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Bahamas Real Estate Buyer’s Guide

Government Taxes on Property Conveyances

  • 2.5 % Government Stamp Tax on all real estate transactionsunder $100,000.
  • 10% Government Stamp Tax on all real estate transactions over $100,000.

The stamp duty is generally split equally between the purchaser and the vendor. This is typical but is subject to change during negotiations if the buyer and seller agree to a different deal structure.

Real Estate Commissions

Real estate sales and rental commissions are typically paid by the vendor or landlord. This is typical but is subject to change during negotiations if the buyer and seller agree to a different deal structure.

Commission Rates:

Developed Property is 6% while undeveloped land is 10%.
Note: All commission rates are also subject to VAT. See Value Added Tax section.

Annual Real Property Tax (RPT) Rates

Improved Owner-Occupied Property

The first $250,000 in the value of owner-occupied residential property isexempt from RPT.
On the portion of the value of owner-occupied properties between $250,000 and $500,000, the rate is 0.75%
On the portion over $500,000, the tax rate is 1%
There is a ceiling of $50,000 for RPT on an owner-occupied home

Unimproved Vacant Property

For unimproved Bahamas property other than that exempt under the provisions of the Real Property Tax Act (section 39):

  • A fee of $100.00 per year is levied on the part of the market value up to $7,000
  • A tax rate of 1.5% per annum is applied to the part of the market value that exceeds $7,000

Commercial property

  • A tax rate of 1% per annum of the market valuethat does not exceed $500,000
  • A tax rate of 2% of the market value on the part of the market value in excess of $500,000

Exemptions:

Bahamas property owned by Bahamians and situated in the Family Islands is exempt from Real Property Tax (RPT). Property approved as commercial farmland by the Ministers of Agriculture is also eligible for Real Property Tax Exemptions.

Also exempt from Real 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 all good and services. This includes legal work, real estate commissions or appraisals.

RESIDENCY/VISAS

Permanent Residency

The minimum real estate investment to apply for Bahamas Permanent Residency is $750,000. Owners who purchase property valued in excess of $1.5 million will receive expedited consideration for Bahamas Permanent Residency. Wives and dependents usually resident in the household may also be endorsed on the Bahamas Permanent Residency certificate.

There are many personal benefits to Bahamas Permanent Residency with the main ones being The Bahamas has no capital gains taxes, capital transfer taxes, personal income tax or estate tax. Furthermore, it’s also a stunning tropical paradise to set up a home for tax-free living.

Additionally, you will be able to repatriate the entire proceeds at the time of sale including any profits provided you register the purchase with the Exchange Control Department of the Central Bank at the time of purchase. Your Real Estate lawyer will register the purchase for you at your request.

Entry Visas

Citizens of the United States of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom are not required to have an entry visa as long as their stay is less than 8-months and they can show proof of a return ticket departing the Bahamas. Visitors cannot engage in gainful employment without a permit issued by The Bahamas Department of Immigration. For detailed information on entry requirements please visit:

https://www.bahamas.com/entry-requirements

Schools in the Bahamas

There are many private schools in the Bahamas, including three international schools which offer the International Baccalaureate program:

Children begin primary education at the age of five. After six years, they move on to secondary education which lasts for another five years. Throughout these five years, kids attend a three-year junior high school course, followed by a two-year senior high school course. While education is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16, most kids in the Bahamas also attend some sort of preschool.

HOSPITALS

  • Doctor’s Hospital (Private) – Shirley Street
  • Princess Margaret Hospital (Public) – Shirley Street
  • Western Medical Plaza (Private) – Blake Road
  • The Lyford Cay Hospital/Bahamas Heart Institute (Private) – Lyford Cay

UTILITY COMPANIES

This information contained on this page is subject to change and is meant to be used as a guide only. If you are entering into any type of real estate transaction you should have legal representation. LX Bahamas Limited is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the information contained on this website and the information should not be relied upon without confirmation from your attorney.