The Bahamas are a group of approximately 700 islands located 60 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida in the Atlantic Ocean. Nassau, the Capital of the Bahamas, is located on New Providence Island. The official language of the Bahamas is English. The population is approximately 340,000. The Bahamas have been an independent member of the British commonwealth since 1973 and have one of the oldest parliamentary democracies in the Western Hemisphere. The islands have a political and legal system like that of the UK and British common law applies. The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) were established in 1973. CARICOM has three primary objectives: economic integration of the economies of member states; functional cooperation in areas which include education, health, air transportation, meteorology and labor relations; and coordination of foreign policies, including the sharing of foreign embassy and foreign representative facilities.
- Reporting Requirements
- Restrictions On Name and Activity
- Local Requirements
- Tax Treaties
- Professional Services
An IBC is exempt from taxes. Interest, dividends, rents, royalties and compensation paid by an IBC to persons who are not residents in the Bahamas are exempt from income taxes. Also, capital gains realized by non-residents with respect to any shares are tax-exempt.
A minimum of one shareholder is required and either registered or bearer shares may be issued. If shares are issued in registered form, the shareholders do not need to disclose their identity to the Registrar of Companies. However, the company must keep a register known as a Register of Shares in its registered office. Directors The Bahamian IBC requires one director. The director does not need to be a shareholder. In addition, corporate and non-resident directors are permitted. Details of directors are not required to appear in public files.
An IBC is not required to file any financial reports or tax returns in the Bahamas. In addition, the books and records may be maintained in any manner desired and in any part of the world.
Restrictions On Name And Activity
Names must end with one of the following words, or abbreviations thereof- Limited, corporation, incorporated, societe, anonyme, or sociedad anonima. The following words, and their associated activities, cannot be used: Assurance, Bank, Building Society, Chamber of Commerce, Chartered, Cooperative, Imperial, Insurance, Municipal and Royal.
An IBC may not conduct business with persons resident in the Bahamas, nor own an interest in real estate situated in the referred jurisdiction, nor carry on banking, trust or insurance business or the business of providing the registered office for companies.
The local company law requires that an IBC maintain a registered office address within the Bahamas and must also appoint a Bahamas resident as a registered agent.
There are no specific statutory provisions governing secrecy in relation to companies.
There are no double-taxation treaties, however, a tax treaty with the United States does permit access to bank records if tax evasion or drug smuggling is suspected.
There is a high quality of professionals in the Bahamas. This is due to a successful and longstanding tax haven industry.