Are you planning to establish a subsidiary or a branch office of your company in The Bahamas? Learn about the local laws as you set up your business, including how to register, fees to pay, operating requirements, and more.
Probably the simplest way to get started if your business is incorporated in a different country is by registering your business as a foreign company with The Bahamas' Registrar General Department. See Companies Act, 1992. Registration requires providing the Registrar with documents stating the name of the company, the jurisdiction in which it was incorporated, the date of its incorporation, details of its corporate instruments such as articles of incorporation, addresses of offices, and information about its undertakings and directors. The foreign company must pay a registration fee of $50 and stamp duty of $600. Additionally, on 1stJanuary each year, an annual fee of $1,000 is payable by a foreign company registered in The Bahamas.
After the Registrar receives the required documents and fees from the company, it will issue a certificate showing that the company has been officially registered under the Companies Act and will publish a notice in the local newspapers indicating that the company has been registered.
All foreign companies carrying on undertakings in The Bahamas must register before they can carry on an undertaking in The Bahamas. Carrying on an undertaking means that the company maintains a warehouse or place of business in The Bahamas, other Bahamian laws require its registration to do business or to sell shares or debentures, or it carries on an undertaking in any other way – such as by doing business here. If the company is listed in a Bahamian telephone directory with a telephone number in The Bahamas under the name of the foreign company, it is presumed to be carrying on an undertaking. Companies Act, 1992, Section 171.
Foreign companies registered in The Bahamas have the same capacity as local Bahamian companies. However, courts look to a foreign company's structure, as indicated in the documents submitted to the Registrar, to determine questions of capacity and liability. There is no requirement under Bahamian law that a Bahamian become a director, manager, or participant in the foreign company for it to do business here. There are no capitalization or structural requirements for the company. The company may have to pay taxes on supplies sent into The Bahamas from branches of the company located outside The Bahamas, and it should pay attention to local business and industry taxes.
To find out more about operating branch offices or subsidiaries in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.
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