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Bahamas – Taxation

The Bahamas is a popular destination for expats seeking to enjoy its tropical climate, beautiful beaches, and relaxed lifestyle. In this article, we will explain how the taxation system works in the Bahamas, whether the country offers any double taxation agreements, the main taxes expats need to be aware of, any special tax breaks that could apply to expats, how and when to file a tax return as an expat, and the tax exit procedures for anyone leaving the Bahamas to move abroad.

The Taxation System in the Bahamas

The Bahamas has a territorial taxation system, meaning that residents and non-residents are only taxed on income earned within the country. The Bahamas does not have any income tax, corporate tax, or capital gains tax. Instead, the government of the Bahamas relies on indirect taxes, such as customs duties, stamp duties, and value-added tax (VAT), to generate revenue.

Double Taxation Agreements

The Bahamas has signed several double taxation agreements with other countries to avoid double taxation for individuals and companies. These agreements ensure that income is not taxed twice in both countries, which can result in a significant tax burden for taxpayers. Some of the countries that have signed double taxation agreements with the Bahamas include the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Main Taxes in the Bahamas

As an expat in the Bahamas, there are several taxes that you need to be aware of. The main taxes include the value-added tax (VAT), customs duties, and stamp duties.

Value-added tax (VAT)

The value-added tax in the Bahamas is currently set at 12%. The VAT is applied to the sale of goods and services in the country, and it is paid by consumers. As an expat, you will need to pay VAT on any goods and services that you purchase in the Bahamas.


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Customs duties

Customs duties are levied on imported goods in the Bahamas. The amount of customs duty payable depends on the type of goods being imported and their value. As an expat, if you are planning to import goods into the country, you should be aware of the customs duty that you may be required to pay.

Stamp duties

Stamp duties are taxes that are payable on certain transactions in the Bahamas, such as the purchase of real estate or the transfer of shares. The amount of stamp duty payable depends on the value of the transaction. As an expat, if you are planning to engage in any of these transactions, you should be aware of the stamp duty that you may be required to pay.

Special Tax Breaks for Expats

The Bahamas offers several tax breaks for expats who live and work in the country. One of the main tax breaks is the absence of income tax, corporate tax, or capital gains tax. This can be a great benefit for expats who earn income within the country. Additionally, the Bahamas offers several investment incentives and tax concessions for businesses operating within the country.

Filing a Tax Return in the Bahamas

As an expat in the Bahamas, you are not required to file a tax return if you do not have any income earned within the country. However, if you do have income earned within the country, you may be required to file a tax return with the Bahamas government.

The tax year in the Bahamas runs from January 1st to December 31st. If you are required to file a tax return, it must be filed by March 31st of the following year. To file your tax return, you will need to obtain a taxpayer identification number (TIN) from the government. You will also need to gather all the necessary documentation, including income statements and receipts for any deductions. The tax return can be filed online through the government’s tax portal or in person at the tax office.

Tax Exit Procedures for Leaving the Bahamas

If you are an expat leaving the Bahamas to move abroad, you will need to follow certain tax exit procedures. The first step is to inform the government that you are leaving the country and that you are no longer a tax resident. You will need to provide a deregistration form to the tax authorities, which should include your personal details, the date of departure, and your new country of residence.

Once you have informed the tax authorities of your departure, you will need to settle any outstanding tax liabilities. If you have any property in the Bahamas, you may also need to pay any applicable taxes, such as stamp duty, before you can transfer ownership.

The Bahamas has a territorial taxation system, meaning that residents and non-residents are only taxed on income earned within the country. The absence of income tax, corporate tax, or capital gains tax can be a great benefit for expats who earn income within the country. The main taxes that expats need to be aware of in the Bahamas include the value-added tax (VAT), customs duties, and stamp duties. Expats can take advantage of several tax breaks, including investment incentives and tax concessions for businesses operating within the country. If you are leaving the Bahamas to move abroad, you will need to inform the government of your departure and settle any outstanding tax liabilities before leaving.


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