FAQ’S – BL

1. Do I need a licence to do business in the Bahamas?
Yes you do.
2. What are the requirements for a New Annual Business?
•    Proof of Bahamian Citizenship (Valid passport) or permanent resident with right to work.
•    Approval from 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.) compliance letter 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.

3.Can I operate any type of business from my home, i.e. (within a residential area)?
No. Only business activities that are zoned for residential areas can be conducted provided approval is obtained from Physical Planning Department. Businesses that are deemed industrial in nature are not allowed.
4. Are there any penalties for operating a business without a license and what are the penalties for not renewing my license by the due date?
(i) A fine of five thousand dollars and
(ii)In addition to any fine, to a sum of one hundred for each day the offence continue subsequent to the date to which the conviction relates. ( see Business Licence Act, 2010 26(2) (a)).
5. Are there any penaltiesfor late licence payments?
A charge of 10% of the tax liability is applicable for late payments.
6. Am I given a grace period?
All licences expire on 31st December, and applications of renewal are due by the end of January, thereafter penalties apply.
7. Where can I apply for a business licence?
The Business Licence applications can be completed via online RMS-Web system at vat.revenue.gov.bs
8. Is the process simple?
Yes, the process Is relatively simple and more convenient with the new online system
9. After applying for my business licence how long would it take to be granted?
Providing all requirements are submitted the application should be processed within seven (7) days.
10. Am I allowed to print my licence online or is there a dedicated processing and pick-up center?
Yes, licences are now printed online.
11. Can a replacement licence be printed online?
Yes, at any time.
12. If I move, can my business licence be transferred or do I have to apply for a new license?
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 fees be pro-rated?

Presently Business licence fees are not pro-rated. The initial fee for a new applicant is $100thereafter the fees are computed on turnover for the prior calendar year.

14. If I have several branches, do I need a licence for each branch or would one (1) license cover all branches?
A license would be required for each branch.
15. If I have several branches, do I have to submit filings for each branch or do I combine my turnover amounts and submit one (1) filing?
One application is submitted for the combined turnover of all branches.
16. How is my business licence fee determined?
•    Business licence fees 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 fee is $100.
•    0.5% where turnover is between $50,000 and $500,000 per annum.
•    0.75% where the turnover is greater than $500,00 per annum but not exceeding $5 million per annum.
•    1.25% where the turnover is greater than $5 million per annum but not exceeding $50 million per annum.
•    1.5% where the turnover is greater than $50 million per annum.
17. Can I use my licence throughout the Bahamas or do I require a license for each Island on which I operate a Business?
You would require a licence for each island and each specific location.
18. How do I request changes to my business licence?
You would have to submit a change of circumstance application online.
19. How do I request the inactivation or cessation of my business?
You would have to submit a change of circumstance application online.
20. How do I pay the Business Licence fees?
•    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 for foreign companies.