Lying to the north of Cuba and Hispaniola, the archipelago comprises nearly 700 islands and cays, only about 30 of which are inhabited, and more than 2,000 low, barren rock formations. It stretches more than 500 miles (800 km) southeast-northwest between Grand Bahama Island, which has an area of 530 square miles (1,373 square km) and lies about 60 miles (100 km) off the southeastern coast of the U.S. state of Florida, and Great Inagua Island, some 50 miles (80 km) from the eastern tip of Cuba. The islands other than New Providence are known collectively as the Out (Family) Islands. They include Grand Bahama, which contains the major settlements of Freeport and West End; Andros (2,300 square miles [6,000 square km]), the largest island of The Bahamas; Abaco, or Great Abaco, (372 square miles [963 square km]); and Eleuthera (187 square miles [484 square km]), the site of one of the early attempts at colonization.
The name Bahamas is of Lucayan Taino (Arawakan) derivation, although some historians believe it is from the Spanish bajamar, meaning “shallow water.” The islands occupy a position commanding the gateway to the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the entire Central American region. Their strategic location has given the history of The Bahamas a unique and often striking character. It was there that Christopher Columbus made his original landfall in the Americas. The subsequent fate of the peaceful original inhabitants remains one of the more tragic episodes in the development of the entire region, while the early attempts at European-dominated settlement were marked by intense national rivalries, interspersed with long periods of lawlessness and piracy
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The Bahamas is one of the industry veterans when it comes to offshore financial services. Since the 30s and 40s, the jurisdiction has been attracting foreign wealth due to its absence of taxation and its confidentiality policies. Although it lost popularity after its independence from Great Britain back in 1973, in favor of Cayman, BVI or Bermuda, it is still one of the go-to jurisdictions in terms of offshore corporate, trust and banking services.
Last December 2018, the Bahamas implemented several legislative changes to comply with requirements set by the EU and the OECD, by enacting the Removal of Preferential Exemptions Act; Commercial Entities (Substance Requirements) Act; the Register of Beneficial Ownership Act; and the Multinational Entities Financial Reporting Act
The Removal of Preferential Exemptions Act abolishes ring-fencing features provided by the International Business Companies Act; the Exempted Limited Partnership Act; the Investment Condominium Act, 2014; and the Executive Entities Act, 2011 – which provided companies incorporated by non-residents to enjoy certain exemptions if they were operated completely outside of the Bahamas.
International Business Corporation (IBC) (Company limited by shares)
|Governing corporate legislation|
Companies in Bahamas are regulated under the IBC Act 200. The Securities Commission of the Bahamas is the governing authority.
International Business Companies may be formed by one or more shareholders, who can be either natural or legal persons, residents or non-residents, without limitations. Details of shareholders are not publicly disclosed. Nominee shareholders are allowed.
At least one director is required, who may be a natural person or a legal entity. Directors’ details are available to the public. Nominee directors are permitted.
|Information published relating to company officers|
Details of shareholders are not publicly disclosed. Nominee shareholders are allowed.
Directors’ details are available to the public. Nominee directors are permitted.
The liability of the shareholders is limited up to the amount of the shares they hold.
|Accounting requirement/ compliance|
No accounting / reporting requirements. N.B. As per Section 67. (1) of the IBC Act, a company shall keep such financial statements, accounts and records as the directors consider necessary or desirable in order to reflect the financial position of the company
|Corporate income tax|
Bahamas does not levy corporate income tax.
There are no withholding taxes on dividends, interests, and royalties paid to non-residents.
IBCs in the Bahamas may trade with residents and they may own real estate within the territory, but exchange controls and stamp duties on authorized capital will apply in these cases.
|Shared capital/paid up|
The authorized share capital is usually US$50,000. There is no statutory requirement for capital to be fully or partly paid on incorporation.
|Basis of the Legal System|
Under Common Law.
The appointment of officers such as a secretary is optional, and may be an individual or a corporation, resident or non-resident.
Registered shares, shares of no par value, voting and non-voting shares, preference shares, redeemable shares and shares with or without voting rights are permitted. Bearer shares are not permitted
An IBC must have a registered office in the Bahamas, provided by a licensed service provider.
Annual general meetings are not mandatory. However, if meetings are held, they can be anywhere in the world and may be by proxy or by telephone.
|Time to form|
Forming a company in the Bahamas is also quick and can be completed within one week, after receipt of all the required documents.
Anniversary date of the company / Each Year
Convenient world time zone: GMT-4
Bahamas offers a high level of anonymity and privacy.
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