Value Added Tax (VAT)
VAT is a tax charged on most goods and services that registered businesses provide in The Bahamas. It is also charged on goods and some services that are imported from outside The Bahamas. It is a tax on consumption ultimately paid by the final customer but collected and remitted to the Comptroller of VAT by businesses.
To be registered for VAT you need to be "in business". This means that you are carrying on any continuing activity which is mainly concerned with making supplies of goods or services to others in return for a consideration. If you make an isolated or "one-off" sale you are not considered to be "in business" for VAT purposes.
Taxable supplies are generally considered to be those goods and services made or provided in The Bahamas. Also some goods and services made or provided in The Bahamas but are used or their benefits or advantages are enjoyed by a recipient that is outside of The Bahamas are considered taxable supplies. To be taxable, these goods and services must attract a VAT rate of zero per cent or the standard rate of 7.5%. They do not include supplies that are exempt.
For detailed information on VAT and guidance of specific industries, visit www.bahamas.gov.bs/vat.
The Bahamas Online Tax Administration System (OTAS) is available for taxpayers to manage their VAT Accounts. Services that will be available online include:
- Taxpayer Registration
- Change in Circumstances (taxpayer profile and status)
- Return Filing
- Objections and Appeals
- Taxpayer Enquiries
- User Online Account Management
Who should use this system?
VAT is of interest to individuals or businesses/non-individuals that are:
liable for VAT
- you are above the VAT threshold and are therefore legally responsible to collect VAT on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas, or
- you are below the VAT threshold but want to legally collect VAT on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas, or
not liable for VAT
- you are below the VAT threshold and have no desire to collect VAT on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas
You would be interested in this service as:
- An Individual liable for VAT. This is a sole proprietor, trader or trustee that carries out taxable activities that are over the threshold. Special note: If you are a sole proprietor with multiple businesses trading under different Trade names, you will need to register one of the businesses for a TIN and VAT Account. All the other businesses will be registered under this TIN. The additional business(es) will be treated as "branches" for VAT purposes and be issued VAT certificates.
- A Non-Individual liable for VAT. This refers to companies, partnerships (limited or otherwise), non-profit organisations, government, or any other organisation that carries out taxable activities and is over the VAT threshold.
- An Individual not liable for VAT *. A "natural" person who may or may not be in business. If they are in business, they must be below the VAT threshold to be considered not liable for VAT. An individual not liable for VAT may register and receive a TIN but they will not be issued a VAT Certificate and they cannot charge VAT on any goods or service.
- A Non-Individual not liable for VAT *. This is a business or organisation carrying out taxable activities and fall below the VAT threshold. A non-individual not liable for VAT may register and receive a TIN but they will not be issued a VAT Certificate and they cannot charge VAT on any goods or service.
* Individuals or Non-Individuals not liable for VAT who register may need to do so in order to conduct business with the government. Example, they might be a Representative of a taxpayer or they require a refund due to overpayment of VAT.