Working in Morocco?
Morocco: Taxation and Business Etiquette
All foreign nationals who spend more than 183 days per year in Morocco are considered full-time residents for tax purposes and are liable to pay income tax in Morocco based on their worldwide income. As of 1 January 2010, income tax in Morocco is divided into six income brackets. Depending on which bracket your income falls under, you will have to pay up to 38% income tax.
Taxable income includes salaries, pensions, and annuities, and investment and income from any property you may own. According to PWC’s 2015 report for taxation in the Middle East, taxes are due by 1 March every year. The joint filing of married couples is not possible in Morocco, so spouses must each file an individual tax return.
For more information about taxation in Morocco, please visit the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The website is available in French, Arabic, and English, but the forms are only available in French. As the information on the site is not specifically geared towards expats, it is best to consult a certified tax advisor with any specific questions you may have.
Expats in Morocco are considered an equal part of the labor force, and as such your employer will automatically enroll you in the Moroccan social security system, Caisse Nationale de Securité Sociale (CNSS). Social security contributions are mandatory, and are split between employers (6.4% of monthly compensation for family allowances) and employees (4.48% of monthly compensation, the most being 6,000 MAD). These contributions are automatically deducted from your paycheck, and cover benefits including sickness and disability allowances, paid maternity leave, and retirement pensions.
Morocco has made bilateral social security agreements with numerous countries, including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and Tunisia, as well as several others which are still under negotiation.
It may be advisable to save money in an additional pension account during your assignment in Morocco. Private insurance is also available for additional coverage in event of accident, illness or death.
More information on the Moroccan social security system can be found on the website of the Caisse Nationale de Securité Sociale.
The standard work week in Morocco has 40 hours. Employees are entitled to 18 days of paid annual leave, increasing incrementally to 21 days after ten years of employment. In addition, there are 13 public holidays per year. The notice period for redundancy dismissal increases from four weeks to nearly nine weeks depending on the length of employment.
Moroccan Business Culture
Business in Morocco is strongly influenced by French business culture, and it therefore emphasizes formality and courtesy. As Moroccan culture is a very relationship-centered culture, building up strong and trusting business relationships is vital to success in the Moroccan business world. It may take several initial meetings before big decisions will be made.
Handshakes accompany introductions between people of the same sex in Morocco. When a man and a woman are first introduced to each other, the man should wait for the woman to offer her hand for a handshake first. If she does not, the man should instead bow his head in greeting.
Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual in Morocco. One side should be translated into French or Arabic, and the business card should be presented with the translated side facing up.
Moroccans make first impressions based on one’s attire, so dress to impress. Men should wear a conservative dark suit, and women should make sure their clothing covers their knees and arms.
Meetings should be scheduled at least one or two weeks in advance, and reconfirmed a day or two beforehand. Do not schedule meetings during the five daily prayer times or between 11:00 and 15:00 on Fridays, as that is when the Muslim weekly prayer service takes place. Many people take their vacation in August, and during Ramadan business in general slows down, so don’t expect any major decisions or important meetings to take place during these time periods.
Before arriving at a meeting, make sure to ascertain which language it will be held in, so you know if you need to hire an interpreter. Most meetings will be held in French, although English is gaining in popularity. Make sure to have all materials printed out in the correct language.
It is respectful to show up on time to meetings, even if your Moroccan counterpart may be running late. Although Moroccans are skilled negotiators, they do not respond well to hard-pressure tactics. Reaching a decision is often a lengthy procedure.
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