The Bahamas is a former British colony which gained independence in 1973, although it has had its own parliament for over 260 years as an independent member of the British Commonwealth. The Bahamas comprises over 700 islands in the Caribbean Sea to the southeast of Florida. Since independence, the Bahamas has enjoyed a stable democratic government. In the same time zone as New York, the Bahamas is less than an hour away by air from Miami and is directly accessible from a number of other major cities. The islands, with their tropical climate, attract millions of visitors each year. For further information, please visit the government website.

Law & Taxation

The International Business Companies (IBC) Act is the governing corporate law. It was originally introduced in 1990 and is modeled on the British Virgin Islands’ (BVI) IBC Act. It has been revised several times since the year 2000, with the latest amendment being June 2010. The IBC Act requires the filing of Register of Directors and Officers with the Bahamas Registrar of Companies and the information is on public record. The annual government fee is USD350 for authorised capital of USD50,000 or below and USD1,000 for authorised capital above USD50,000. In addition, the Bahamas IBC Act provides for the establishment of special purpose vehicles (SPV), such as Limited Duration Companies.

Corporate Requirements

Each Bahamian company must have a Registered Agent and Registered Office in the Bahamas, provided by a licenced service provider. Each company must have one director who may be an individual or a company. A copy of the Register of Directors and Officers must be filed with the Bahamas Registrar of Companies within twelve months after the appointment and the original kept at the Registered Office in the Bahamas. A notice of a change in the directors and officers must also be filed with the Registrar within twelve months after such change occurs. The company should have at least one shareholder and bearer shares are no longer allowed. Details of the beneficial owner must be disclosed to the registered agent, but are not on public record. There are no requirements to file annual returns or audited accounts.

Local Infrastructure

Given its proximity to the United States of America, it is not surprising that the Bahamas is a popular tourist destination as well as a convenient offshore financial centre. Telecommunications are excellent, with direct dialling by phone or by fax to almost every country in the world. Flying in or out of the Bahamas is also convenient. The Bahamas is a major offshore banking centre with over 400 banks present and holding deposits in excess of USD390 billion. There are also numerous legal and accounting firms and a substantial number of trust companies providing a wide array of services. However, there are reports of a substantial reduction in corporate business within the offshore services sector as a result of the strict corporate legislation. The lasting effect on the Bahamas as a competitive offshore financial centre remains to be seen. At present, the Bahamas Companies Registry compares less favourably with the BVI and Samoa for efficiency, while the stricter compliance requirements and increased licence fee offer little advantage.

How We Can Help You

OMC can incorporate a company with your choice of name and confirm the availability of names in advance. Full due diligence requirements must be satisfied before we can proceed with incorporation. All companies are provided with a complete company kit that includes share certificates, 5 copies of the M&A, statutory registers, common seal, company chop and a certificate of guarantee of quality. In addition, OMC can assist clients in obtaining certificates of good standing and other certificates of corporate existence, as well as relevant post incorporation services.

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