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The Bahamas

Introduction

The Bahamas known officially as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas

It consists of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, and is located north of Cuba and Hispaniola, northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, southeast of the United States state of Florida, and east of the Florida Keys.

The capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence. The total of area is 13,878 km2 .

Population:

The Bahamas has an estimated population of 391,232. The ethnic makeup of the country is African (85%), European (12%), and Asian and Latin Americans (3%).

Language:

The official language of the Bahamas is English. Many people speak an English-based creole language called Bahamian dialect.

Political Structure

The Bahamas is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy headed by Queen Elizabeth II in her role as Queen of the Bahamas.

Political and legal traditions closely follow those of the United Kingdom and the Westminster system. The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations as a Commonwealth realm, retaining the Queen as head of state (represented by a Governor-General).

The Bahamas has a two-party system dominated by the centre-left Progressive Liberal Party and the centre-right Free National Movement.

Economy

By the terms of GDP per capita, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas.[56] It was revealed in the Panama Papers that The Bahamas is the jurisdiction with the most offshore entities or companies. The economy has a very competitive tax regime.

Currency:

Bahamian dollar (BSD) (US dollars widely accepted).

Exchange Control:

No foreign exchange control

Financial services industry:

After tourism, the next most important economic sector is banking and international financial services, accounting for some 15% of GDP. The government has adopted incentives to encourage foreign financial business, and further banking and finance reforms are in progress.

The Bahamas is an internationally-recognised and renowned offshore centre. A large number of banks and financial institutions are established there. The offshore companies registered in the country are widely-used around the globe and benefit from a high level of confidentiality.

Corporate Law/Act

  • Bahamas is very stable jurisdiction with an excellent reputation and good communication means.
  • Companies incorporated in the Bahamas must be in accordance with company law declared in Bahamas International Business Companies Act.
  • The Securities Commission of the Bahamas is the governing authority.
  • The basis of legal system is under Common Law.

Type of Company/Corporation:

A Bahamas International Business Company (IBC)

Business Restriction:

A Bahamian IBC can conduct business with Bahamians and may own real estate in the Bahamas, but local exchange controls and stamp duties are applicable for such cases. IBCs cannot conduct the business of banking, insurance, fund or trust management, collective investment schemes, investment advice, or any other banking or insurance industry-related activity (without an appropriate license or government permission). Moreover, a Bahamian IBC cannot sell its own shares nor solicit funds from the public.

Company Name Restriction:

  • A Bahamian IBC’s name must end with a word, phrase or abbreviation that indicates Limited Liability, such as "Limited", "Ltd.", "Société Anonyme", "S.A.", "Corporation", "Corp.”, “Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung” or any relevant abbreviation.
  • Restricted names include those suggesting the patronage of the Royal Family or the Bahamas Government such as, "Imperial", "Royal", "Republic", "Commonwealth", or "Government".
  • Other restrictions are placed on names that have already been incorporated or names that are similar to those that have been incorporated to avoid confusion. Additionally, names that are considered indecent or offensive are also restricted in the Bahamas.

Company Information privacy:

The Bahamas ensures privacy for offshore corporations. The names of corporate shareholders and directors remain private. The International Business Companies (IBC) Act of 1990 ensures that corporate information in the Bahamas remains confidential.

The names of company officers appear on public record. Nominee officers can be used to avoid the client's name appearing.

Incorporation Procedure

Just 4 simple steps are given to incorporate a Company in Bahamas:
  • Step 1: Select basic Resident/Founder nationality information and other additional services which you want (if any).
  • Step 2: Register or login and fill in the company names and director/ shareholder(s) and fill in billing address and special request (if any).
  • Step 3: Choose your payment method (We accept payment by Credit/Debit Card, PayPal or Wire Transfer).
  • Step 4: You will receive soft copies of necessary documents including: Certificate of Incorporation, Business Registration, Memorandum and Articles of Association, etc. Then, your new company in Bahamas is ready to do business. You can bring the documents in company kit to open corporate bank account or we can help you with our long experience of Banking support service.
* These documents required to incorporate company in Bahamas:
  • Passport of each shareholder/beneficial owner and director;
  • Proof of residential address of each director and shareholder (Must be in English or certified translation version);
  • The proposed company names;
  • The issued share capital and par value of shares.

Bahamas International Business Company (IBC) has fast incorporation procedures and simple ongoing administration.

Compliance

Capital:

The standard authorised capital is USD 50,000 and minimum paid up is USD 1. The share capital may be expressed in any currency.

Share:

Classes of Shares Permitted: Registered shares, shares of no par value, preference shares, redeemable shares and shares with or without voting rights. Bearer shares are not permitted.

Director:

Only one director of any nationality is required. There is no requirement for a local resident director. The names of directors do not appear in public records.

Shareholder:

Only one shareholder of any nationality is required. The sole director can be the same as the sole shareholder.

Beneficial Owner:

Disclosure of Beneficial Ownership to Government Authorities. Details are disclosed to the Registered Agent but are not publicly available.

Taxation:

Companies in the Bahamas are totally tax exempt, guaranteed by law for 20 years from the date of incorporation. This includes no taxes on dividends, interest, royalties, rent, compensation, income, inheritance, etc .

Finance statement:

In the Bahamas, the fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. - There are no requirements to file company financial statements. There is no requirement to produce or file an annual return.

Local Agent:

The International Companies Act 2000 makes no specific reference to a company secretary, but one is normally appointed to facilitate signing obligations. We can provide this service.

Double Taxation Agreements:

The Bahamas has no double taxation treaties.

License

License Fee & Levy:

Companies with an authorised share capital, with a par value, up to US$50,000 pay the sum of US$350 per year. Companies with an authorised share capital with a par value greater than US$50,001 pay the sum of US$1,000 per year.

Business License:

Under the Business Licence Act, businesses operating in the Bahamas are required to obtain an annual business licence and pay annual licence fees.

Payment, Company return date Date:

Business licences must be renewed annually and an annual licence tax must be paid. The deadline for filing for renewal is 31st January, and the deadline for paying the licence tax is 31st March.

Penalty:

Effective 1st January, 2016, the following fines and penalties have been imposed:

  • $100 for late filing and for late notification of inactivation or cessation of business.
  • 10% of the tax liability for late payment.

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