Admitting that the government and stakeholders need to “get with it”, Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Elsworth Johnson yesterday said there needs to be a meeting of the minds regarding the issuance of tax residency certificates (TRC) for permanent residents.
The certificates would clarify the tax status of individuals who want to be considered residents in The Bahamas for tax purposes.
Johnson stated last year that his ministry had made substantive progress on legislation, and was aiming to have the initiative launched by the end of 2020.
He said he hopes to soon finalize a framework that can satisfy the requirements of international regulatory bodies and the needs of The Bahamas.
“There has to be a meeting of the minds with the attorney general and the regulators, and I’m saying it deliberately so that we can work a package that is acceptable by the international regulatory bodies. So that is something that the Bahamas Financial Services Board has been urging, and the director of financial services has been looking into it and we’ve had heated discussions about that. We’re moving in that direction,” Johnson said while appearing as a guest on the Guardian Radio talk show “Z Live”.
“We had given an indication that we would have done it by the end of 2020, so we have to get with it.”
The government has proposed that permanent residents who are issued a TRC would be given a unique National Insurance Board (NIB) TRC number.
The certificate would require the holder to spend a minimum of 90 days – not necessarily consecutively – and can spend no more than 183 days in one other country.
European Parliamentarians earlier this year voted on a resolution to make it more difficult for countries like The Bahamas that have zero tax rates to be considered compliant with its requirements.
Johnson said last year, a certificate program would make it that permanent residents of The Bahamas do not suffer taxation in more than one country.