In most jurisdictions there is a requirement under local company legislation that directors should prepare accounts and present them to the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting. However, where there is no tax to be assessed on the profits of the company, there is rarely a requirement to present the accounts to any government authority or file them on the public register. Even if the accounts do not need auditing it is good business practice for them to be prepared in accordance with the relevant companies law so that all shareholders and directors have access to – and can be seen to have access to – relevant financial information upon which proper business decisions can be made.
Gibraltar-based RegisterAnAircraft.com (RANA) is the aviation division of The Sovereign Group. Combining the experience acquired over 20 years in the field of aircraft registration and offshore company management, RANA offers a complete range of professional and highly tailored services to aircraft owners and operators worldwide.
Sovereign is able provide introductions to a number of banks in the Bahamas and elsewhere in the world with which we have long-term relationships. Sovereign can also assist with account opening procedures.
The Bahamas Executive Entity is designed to act as a power holder and to encapsulate powers currently existing in wealth management and estate planning structures within a new form of legal entity. It has similarities in its standalone nature to a foundation and also to a purpose trust, and yet it is equipped with an array of different functions, objectives and capabilities. Typically, it will act as the protector of a trust or foundation, the settlor of a trust, the ultimate shareholder in a family holding structure or shareholder of a private trust company, among other functions.
The Bahamas Foundation is the Bahamas common law equivalent of the civil law foundation of certain other jurisdictions. Foundations are registered and are require to have an independent Foundation Council comprising at least three members.
Download the Bahamas Foundation Information Sheet Here
The Bahamas is an attractive jurisdiction for investment funds because it allows for fund administrators to licence investment funds without prior application to the regulator and does not require the investment manager or advisor to be licensed or regulated. Sovereign can provide comprehensive fund formation and licensing services – as well as ongoing administration, including accounting, registrar, transfer agency and compliance services.*
Bahamas SMART (“Specific Mandate Alternative Regulatory Test”) Funds are licensed funds subject to a lighter regulatory touch than other licensed funds and are intended for a limited number of investors and/or incubator-type situations where a fund is in the course of raising capital and attracting investors. SMART Funds require no Offering Memorandum and allow the annual audit to be waived. For situations which do not meet the criteria for a SMART Fund, there are “Professional” Funds and “Standard” Funds, the former being funds available to a limited number of high net worth investors or financial institutions and the latter being suitable for “retail-type” funds with a relatively high number of smaller investors.
All licensed funds in the Bahamas require a minimum of two directors (who need not be Bahamas residents) and, with the exception of certain types of SMART Fund, a Bahamas-licensed Administrator.
In September 2014, the Bahamas became the first common law jurisdiction to create an investment fund vehicle that aligns with the traditional structuring of Brazilian funds. The Bahamas has termed this fund the Investment Condominium or “ICON”. Similar to the Brazilian condominium, the ICON possesses no distinct legal personality, which is addressed through the appointment of an administrator that is empowered to transact in its name, and represent and bind the ICON. The ICON’s purpose is defined as the contractual relationship subsisting between participants agreeing to the pooling of assets for the purpose of investing those assets collectively. The ICON can be structured and licensed as a SMART Fund, Professional Fund or Standard Fund in The Bahamas. Other types of entities – companies, exempted limited partnerships or unit trusts – may convert to an ICON.
* Sovereign’s fund services in the Bahamas are provided through our regulated associate firm Sterling (Bahamas) Limited.
Immigration and Residency
The Bahamas is an attractive location for high net worth individuals seeking an alternative tax residence or domicile because it has zero personal and corporate taxes and has ready access to North and South America, as well as direct flights to the UK.
Temporary residence (maximum of three years, renewable) is readily obtainable and there is no requirement for a property purchase in the Bahamas or other commitment. Permanent residency (without right to work) is available to persons willing to invest at least $1,500,000 in residential real estate, which is acquired by non-Bahamians on equal terms to Bahamians. Such an investment avails the applicant of fast-track approval for permanent residency.
Sovereign handles the application process in full, together with ancillary services as well as introductions to professional service providers, such as legal, real estate and relocation firms.
Gibraltar-based RegisterAYacht.com (RAY) is the marine division of the Sovereign Group. It was formed in 2000 to provide marine corporate and administration services to yacht owners, as well as to maritime law firms, yacht managers and brokers and other professional firms involved in the yachting industry. RAY is able to assist with transfer of ownership and all registration formalities. Initially established to register vessels under the British Red Ensign, RAY is now registering, administering and managing yachts – both pleasure and commercial – on a worldwide basis.
Overseas Property Ownership
Sovereign assists many of its clients with the acquisition of real estate worldwide. We advise on tax and structuring and can manage the transaction process and financing arrangements. With our regional knowledge of property ownership laws and regulations, along with our tax planning expertise, we can help you reduce any potential exposure. Most people who own or intend to own property abroad will not be fully conversant with local legal procedures or taxes – stamp duties, municipal and wealth taxes – and may not fully recognise the longer term implications in terms of potential exposures to capital gains tax, inheritance tax or forced heirship rules. Substantial benefits may be derived through the use of corporate, trust or foundation structures to address these issues.
By outsourcing your payroll you can free up your valuable time and resources to concentrate on the important business of running your company. Sovereign can provide a comprehensive yet flexible outsourced payroll service tailored to each of our client’s specific requirements.
There is no requirement for IBC’s to have Bahamas-resident directors but Sovereign is able to provide directors if required.
Trademark and Intellectual Property Services
The intellectual property (IP) associated with a business name or system can be one of its most valuable assets – but only if it is properly protected. Any business that wishes to establish a national or international identity should take steps to protect the use of its name, logo or other IP, such as patent rights, formulae/processes, designs, trademarks, franchises, licence agreements, “know-how” and copyrights. Given the importance of IP to modern businesses, Sovereign has established an intellectual property division that specialises in registration, monitoring, advice and proactive assistance.
Income from IP rights may be derived by way of royalties. As with other sources of income, the tax planning of IP should focus on maximising the after-tax profits. To ensure that arrangements made to receive royalties are effectively constructed, it is necessary to analyse how various countries treat the payments of royalties, whether tax is withheld on such payments and how the income receipts and expenditures are treated.