BAHAMAS REAL ESTATE BUYER'S GUIDE
Buying and Owning Bahamas Real Estate,
Moving To and Living in The Bahamas
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The International Persons Landholding Act
Bahamas Property Ownership Policy
Non-Bahamians who don't own property in the Bahamas and who are buying less than two acres for single family use need only to register their investment with the government. The same principle applies to non-Bahamians buying improved property under 2 acres which is developed as a single family residential property. Second homeowners in the Bahamas may apply to the Immigration director for an annual home owner’s resident card. If the director's satisfied that the person is of good character, can support himself and his dependents and so on, he'll issue a card for a fee. If a Bahamas property purchase is for other than single family use or is over 2 acres in size, then a GOVERNMENT permit is required.
Government Taxes on Property Conveyances
•2.5 % government stamp duty on all real estate transactions valued under $100,000
• A total tax of 10% on all real estate transactions valued at $100,000 and over. This includes the 2.5 % government stamp duty.
• VAT registrants will be able to claim as a credit or net off the 12 % VAT on commercial property sales valued at over $100,000
Subject to change at any time. The stamp duty is generally shared equally between buyer and seller – unless otherwise agreed upon.
This is intended as a guide only. Please consult your attorney if you are interested in buying Bahamas real estate.
Real Property Tax Rates
The first $250,000 on owner occupied residential property is tax exempt.
On the value of owner/occupied properties between $250,000 and $500,000, the rate is 3/4 of one percent.
On the portion over $500,000, the tax rate is 1% of the market value of the property.
As of 2013, there is a ceiling of $50,000 on an owner occupied home
For unimproved Bahamas property other than that exempt under the provisions of the Real Property Tax Act (section 39):
Upon that part of the market value that does not exceed $7,000 a fee of $100.00
Upon that part of the market value which exceeds $7,000, a tax rate of 1.5% per annum of the market value of the Bahamas property.
For commercial property:
Upon that part of the market value that does not exceed $500,000 a tax at the rate of 1% per annum of the market value;
Upon that part of the market value in excess of $500,000 a tax at the rate of 2% of the market value of the Bahamas property.
Bahamas property owned by Bahamians and situated in the Family Islands is exempt from a property duty. Bahamas property approved as commercial farm land (by the Ministers of Agriculture, Trade and Industry and Finance) is eligible for property tax exemptions.
Also exempt from property tax:
Unimproved Bahamas property owned by Bahamians (in New Providence or the Family Islands), meaning property without physical additions or alterations, or any works benefiting the land which have not increased the market value thereof by $5,000 or more;
Bahamas property used exclusively for charitable or public service from which no profit is derived.
All property located in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
A 12% Value Added Tax (VAT) is charged on real estate services, including appraisals, legal work, commissions and insurance.
Laws and policies are subject to change.
There are no income taxes. That is the good news. The bad news is that there are taxes in the Bahamas. A tax being defined as money expropriated through the use of physical force (i.e., the threat of violence) by government.
Most taxes in the Bahamas consist of duties.
About 70% of government revenue is derived from the duties which apply to nearly all imported goods. There are duties on imports, which can range from 0% for books and computer software, to as high as 200% (if the government feels a need for income) which I think is the present duty on gas (that is why when gas is a $1.05 in Miami, Florida, we pay $2.25 here in Freeport). The average duty is around 35%.
There is also a “stamp tax” of 7% levied on businesses. For example if a business imports a computer for resale the government charges a stamp tax. Thankfully computer hardware and software are duty-free.
The rates are based on the cost, insurance, and freight– the C.I.F. value of imports. Typical duties include:
air conditioners 55%
computer hardware and software,0%
pool tables 100%
radio/record players 35%
satellites and accessories 65%
These numbers are subject to change without notice.
OWNER-OCCUPIED HOME RENTALS
Proprietors of owner-occupied rental homes of one or more bedrooms are required to register if they intend to rent their premises to visitors.
What is an owner-occupied rental home? It is a home that the owner uses exclusively as a dwelling house on a permanent or seasonal basis.
Licenses to rent are available through the local Family Island Administrator's Office, or the Hotel Licensing Department of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation in Nassau, Bahamas.
For more information and to download forms, visit tourism today
Application for Permanent Residency/ Visas
Each person granted a work permit (fees for work permits go from $250 for a farm worker to $7,500 for professionals and executives) is required to place a bond to repatriate the employee and his dependents and to pay any public charges, including medical expenses, incurred by the employee.
Major international investors and owners of residences valued at $1.5 million or more receive speedy consideration for permanent residency permits.
Applicants must be of good character, show evidence of financial support and commit in writing they wish to live permanently in the Bahamas. Wives and dependent children (under 18 years) usually resident in a household may be endorsed on the certificate when the original application is made. For details contact:
The information contained on this page is subject to change. This information is meant to be used only as a guide and anyone entering into any type of real estate transaction, including but not limited to a lease, rental or sale, should have legal representation. The Ester is not responsible for any errors or ommissions contained on this page.
Bahamas Investment Authority
Visas are not required of citizens of the USA, United Kingdom, or Canada provided their stay does not exceed 3 weeks and that they have a return ticket leaving the Bahamas. Visas are not required of US citizens if stays are less than 8 months. Bahamas Immigration Department permits are needed to reside, work or engage in any business.
Need information on electricity and telephone services before you buy Bahamas Real Estate? Below is a list of private schools and utility corporations.
Long Island, has two high schools, and five primary schools.
N.G.M. Major High
North Long Island High
Lower Deadman's Cay Primary
Mangrove Bush Primary
Clarance Town Hospital
Deadman's Cay Community Clinic, Long Island, Bahamas - Phone 242-337-1222 or 337-1224
Phone and DSL internet – Bahamas Telecommunication Corporation (BaTelCo):
Phone and DSL internet – Bahamas Telecommunication Corporation (BaTelCo):Tel: 242-302-7000
Electricity – Bahamas Electricity Corporation:
Cable TV and internet – Cable Bahamas:
Water – Water & Sewerage Corporation:
Hotel and Resort,Private Beach Residences, Luxury Ocean Front Condos