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02 June 2011
The Business Licence Act 2010 came into force on January 1 2011. It has introduced new licensing and taxation requirements to operate a business in the Bahamas. Licence fees have now changed and will be based on turnover.
'Turnover' is defined as the total revenue in money (or money's worth) accruing to a person for his or her own use and benefit from business activities within the Bahamas during the preceding year or any part thereof or in such other accounting period as allowed by the secretary (as defined in the act), including all cash, credit sales and commissions without any deductions.
Existing businesses will be deemed licenced for a period of 90 days from the commencement date of the act.
A new Business Licence Review Board has been established to hear appeals by persons aggrieved by the secretary's decisions regarding applications for business licences or approval of business names.
Any person who attempts to evade payment of business licence fees, keeps false accounts or provides false information to the secretary may be liable for up to two years' imprisonment.
Directors and officers of companies and partners may be liable for being knowingly involved in offences committed by their companies or partnerships.
A foreign entity which contracts to carry out business must apply for a temporary licence and pay a fee of 1.5% of the value of the contract.
The Liquor Licence Act has been repealed by the act and, accordingly, persons wishing to sell liquor must now apply for a licence in accordance with the procedure set out in the act.
The filing requirements of the act are as follows:
Applicants for a business licence must submit information to the secretary on their proposed business name at the time their application is submitted. This application must include a declaration of beneficial ownership.
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