An island country consisting of more than 700 islands off the coast of Florida, The Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1973. It is economically and politically stable and one of the most developed countries in the Caribbean region.

The International Business Companies (IBC) Act 1989 was created with the intention of producing a modern entity to provide for a natural person or group of persons to transact business globally. Since the creation of the IBC there have been over 360,000 IBCs incorporated.

Benefits of an IBC:

• A minimum of two subscribers can form an IBC
• One director required, that may be a corporate or individual of any nationality
• No fixed limit on the amount of authorised capital
• Two days for incorporation. Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum and Articles available 5 working days later
• IBCs can conduct business with Bahamians and may also own Bahamian real estate, but local exchange controls and stamp duty will apply in these cases
• Has all the powers of a natural person

Company Formation in The Bahamas: a short guide

Company Law Companies Act 1992, The International Business Companies Act 2000 with amendments and The Segregated Accounts Companies Act 2004
Types of Company A Limited Company (limited by shares or guarantee), Unlimited Company, Limited Duration Company, Foreign Registered Company, An International Business Company (IBC) and Segregated Accounts Company.
Taxation rates applied to Companies Domestic Companies: Annual company taxes (Business Licence) based on annual gross revenue. It is also subject to Real Property taxes if it holds land located in The Bahamas.
IBC’s: Real Property tax is paid on an annual basis if the IBC owns property located in The Bahamas
Double Taxation Treaty Since the Bahamas do not levy direct taxes, there are no double tax treaties between the Bahamas and other countries.
Capital Requirements No minimal capital requirements.
Members Domestic Companies: minimum of two shareholders
IBC’s: minimum of one shareholder
Directors Domestic Companies: should have a director which is resident of The Bahamas
IBC’s: no requirement for a resident director
Corporate directors are allowed and a local registered office is required for all companies. IBC’s also require a registered agent.
Secretary Domestic Companies: should have a secretary which is resident of The Bahamas.
Annual Meetings Domestic Companies: hold Annual General Meetings (AGMs)
IBC’s: Not required to hold AGMs. Directors meetings are held in the event special resolutions need to be passed
Accounts Domestic Companies: are required to submit an annual statement of returns which displays the shareholders of the company, the names of the shareholders, directors and officers of the company.
IBC’s: not required to submit an annual statement of returns but are required to submit register of directors and officers to the Registrar General upon incorporation or within 12months, as well as when changes are made.
Method of incorporation and timescale Domestic Companies: Registration of Memorandum & Articles must occur within 6 months after the issuance of the Certificate of Incorporation.
IBC’s: Registration of Memorandum & Articles is required at the time of incorporation Quick incorporation procedure and simple ongoing administration.

If you’d like a hard copy of this information then click to download our Bahamas Company Factsheet (PDF).

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are interested in setting up an IBC today – and click here to find out more about Boston’s corporate governance services.