When looking for investment alternatives, we always need to understand the context. In this case, we would like to show you some of the latest news from the Bahamas in terms of legislation, events and government agencies/institutions that may be of interest to you in order to have the most reliable information possible. We hope that with this you will be able to have a more updated and complete picture of what this country represents at the moment and you will be able to make your decisions more accurately.
In any case, if you have a particular interest in any sector of the Bahamian economy, you can always review the articles we have prepared for you from our experts.
Changes in the Legislation of the Bahamas
In general, international financial centers, such as The Bahamas, have changed their investment fund standards and introduced the rules of funds to be part of bigger global transparency and to take part in international initiatives.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, The Bahamas attempted to continue with the activity of its economy in general. To that end, its regulators kept themselves under constant review of the country's business-related legal framework. Here are some of the most notable changes that have taken place over the past year.
The first changes that we would like to mention are related to the management of public debt and public finance. In that sense, the government introduced two bills for acts. These are the Public Debt Management Bill, 2021, and the Public Finance Management Bill, 2021. According to the official website of the government of The Bahamas, the first one is “A bill for an act to consolidate the law relating to the management and control of public debt in the Bahamas and to provide for Governance aspects, high-level policy objectives and institutional arrangements for the prudent management of the Government's debt, the giving of guarantees and granting of loans, and to provide for matters connected therewith or ancillary thereto”.
Then, the latest one is “A bill for an act to provide for the control and management of public finance, for the operation of the consolidated fund, for the authorization of expenditures, for the administration of special funds, for the investment of public money, for internal audit, for the management of government property, for the preparation of the financial statements and reports on public finances, for the accountability of public entities and government business enterprises, collection of revenue and for transitional matters and consequential amendments and to provide for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto”.
As you can see, the Bahamian government is concerned about the perception that not only foreign investors have about the management of public funds or debt, but also the national people. When a government has transparency in the management of these aspects, it gives a better sense of trust and allows better opportunities to grow within a country.
Likewise, we have the Statistics Bill, 2021. This is an act to repeal the Statistics Act of 1973. This new bill has been set to establish The Bahamas National Statistical Institute and The Bahamas National Statistical Institute Board. The objective with all of this is “to make provision for a national statistical system to facilitate the establishment of standards for collecting, compiling, analysing and publishing official statistics and for related purposes”. This is also great news, considering that once you are making a market opportunity analysis it can be really helpful to have statistical information, updated and well organized.
Finally, there has been an amendment to the Value Added Tax Bill of 2014 and now is known as Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2021. There, among other things, it is established that “A marketplace shall be liable to pay and account for VAT in respect of a vacation home rental and any services offered as part of that rental based on the total value of the rental and services and the commission earned by the marketplace”.
Also, this bill includes the VAT exemption on the collection of government revenue. This means that “Any supply of services relating to the authorized collection of government revenue on behalf of the government from the 1st day of July, 2020 is exempt from VAT”. If you want to get to know all of these amendments in detail you can check the official website of the government, or directly ask our experts about any inquiry you may have related to these topics.
After reviewing the major general changes to the legislation related to the business environment in The Bahamas, we would also like to introduce you to some government agencies and their functions. This is helpful to monitor by yourself any change in the legal framework or conditions surrounding your business or even your life in the Bahamas in case you are considering living there as an ex-pat.
Ministry of Finance: Its main responsibility is the management of the government's financial resources. This responsibility includes planning, supporting, and making consultations on the most appropriate economic tax policy with the aim of sustainable economic growth and development. The development and management of the government budget is also an important aspect of the function of this Bahamian institution.
Under this ministry, you will find the Department of Inland Revenue which is a union of a number of The Bahamas’ primary tax and revenue agencies namely Business Licence, First Homeowners Exemption, Real Property Tax, and Value Added Tax.
Customs Department: Their main function is the collection and protection of the Revenue of The Bahamas. For doing so, this department assesses and collects customs duties, fees, and penalties due on imports, among other things. The scope of responsibility under the Department is vast and stretches across the archipelago of the Bahamas.
Registrar Generals Department, under the scope of the Office of the Attorney General & Ministry of Legal Affairs, has among its main duties the registration of companies, Likewise, this institution is in charge of the registration of Deeds, and documents certification and registration. Finally, it also has an Intellectual Property Office, related to the registration of patents, trademarks & copyright,
The Ministry of Financial Services, Trade & Industry, and Immigration is the Bahamian authority in charge of Work and Residency Permits. Also, and according to its official website, it “is the entity responsible for providing vision, strategic direction, policy, and information related to the movement of financial resources, goods, and people”.
As you can see, the Bahamian government has a well-organized network of websites that can provide you with all the information you need when first approaching the legal framework of The Bahamas. Even though it is always good to review the primary source of information, our experts are more than willing and prepared to make it even easier for you. Business, expats’ lifestyle, investment opportunities, registration documents, and any doubt you may have: do not worry, we’ve got you covered.
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