Is local financing available to non-residents?
Yes, but the lending company might only be giving United States dollars at international rates and down payments are typically 40% of the property value.
What taxes can I expect to pay?
The Bahamas has no income taxes, no capital gains taxes, no inheritance taxes and no sales taxes (except for those levied under the government Stamp Act for property conveyances). The government of The Bahamas receives most of its revenue from customs duties on all goods imported into the country, which include 7% on lumber and computer-related goods, 75% on luxury cars, 160% on raw tobacco products and 210% on cigarettes. With the additional 7% stamp duty charged on each of these imported goods, the typical customs duty charges total around 35%.
The taxable value of property in The Bahamas is based on the most recent sales price. With respect to undeveloped land, the property owner is responsible for reporting the value of any improvements made. If you have annual homeowners permit, you may consider the property owner occupied as your primary residence.
Taxes on owner occupied properties:
- The first $250,000 is exempt from taxation;
- $250,000 to $500,000 – tax rate is 0.75%
- More than $500,000 – tax rate is 1%
- Maximum amount of annual tax is $50,000
Taxes on vacant land owned by non-Bahamians:
- On the first $7,000 of property’s market value — $100
- On $7,000 to $100,000 of property’s market value – 1.5%
Taxes on other property, including commercial:
- On the first $500,000 of property’s market value – 1%
- On property values over $500,000 – 2%
Are there advantages for establishing permanent residency status in The Bahamas?
There are significant tax advantages for citizens from other countries that impose high personal and corporate income taxes, as well as inheritance taxes. The savings vary depending on the country in which citizenship is established and the laws applied there.
Can I become a citizen of The Bahamas?
Citizenship in The Bahamas is possible, although it is a long and drawn out process. Favor is usually given to long-term residents and spouses of current residents of The Bahamas.
Is financing available?
Most major banks and life insurance companies offer mortgages with terms up to 25 years with as little as 10% down payment for properties valued up to approximately $100,000.
Have recent changes affected the tax haven status of The Bahamas?
The market in The Bahamas is affected more by the stock market in the United States and economic conditions internationally than by any changes made in its own banking laws. Recent changes in banking laws that affect financial reporting and compliance have caused some customers that are not willing to comply with the new laws to take their business elsewhere, although there are now very few places in the world where the wealthy can go to avoid paying taxes!