Bahamas International Business Companies

The Bahamas, a former British colony independently governed since 1973, comprises of an area of ocean across a 1,225 km arc from 78 km east of Palm Beach, Florida, to just north of Haiti and is made up of an archipelago of nearly 700 islands and 2,400 cays. It is an ideal location for individuals and businesses looking for an Incorporation location that offers tax benefits, a solid name and confidentiality. (The Bahamas has been an active and well respected International Offshore Financial Centre since the 1930s).


Financial Services is a key economic pillar of the country plan contributing roughly 20% of Bahamas GDP. The Bahamas have aggressively promoted the islands as an international financial center and the business and professional sectors are finely attuned to the needs of the offshore sector.


There is no income tax in the Bahamas, nor are there capital gains, VAT or Sales tax. As such, the Bahamas is an attractive jurisdiction from which to conduct international business/trade. Moreover with a solid reputation, the Bahamas offshore company is globally accepted and highly regarded.


Investors choose to conduct offshore/international business through the offshore corporation, more formally known as the Bahamas International Business Company, IBC. There are other Bahamas companies that can be used for offshore activities, but the Bahamas offshore company (IBC) is the most popular and most popular company launching, comparable to a Panama SA Company. Generally, the Bahamas offshore company takes on the form of a private company (limited by shares).


The current legislation governing the Bahamas IBC is the International Business Companies Act 1989 (as amended).


Applicable Tax Rates:


  1. Corporate tax rate – 0%;
  2. Personal income tax – 0%;
  3. VAT rate – (7.5%-12%);
  4. No inheritance, capital gains and estate tax;


All Bahamas offshore companies are exempt from foreign exchange controls, stamp duties and other local taxes. Another attractive benefit the Bahamas provides for foreigners is tax exemption to both the corporation and its shareholders for twenty years after the process of incorporation is complete.


Bahamas offshore corporations may be managed and operated from within the Bahamas, which is unlike other offshore companies from other jurisdictions. Further, the Bahamas IBC is allowed to invest and own interest in other Bahamas Companies.


There are limitations and restrictions for the Bahamas offshore company are similar to other offshore corporations in that the Bahamas IBC must have a Bahamas registered agent. The Bahamas International Corporation cannot do any business in Bahamas, or with Bahamas residents. The Bahamas Company may not own or have any ownership interest in Bahamas property.


Key Features Include:

  • The Bahamas is a pure tax haven and has no direct taxation in the form of income tax, capital gains tax, gift tax or inheritance tax
  • International Business Companies are not subject to exchange controls
  • No minimum paid up capital required in order to complete registration
  • Only one director and one shareholder are required, both of whom can be foreigners and need not reside in the Bahamas
  • Incorporation is fairly quick and can typically be completed within 2 to 5 days
  • The Bahamas has excellent communications. There are direct flights from Europe as well as many US cities. Miami is only 30 minutes away and New York is less than three hours away
  • The official and spoken language is English
  • Shares for Bahamas Company may be issued in any legal tender, and must be registered
  • No requirement to file annual returns or financial statements.


Other features Include:


– Bearer shares are not permitted.

– Registered shares can be held in nominee form.

– Exemption of company and Shareholders from all Bahamian taxes and duties.

– Board meetings can be held anywhere in the world and can be conducted by telephone.

– Purchase and ownership by the company of its own shares is permitted.

– Statutory power is given to IBCs to engage in any lawful activity.

– Corporate domicile can be changed to another jurisdiction.

– The word Limited, Corporation, Incorporated,Société Anonyme, Gesellschaft mit beschrankter Haftung, Sociedad Anónima or the abbreviations “Ltd”, “Corp”, “Inc”, GmbH” or “S.A.” can be used in a company’s name to denote limited liability.

– Amendments to the Memorandum and Articles of Association can be easily made.

– The Board of Directors can determine, by resolution, the rights attaching to classes of shares.

– IBCs can conduct business with Bahamians directly and may also own Bahamian real estate, but will in these cases be subject to local exchange controls and stamp duty.

– Details of the Directors and Officers of an IBC must be filed with the Registrar and are open to public inspection (though Nominees can be deployed) – Incorporation under the Act is straightforward and can normally be completed in two to three days.

– Company names can be reserved by telephone or fax.

– A company is deemed incorporated on the day incorporation papers are filed with the Registrar of Companies. The certificate of incorporation is issued shortly after the filing of incorporation papers and payment of the relevant government fee. – Shelf companies are available for immediate delivery.


Benefits of Incorporating in the Bahamas:

  1. Politically stable, very reputable jurisdiction
  2. Favourable tax jurisdiction
  3. Details of shareholders and beneficiaries are not available to the public
  4. No minimum capital requirements
  5. Minimum requirement of only 1 shareholder and 1 director
  6. Legal system based on English Common law
  7. No currency control.


Set up etc Costs


To incorporate a Bahamas Company with OCI will cost as follows:

  • Incorporation $US950 (including Applying to Registrar for up to three alternative names, preparing and filing of two copies of memorandum and articles of association, confirming incorporation, preparation of subscriber’s minutes to appoint first Directors, provision of special IBC company register, forwarding of original and three certified copies of original Memorandum and Articles, general correspondence and communication with instructing party in respect of the above as well as filing the Record Keeping Declaration with The Bahamas Registry).
  • Annual Registered Agent & Registered Office $900 The annual fee is payable in advance and includes: Acting as Registered Agent, Provision of Registered Office, Filing of Annual Licence Return
  • Government Incorporation Fee $430
  • Government Name Reservation Fee $25
  • Disbursements $245 (Corporate seal, photocopying, courier and telephone etc)


Total: $2550


OCI Bahamas IBC Services


At OCI we believe in giving you more for your money than would the average IBC formation service. Hence also included in the incorporation package for your Bahamas Company is the following:




  • Advice from an experienced International Corporate Lawyer on how to structure your company
  • Preparation (overseen by a lawyer) of application to incorporate the company
  • Preparation (overseen by a lawyer) of the company’s memorandum of association
  • Preparation (overseen by a lawyer) of the company’s articles of association
  • Attending to filing incorporation request with the company registry
  • Attending to payment of government filing fees
  • One year’s Registered Agent service in the country of incorporation
  • One year’s Registered Office service in the country of incorporation
  • Mailing address in the country of incorporation
  • Delivery of Incorp pack by international courier (ie DHL/Fedex/TNT etc)
  • Unlimited free legal consultations for 12 months


Documents included in your Incorp pack:


  • Certificate of incorporation
  • 2 sealed/stamped copies of the company’s Memorandum of Association
  • 2 sealed/stamped copies of the company’s Articles of Association
  • Resolution appointing first director/s
  • Resolution appointing first shareholder/s
  • Up to 5 share certificates
  • Resolution to open a bank account
  • Resolution to rent an office
  • Resolution/s to engage a Phone, Internet & Website service provider
  • Resolution to hire a staff member/s
  • Resolution to appoint a company lawyer
  • Resolution to appoint a company accountant
  • Resolution appointing you as the company’s authorised representative in commercial negotiations
  • Resolution issuing a Power of Attorney in your favour
  • Agreement authorising you to represent the company in commercial negotiations
  • Power of attorney authorising you to sign documents on behalf of the company
  • Register of directors
  • Register of shareholders
  • Expression of wishes (ie an “Offshore” Will)
  • Lawyer authored User Guide (“How to Use Your Offshore Company”)


Full  Nominees Package (ie including Professional Corporate “Nominee” Director, Shareholder & Company Secretary): + $400 p/a.


Every effort has been made to ensure that the details contained herein are correct and up-to-date, but this does not constitute legal, taxation, financial or other professional advice. We do not accept any responsibility, legal or otherwise, for any error or omission.


Would you like to know more? Then please Contact Us:


DISCLAIMER: OCI is a Company/Trust/LLC/LP/Foundation Formation Agency. We are not tax advisers or legal advisers. You are advised to seek local legal/tax/financial advice in regards to your local reporting/tax requirements before committing to set up or use an Offshore Company or other entity.