The legal jurisdiction we would like to focus your attention on in this short essay is Morocco. While for some people Morocco is cosmic blue wrapped in the gardens of Majorelle and for others it is the fragrance of saffron leading to Casablanca, for business it is a promising new jurisdiction that should not be underestimated and should be viewed closely.
The Moroccan economy has been characterized by tangible stability and low inflation in recent years, mostly due to exports, private investment and, of course, tourism. Registering a business in Morocco is a rather quick process, which takes just over a week and does not require much in the way of the necessary registration fees, which amount to about EUR 100. It is also worth mentioning that, for example, limited liability companies are not required to pay any legally prescribed minimum amount of share capital, but prior to registration, it will be necessary to ensure that the name chosen for the company is available.
The registration of property transactions in Morocco also does not take an enormous amount of time; it takes just over three weeks. When it comes to purchasing real estate from a legal entity, the initial stages of the registration procedure include a check that the seller is active, does not show any signs of bankruptcy, and is not in liquidation or in insolvency proceedings. When preparing for the transaction, the notary also checks the information about the seller, the authorization of the representatives, the seller’s title and whether the property has any encumbrances. It is also checked whether the seller has paid its taxes properly. If the property is being purchased from a private person, the notary public also conducts the necessary checks and certifies the contract. However, anyone, including citizens and companies from other countries, may buy Moroccan property.
Morocco is well positioned as a medium-tax jurisdiction in terms of its tax system. Morocco is not an offshore zone and is a party to double taxation treaties (including with Russia). The latter fact can be taken into account in tax structuring.
Moroccan VAT is 20% (a number of goods are subject to reduced rates), while a progressive taxation scale up to 30% applies to the calculation of corporate income tax. Moreover, dividends received by Moroccan companies from foreign companies are not taxed in Morocco, provided that the recipient company owns shares or equity interests in the companies paying the dividends.
From 2023, Moroccan legislation will be amended to gradually reduce the tax rate on capital gains from shares and similar income (for companies that started operations after 1 January 2023) to 10% by 2026. Accordingly, each year from 2023, the rate will decrease. Currently, it already stands at 13.75%.
Running a business in Morocco is also attractive in terms of cooperation with other countries. For example, Morocco has free trade agreements with the EU, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Turkey, which make it possible to not only reduce customs duties, but in some cases even to eliminate them.
A particular point of interest is the business hub established in Casablanca, which offers a number of advantages to companies that have been granted residency status in Casablanca Finance City, provided that such companies plan to conduct and administer business in the region and wish to participate actively in its development.
Finally, we would like to point out that Morocco offers the possibility of obtaining a residence permit when setting up a business or making an investment in an existing business. It is also possible to obtain a residence permit for the purchase of property in Morocco. Processing times for residence permit applications are short. Moroccan residency status gives access to the country’s banking system, which allows you to receive and make payments without restriction. A Moroccan residence permit also allows citizens of many countries to obtain a Moroccan driver’s license, which is recognized in many countries around the world, without having to take an exam.