals even better for visitors.

Is Qatar Tax Free for Tourists?

Yes, Qatar offers tax free shopping for tourists and visitors to the country. As an incentive to boost tourism and shopping, Qatar allows foreign visitors to buy goods tax free. This policy applies at many shops, malls, hotels, and outlets across Qatar.

However, it is important to note that tax free shopping is only valid in Qatar for non-resident foreign tourists. Locals and foreign expats who are living and working in Qatar do not get the same tax free privileges – they must pay VAT and other taxes as usual on their purchases.

Who Qualifies for Tax Free Shopping in Qatar?

To qualify for tax free shopping in Qatar, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have a valid passport from another country – Qatar ID cards don’t qualify.
  • You must be a non-resident visiting Qatar on a temporary basis as a tourist.
  • You must be able to show your valid passport plus entry visa page or entry stamp to confirm your tourist status.
  • Your purchases must be hand carried when you exit the country rather than shipped.

As long as you meet these simple requirements, you can enjoy tax free prices on shopping in Qatar during your visit. Some stores may ask to see your passport before allowing tax free purchases.

What Can You Buy Tax Free in Qatar?

Many different goods are eligible for tax free shopping in Qatar. Some of the most common items that tourists buy tax free include:

  • Fashion and clothing
  • Jewelry, watches, and accessories
  • Perfumes and cosmetics
  • Leather goods and bags
  • Electronics – laptops, cameras, phones
  • Home goods – rugs, furniture, decor
  • Tobacco – cigarettes and cigars
  • Alcohol – at licensed duty free stores
  • Chocolates, sweets, and candies
  • Souvenirs and gifts

Luxury brands are heavily promoted in Qatar for their tax free appeal. Most malls and shopping centers will have a dedicated tax free desk to help tourists take advantage of it on a wide array of products.

Are There Any Exceptions to Tax Free Shopping?

While Qatar offers tax free shopping on most goods, there are a few exceptions where taxes still apply:

  • Hotel accommodations are subject to a 10% tax for non-residents.
  • Entertainment services and events are subject to a 5% tax.
  • Food and beverage services have a 7% tax.
  • Telecom services have a 5% tax.

These hospitality, tourism, and service related taxes still apply even if you qualify for tax free shopping otherwise. But you can enjoy tax free discounts on any retail goods you buy in Qatar to take home with you.

What is the Tax Free Shopping Process?

Buying goods tax free in Qatar is a straightforward process:

  1. Present your passport at the shop when making your purchases to confirm you qualify for tax free status.
  2. The sales tax amount will be deducted upfront so you pay the tax free price.
  3. You will receive a Tax Free Form for each store to document your purchases.
  4. As you exit Qatar, show your purchases and Tax Free Forms at the Customs desk.
  5. Customs will stamp the forms to validate you took the goods out of Qatar.
  6. Submit the stamped Tax Free Forms to approved refund agents to receive your refund.

The refund amounts are typically credited back to your credit card. The process is designed to be quick and convenient for visiting tourists.

What Kinds of Tax Refunds are Available?

The types of taxes that can be refunded on your Qatar shopping depend on what you buy:

Purchase Refundable Taxes
General retail goods 5% VAT refund
Hotel stays 10% refund on room tax
Food & beverages 7% refund on F&B tax
Tobacco Refund of 100% of tobacco tax

Alcohol purchases do not receive any tax refunds in Qatar. But all other shopping and hospitality services are eligible for tax refunds when you leave the country as a tourist.

What Are the Tax Free Shopping Rules?

To enjoy tax free shopping benefits in Qatar, you need to follow these rules:

  • Have your passport and tourist visa ready to show stores.
  • Accept only digital Tax Free Forms – no paper forms.
  • Get customs to stamp forms before exiting Qatar within 3 months of purchase.
  • Refunds must be claimed within 3 months of getting customs stamp.
  • Goods must be for personal use, not commercial resale.
  • Purchases over QAR 3,000 require a bank guarantee deposit.

Failing to follow the procedures properly can mean you miss out on tax refunds. It is important to keep track of Tax Free Forms and get customs validation before the deadline.

Where Can You Go Tax Free Shopping in Qatar?

Popular places to enjoy tax free shopping in Qatar include:

  • Doha Festival City – More than 400 stores including IKEA and department stores.
  • Villaggio Mall – Luxury brands, entertainment, and dining options.
  • Mall of Qatar – Over 500 shops, cinemas, hypermarket, and more.
  • Souq Waqif – Outdoor traditional market with souvenirs and local wares.
  • Pearl-Qatar – Upscale pearl-themed mall with international and luxury brands.
  • Hamad International Airport – Extensive duty free shopping zone.

Wherever you choose to shop in Qatar, look for stores and malls that clearly advertise tax free shopping for tourists. There are deals to be had across Doha and beyond.

What’s the Best Time of Year for Tax Free Shopping in Qatar?

Some tips for the best tax free shopping periods include:

  • During major annual festivals and events like Qatar National Day, Eid, and Qatar Summer Festival.
  • Ramadan season, with malls open late into the evening.
  • Qatar’s two annual shopping festivals held in January and August.
  • During the cooler months of November to April when outdoor markets thrive.

Try to schedule your Qatar trip to coincide with big mall sales and shopping festivals for the very best tax free discounts.

How Much Can You Save with Tax Free Shopping?

The savings from Qatar’s tax free shopping can be substantial. As an example, consider a purchase of QR 1,000 (around USD 275):

Tax Regular Price (QR) Tax Free Price (QR) Savings (QR)
5% VAT 1,050 1,000 50
100% Tobacco Tax 2,000 1,000 1,000

Without tax, a QR 1,000 item would cost QR 1,050 with regular VAT added. On tobacco products, the savings are even bigger thanks to a 100% refund of tobacco tax.


In summary, shopping in Qatar is an excellent tax free opportunity for visiting tourists to the country. By meeting the requirements and following the procedures, you can save substantially on purchases to take home. Qatar offers a world class retail experience, with savings on top through the tax free policy – taking advantage can make your Qatar trip even more enjoyable and affordable.