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Since the Commercial Entities (Substance Requirements) Act, 2018 (“CESRA”) became law on 20 December 2018, Higgs & Johnson has provided updates to you on CESRA.  This serves as a further update.

Entities Required to file a Report

As previously indicated, the reporting requirements under CESRA apply to any entity which is incorporated, registered or continued under the following Acts (the “Acts”), regardless of (i) whether or not the entity is a trading company, (ii) what the entity’s activities are, or (iii) whether or not the entity generates income:-

  • Companies Act, 1992 (including entities registered under this Act as a foreign company)
  • International Business Companies Act, 2000
  • Exempted Limited Partnership Act
  • Partnership Limited Liability Act
  • Partnership Act

Any entity which was in existence in 2019 under the provisions of the Acts (notwithstanding that it may have been liquidated or struck off the Companies Register in 2020) is required to file a report with the Competent Authority by 31 January 2021 (the “Deadline”).

It is imperative that any entity which has not already done so, file the requisite report before the Deadline.

How is the Report Filed?

Reporting is conducted utilizing the electronic portal (the “Website”) found here.

The following guidelines may assist when filing the report:

Entities with a taxpayer profile on the online tax administration system (“OTAS”)
  • If an entity has a taxpayer profile on OTAS, the entity may log onto to the Website using the same login details that it uses for OTAS.
Existing taxpayer entities
  • For existing taxpayer entities (i.e. companies with a business licence or TIN), if the “Substance Filing” tab was not automatically added to its account profile, the entity must request that a “Substance Filing” tab be added to the existing taxpayer profile (following the instructions attached).
  • By way of additional information, in the “message” section please include (i) financial year/filing period (e.g. January – December, July – June); and (ii) date of commencement of operation within The Bahamas – if this date is not known, please include the date of incorporation/ formation/registration/continuation in The Bahamas.
Entities without profile on OTAS
  • If an entity does not have an account on the OTAS, please follow the prompts once you click the “Sign Up” button found here.
  • The Government of The Bahamas has published a helpful user guide to assist such entities that can be found here.
Registering a new entity for substance filing
  • If an entity is only registering for substance reporting purposes, please click the “Register New Entity” button and follow the prompts.
  • Please also click on the “Attach File” button and upload a copy of the certificate of incorporation, certificate of registration, certificate of registration, or certificate of continuation (as the case may be).

Submission of Substance Report

  • Once the entity has been successfully registered (a process which can take a few days), the entity would receive via e-mail an Entity Identification Number (EIN).
  • After the EIN is received, the entity must log onto the Website and submit the report using the “Substance Filing” tab at the top of the page, and following the prompts.
  • Evidence of payment of annual fees should be uploaded at the time the report is submitted.
  • Once the report is processed, the reporting requirements under CESRA will have been met.

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