Saudi Arabia’s Tax Rules for Regional Headquarters (RHQ) - Al Taasis

Saudi Arabia’s Tax Rules for Regional Headquarters (RHQ)

Saudi Arabia's Tax Rules for Regional Headquarters (RHQ)

  • Introduction
  • Eligible Entities and Tax Incentives
  • Scope of Eligibility
  • Compliance and Substance Requirements
  • Penalties for Non-Compliance
  • Conclusion


In an ambitious move to strengthen its position as a global business hub, Saudi Arabia has rolled out the red carpet for multinational companies by introducing the Regional Headquarters (RHQ) program. This strategic initiative showcases the Kingdom’s commitment to fostering a pro-business environment and supports its vision to diversify its economy beyond oil. Saudi Arabia has introduced a pioneering framework to bolster its position as a hub for multinational corporations. Through the Regional Headquarters (RHQ) Tax Rules, the Kingdom has set the stage for an enticing financial environment for global businesses. 

By offering a 30-year tax relief on qualifying income, Saudi Arabia aims to attract and retain the world’s leading corporations, ensuring they benefit from an unparalleled fiscal advantage. Furthermore, the RHQ program is complemented by the opportunity to obtain premium residency, providing a compelling blend of financial incentives and lifestyle benefits. This combination of long-term tax incentives and residency options vividly illustrates the government’s dedication to supporting multinational corporations, reinforcing Saudi Arabia’s status as a destination of choice for business expansion in the Middle East.

Eligible Entities and Tax Incentives

The tax rules formulated by the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority (ZATCA) are at the heart of this initiative. RHQs must meet specific criteria to qualify, emphasizing the Kingdom’s goal to attract entities that contribute significantly to economic diversification. The primary attraction lies in the substantial tax incentives offered:

  1. A zero percent corporate income tax on income derived from eligible activities.
  2. A zero percent withholding tax on various payments to non-resident entities, including dividends and payments for services linked to the RHQ’s operations.

These incentives are not merely short-term lures but are extended for a generous period of 30 years, with the possibility of renewal. This long-term commitment underscores Saudi Arabia’s dedication to fostering a stable and attractive investment climate.

Scope of Eligibility

To ensure clarity and focus, the ZATCA has outlined what constitutes an RHQ and the activities it must engage in to benefit from these incentives. An RHQ is defined as a unit of a multinational group established in Saudi Arabia that provides strategic supervision, administrative guidance, and support within the region. The classification of eligible activities is precise, aiming to meaningfully enhance the multinational group’s regional presence.

Compliance and Substance Requirements

Eligibility for these incentives comes with compliance and substance requirements to ensure that the RHQs contribute tangibly to the Saudi economy. These include:

  • Holding a valid license for the sanctioned activities.
  • Maintaining adequate business premises within the Kingdom.
  • Managing strategic activities locally, including the hosting of significant meetings.
  • Ensuring operational expenditures within the Kingdom align with the RHQ’s activities.
  • Employing a skilled workforce that meets the qualifications necessary for the RHQ’s operations.

Furthermore, adherence to the Kingdom’s tax laws, including registration with ZATCA and maintaining accurate financial records, is mandatory. These measures aim to uphold the integrity of the financial incentives while promoting economic substance within the Kingdom.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

To safeguard the framework’s objectives, penalties are in place for non-compliance. These range from financial penalties—starting at SAR 100,000 and potentially escalating to SAR 400,000 for repeated violations—to the revocation of tax incentives. Such measures underscore the seriousness with which Saudi Arabia approaches the governance of these incentives.


The RHQ tax rules represent a significant step by Saudi Arabia to cement its status as a premier destination for multinational corporations looking to expand their footprint in the Middle East. The Kingdom is setting a new standard for economic development and investment attraction by offering compelling tax incentives while ensuring compliance and substance. These regulations offer multinational corporations a clear path to benefiting from Saudi Arabia’s strategic location, robust infrastructure, and commitment to economic innovation.

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