Bahamas Taxes and Duties on Imports

There is no income or corporate tax and no capital gains or inheritance tax in The Bahamas.

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:

  • clothing 25%
  • air conditioners 55%
  • computer hardware and software,0%
  • pool tables 100%
  • radio/record players 35%
  • satellites and accessories 65%
  • tobacco 150%

These numbers are subject to change without notice.

Duties were eliminated on “breadbasket items” which are:

[list them here.]

Tariffs on items which are also produced locally are set at a rate which protects local industry. In 1992 duties between 15% to 60% on paint, bottled water, bleach, juices and other local products, and introduced a ban on chicken imports.

Duty-Free Goods
To support the tourism industry, customs duties on a number of luxury goods were eliminated in 1990. The duty-free goods include camera equipment, perfume, jewelry, clocks, watches table linen, leather goods, china, crystal, and certain liquors.

Bahamas Real property tax

  • Owner-occupied property
    • exempt from real property tax on the first $50,000 of assessed value;
    • on the next $50,00 in assessed value, 0.75 percent per annum;
    • on the assessed value in excess of $100,000, one percent per annum.
  • Commercial property
    • on the first $50,000 of assessed value, 0.5 percent per annum;
    • on the next $50,000 of assessed value, one percent per annum;
    • on assessed value over $100,000, 1.5 percent per annum.

Editorial Comments

There is also a tax known as “national insurance“, which is a scheme where the government takes your money, and hopes you die before they have to give it back to you (that way they can spend it elsewhere).

However, I am not sure whether it is a Pyramid Scheme like the U.S. Social Security System, or not.

National Insurance is a bad idea, because I hate for politicians to hold onto my money. Of course, the government would reply that Bahamians are too stupid to save money for the future. However, if the government thinks people are too stupid to save there own money for when they are old, how can those same people be smart enough to vote? Voting–for the right person–is a far more intellectually complex task (though physically it is quite simple, you just have to paint an X next to the guy’s name if fed you enough alcohol prior to the election) as one must decide how the politician’s policies will effect the country over the long term.

Personally, I like the duty system better since the government does not penalize production (and thus savings), but only penalizes certain expenditures (spending). Compare this to the United States where the government gets you as soon as you earn your money. Overall, in this respect it is much better in the Bahamas.