Find Accountancy, Audit and Tax expertise in Bahamas, The
There are numerous accountancy, audit and tax accountancy firms in The Bahamas, many of them servicing the tourism and offshore financial sectors. International accountancy firms have a strong presence on the islands, with local offices of PWC, Deloitte, Ernst and Young, Pannel Kerr Forster (PKF) and KPMG. Additionally, there are a number of well-established and developing local firms based in the capital of Nassau, including Atkinson, Ronald & Company, Butler & Taylor, Gomez & Gomez, Hepburn, Michael & Co., Mann Judd, F.R. Wilson & Co. Ltd. The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), the regulatory body, has adopted International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for SMEs as an option for all companies in The Bahamas that do not have public accountability. All of the companies listed in The Bahamas International Securities Exchange are required to prepare annual and quarterly financial statements that conform with IFRS. In the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index (2011) The Bahamas was placed 34th in the world (out of 183 countries) for resolving insolvency, below Jamaica (26th), but above the rest of the Caribbean nations.
BICA is the only professional representation body for accountants in the country. All auditors are members of BICA, although theoretically someone could act as an independent auditor if approved by the relevant government ministry. BICA is responsible for regulating the profession and defining required qualifications. By 2011 the organisation had grown to 600 members and 250 licensees. The Institute is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean. The only school in The Bahamas registered with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is the Professional Certifications Bahamas.
There is no income tax, inheritance tax, capital gains tax, corporation tax or value added tax (VAT) in The Bahamas. As a result, many accountancy firms assist with offshore company formation. Consequently, the country retains its position as a major global offshore tax haven among investors from the United States, Europe and other nations. The country has entered into 23 new tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) since September 2009, which have been approved by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. Approval was based on the belief that it had adequate mechanisms in place to allow for exchange of information with relevant partners. Part of this was the enactment of the enabling legislation of the International Tax Cooperation Act, passed in July 2010. In the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, The Bahamas ranked 56th in the world for paying taxes, below only St Lucia (52nd) amongst the Caribbean nations.