Yes. Every person conducting business within The Bahamas is required to have a business licence (Business Licence Act, 2010 3(1)).
• Proof of Bahamian Citizenship (Valid passport) or permanent residency with right to work.
• Approval from the Bahamas Investment Authority for non-Bahamian and foreign owned companies.
• Certificate of Incorporation (with proof that shares are 100% beneficially owned by Bahamians); receipt of current company registration or Current Certificate of Good Standing.
• National Insurance Board (N.I.B.) letter of good standing along with copies of owner’s personal N.I.B. cards.
• Lease/rental agreement or proof of ownership of property (copy of conveyance) for office Space along with approvals from:
a. Department of Physical Planning (zoning).
b. Ministry of Works/Building Control Section (inspection) and;
c. Department of Environmental Health.
d. Police approval (for sale of alcoholic beverages and music & dance activities).
NB: It should be noted that the above requirements are needed for all businesses; however, additional requirements are needed for regulated businesses, for example attorneys and custom brokers.
No. Only business activities that are zoned for residential areas can be conducted provided approval is obtained from the Physical Planning Department. Businesses that are deemed industrial in nature are not allowed.
(i) A fine of five thousand dollars and
(ii)In addition to any fine, a sum of one hundred dollars for each day the offence continues subsequent to the date to which the conviction relates. (see Business Licence Act, 2010 26(2)(a))
The penalty for late renewal filing is $100.00
A charge of 10% of the tax liability is applicable for late payments. Interest at a 5% rate per annum on the tax liability will be added to amounts overdue 30 days or more.
6. Am I given a grace period?
Yes. All licences expire on 31st December, except for temporary and occasional. The grace period is until 31st January of the following year.
Business Licence applications can be completed online via the RMS-Web system at vat.revenue.gov.bs. (see the link, ‘How To-BL’ located at the top left of this webpage)
Yes, the process Is relatively simple and more convenient with the new online system
Providing all requirements are submitted, the application should be processed within seven (7) business days.
Yes, licences can be printed online.
Yes, at any time.
Approval for New Location has to be obtained and a change of circumstances requested. This process is also done online.
13. If I open a business, say mid-year (June) do I pay for the entire year or can my taxes be pro-rated?
Presently, Business licence taxes are not pro-rated. The initial tax for a new applicant is $100; thereafter the taxes are computed on turnover for the prior calendar year.
A licence would be required for each branch.
One application is submitted for the combined turnover of all branches.
• Business licence taxes are calculated based on a percentage of the turnover for the preceding year.
• Where the turnover is less than or equal to $50,000 the tax is $100.
• Where turnover is between $50,001 and $500,000 per annum the tax is 0.50%.
• Where the turnover is greater than $500,000 per annum but not exceeding $5 million per annum the tax is 0.75%.
• Where the turnover is greater than $5 million per annum the tax is 1.25%.
17. Can I use my licence throughout the Bahamas or do I require a licence for each Island on which I operate a Business?
You would require a licence for each island and each specific location.
You would have to submit a change of circumstance application online.
You would have to submit a change of circumstance application online. Outstanding taxes and fees must be paid
• Online payment using credit/debit cards.
• Over the counter at most banks, making sure to say that the payment is for Business Licence
• Wire transfers.