Company formation in brief

International Business Company (IBC)

Bahamas is an offshore jurisdiction with a recognised concept of a tax exempt company (and/or offshore company, International Business Company, trust, foundation etc.) registration. All offshore companies incorporated there  are registered in the form of International Business Companies (IBC), which by their organizational and legal status are closed limited liability companies.

An offshore company registered in the Bahamas is not allowed to conduct business with residents of the Bahamas and invest in property of any kind located on the islands, except for the maintenance of its registered office. An offshore company is also not allowed to engage in banking, trust, insurance or reinsurance and provide its registered office address for the needs of other companies. In fact, such an offshore company is only allowed to operate outside the Bahamas.

The company has the right to open bank accounts in the Bahamas, use the services of local lawyers, maintain and store financial documents and financial statements, and hold meetings of directors and shareholders. These offshore companies are allowed to own shares or debentures of other companies registered in the Bahamas. Bahamian residents may also own shares in such offshore companies.

A company formation in the Bahamas could be arranged with a professional registered agent providing incorporation, virtual office and other corporate services in the Bahamas. To set up a company in the Bahamas is possible by correspondence, but to open a bank account in the ab will, most probably, require a personal visit.

Only registered agents with local licenses can apply for the registration of an offshore company in the Bahamas and in order to establish such a business, it is necessary to submit to the Registrar of Companies of the Bahamas the memorandum and articles of association of the future offshore company.

There are no requirements for the size of the capital of an offshore company, however, the rates of annual license fees depend on its size. If the share capital does not exceed US$ 50,000, then the license fee is US$ 350; if the capital is more than US$ 50,000, the contribution is US$ 1,000.

The Bahamas offshore company can only issue registered shares, which can be either with the declared par value of the shares or without it. By law, directors of companies can issue certificates of shares only against the guarantee of their payment by shareholders in cash or other property.

The minimum number of directors and shareholders for a company in the Bahamas is one, and a director can be a shareholder. The directors and shareholders of offshore companies in the Bahamas can be individuals or legal entities.


All offshore companies are required to have a registered office and registered agent in the Bahamas.

An offshore company in the Bahamas is required to maintain a register of shareholders, as well as minutes of meetings of directors and shareholders. These documents, along with data on directors and shareholders, are internal documents of offshore companies and are not available to the public.

The seal must be kept at the company's office and the print must be approved at the first meeting of directors. While company records are not subject to public review, they are available for review by shareholders if there are valid reasons for doing so.

The legislation does not provide for the mandatory submission of an annual financial or other report by offshore companies in the Bahamas.

Struck off the Register

It is important for the directors and owners of Bahamian offshore companies to remember that if the offshore company does not pay its annual government renewal fees, it will be struck off the register one year after the last payment of the fees. At the same time, the law clearly explains that a company that has been struck out of the register does not have the right to continue its economic activity, anywhere and, in particular, to manage its bank accounts, although the directors and shareholders of the struck out offshore company continue to be FULLY liable for the debts and obligations of such an offshore company. companies.

The struck off offshore company can, having paid the required duties and fines, be quite easily restored in the register of the Bahamas ONLY WITHIN 5 YEARS from the date of the deletion. After this period, the restoration of an offshore company in the Bahamas is carried out only through a local court, the decision of which can be either positive in terms of the restoration of the company, or negative.

Offshore companies are exempt from foreign exchange controls in the Bahamas.


Any offshore company can be relocated to the Bahamas.


There are no taxes for offshore companies in the Bahamas.

Economic Substance Legislation and Register of Beneficiaries

The Bahamas has passed the Economic Presence Acts and the Beneficial Ownership Registry Act, under which the relevant government authority is implementing a mechanism through which all local registered agents enter information on the beneficiaries of all legal entities to a Central Online Register. The Companies Register is not open for public without authorization of the competent authority.

Bahamas Commercial Entities (Substance Requirements) Act (“CESRA”)

The Bahamas legislation stipulates that all offshore legal entities must comply with the CESRA filing obligations annually. The fiscal year end is determined/set by directors of an offshore entity. Many entities choose the same as the calendar year (January 01st to December 31st).

Please note that the deadline for economic substance filing is within 9 months following the expiration of the offshore company’s fiscal year-end.

Note, the responsibility to comply with economic substance rests with the Director(s) of an offshore company.


An administrative penalty of $150,000 for failing to comply with the requirements of CESRA with a possible further administrative penalty of $300,000 and in certain circumstances the entity concerned being struck off the Registrar of Companies.

The Bahamas have not entered into double taxation treaties.

99 classical offshore, onshore and midshore jurisdictions of Europe, America, Middle East, Asia, Africa and Oceania


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