Amendments to the International Business Companies Act 2000 have resulted in legislative enhancements that reinforce the IBC as an important part of the comprehensive range of products and services available from Bahamian service providers. Technology investments have also led to a number of operational improvements.

##Legislative Enhancements##

One of the most innovative changes is the continuation of an IBC as a Bahamian company under the Companies Act, an arrangement that does not exist elsewhere.

The ability of an IBC to register its mortgages and charges for shares with the Registrar of Companies is another important change.

Since there have never been direct taxes in The Bahamas, an IBC and its shareholders are exempt from income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax or any other tax on income or distributions accruing to or derived from the IBC or in connection with any transaction to which the IBC or shareholders are party. An IBC and its shareholders are also exempt from estate, inheritance, succession or gift tax and any other tax, duty, levy or other charge payable in The Bahamas with respect to any shares, debt obligations or other securities of the IBC or shareholder. An IBC is exempt from the payment of stamp duties in The Bahamas except in respect of real property, and from business license fees.

While no changes to the IBC tax status is contemplated, tax holidays have been reintroduced through these amendments for a period of 20 years from the date of incorporation of the IBC.

In addition:

* The Bill now makes it possible for an IBC to be licensed as an external insurance company, making the jurisdiction more competitive in the captive and offshore insurance market.

* There are provisions for the protection of the assets of the Company for the benefit of the company, and its creditors and shareholders. Protection is also provided for minority shareholders.

* There are a number of refinements in filing procedures with the Registrar General’s Department.

*"The Bahamas IBC Act represents modern company legislation and contains the most advanced and innovative company and investor-oriented provisions in company management and administration available today,"* says The Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Minister of Financial Services & Investments.

*"The IBC is widely considered a legitimate vehicle for international business and is fully compliant with international best practices,"* the Minister continues. *"A Bahamian-incorporated IBC allows a client to operate many aspects of a business with ease and confidentiality, with the additional benefit of tax neutrality."*

##Operational Enhancements##

Management Information System upgrades in the Registrar General’s office introduced a fully functioning internet platform for company incorporations including the processing of name reservations, inquiries and reports, on-line fee payments, production of electronic documents, file downloads and file maintenance.

On the immediate horizon are file uploads of the Register of Directors and Officers, and expanded client services to include electronic documents covering resolutions and certificates. The Agent Internet Module System is available to all registered agents licensed under the Financial and Corporate Service Providers Act (FCSPA).