Real Property Taxes in The Bahamas: Everything You Need to Know [2024]]

real property tax explained
Mario Carey

Navigating the landscape of real property taxes can often confuse and overwhelm individuals, particularly in a country like The Bahamas where taxation laws might differ significantly from those of many other countries.

The Department of Inland Revenue is responsible for collecting taxes in The Bahamas. If you want to continue living in one of the most beautiful places in the world, make sure to comply with all the agency’s tax requirements.

Whether you’re a property owner, an investor eyeing the vibrant Bahamian real estate market, or merely curious about the Bahamian tax structure, it’s helpful to understand Bahamian real estate taxes to avoid getting into trouble with the government.

Better Homes and Gardens MCR Bahamas is here to help. At Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, our agents have keen insight into the most prestigious communities in The Bahamas, with access to off-market homes and properties not yet available to the public. We will find the perfect home to meet your specific needs, offering guidance and advice to support you in making the most informed decision.

As your buyer’s agent, we will help you through the entire purchasing process starting with negotiating the best price, managing inspections, and finally through to closing. From start to finish, our expert agents will be on your side, making the buying process an easy and pleasant experience. This dedication is what has allowed us to represent over $2 billion in property sales.


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Ready to learn more about real property tax in The Bahamas? Let’s begin!


What is The Bahamas Real Property Tax? 

The Bahamas Real Property Tax is sometimes referred to as Bahamian property tax. It is imposed on all real property in The Bahamas and applies to both commercial and residential properties.

The Bahamas Real Property Tax Act (RPT Act) lists the categories of real property, which include undeveloped land, land with buildings, and condominiums. It’s a measure of the value of your property. Properties are assessed for the purpose of imposition of Bahamian property tax and taxes therefore must be paid annually either by an individual, a corporation, or a partnership. 

However, there can be exemptions from taxation for certain types of real property owned by Bahamian corporations or partnerships.


Real Property Tax Act in The Bahamas

In 1969 legislation was passed–with amendments made since–by the government to collect a real property tax. It was created to help the country meet its local needs for inland revenue, and to assist with financing services such as infrastructure maintenance, garbage collection, public servants, road repairs and maintenance, healthcare, armed forces, and capital development.  


real property tax act the bahamas


Who pays Real Property Tax in The Bahamas? 

All real estate interests owned by non-residents in the Bahamas are required by law to pay property tax. There are four categories of real property that must be declared and assessed for Real Property Tax in the Bahamas:

  1. Owner-occupied: The owner must reside in their property for at least six months annually, and uses property exclusively as a dwelling
  2. Residential: The property is not owner-occupied and has four units or less which are used solely as a dwelling and from which no commercial enterprise is conducted
  3. Commercial: Includes all properties with more than four units, even if they are used exclusively as dwellings
  4. Vacant Land : Foreigners must also pay a property tax on unimproved, vacant land. 


Bahamas Property Tax Records

It’s always good to keep copies of records when you buy land in The Bahamas.

For instance, you want to keep a copy of your purchase contract, survey and evaluation fees, and records of any legal fees paid.

If you’ve sold Bahamas real estate, you must keep documents like sales contracts and sales settlement statements handy.

It’s a good idea to have a record of expenses you made toward repairing or improving the property.

These could help you get a fair assessment of how much you need to pay in taxes for that year.


Bahamas Property Tax Exemptions

Owners or properties eligible for exemption from The Bahamas real property tax include:

  • Any properties owned by churches or charitable organizations
  • All buildings on the National Register of Historical Buildings
  • Property owned by Bahamians and situated in the Family Islands 
  • Some property approved as commercial farmland (by the Ministers of Agriculture, Trade and Industry and Finance) may also be exempt from some taxes 
  • Properties in Freeport, Grand Bahama are also exempt from property tax
  • Any property owned by a foreign entity, such as by diplomats and embassies 
  • For those 65 and older, after a $250,000 exemption, a 50% discount on balance of home value not exceeding 1 million dollars
  • Bahamians on vacant land

There are a few people and organizations that are exempted from having to pay real property tax in The Bahamas. However, those who qualify must apply for exemption. 

Read on below to understand who qualifies, and how to apply


How much is Real Property Tax in The Bahamas? 

Real property tax in The Bahamas varies depending on the type of property, who owns the property, and the value of the property. 


How is “Real Property” determined? 

Property tax rates are determined by the value of the property, including land and improvements (paved areas, attachments, buildings). The property value and related taxes are based on an assessment that must be completed by an inspector from the Real Property Tax office. 

Details about the property will be collected during a field visit, at which time photos and measurements will be taken of everything that is not removable or detached on the property, like structures such as pools or gazebos. After the inspection, the office will calculate the real property tax liability based on the gathered information and will either write the owner to inform them of their tax liability or will prepare and issue a tax bill.

This property value is subject to change, pending any improvements you make to your property or based on future reassessments of property value in the country. This assessment can be requested by the owner of the property, or by the Real Property Tax Valuation Unit.  

If an owner requests an assessment of the property, two forms must be completed and submitted to the Real Property Tax Valuation Unit. These are the Property Tax Application Assessment Form and a Declaration of Real Property Tax Form. If the property is owner-occupied, the owner must also complete an Affirmation form for tax exemptions on the section that they live in. 


real property tax declaration the bahamas


Bahamas Property Tax Rates

How much you pay depends on your ownership category and the appraised value of the property. Here’s the breakdown by category:

Owner-occupied properties:

  • The first $300,000 of property value is exempt
  • The next $200,000 is taxed at .625%
  • Any remaining values above $500,000 are taxed at 1%

Residential properties with up to 4 units:

  • The first $75,000 of property value is taxed at a flat rate of $300
  • Any additional values above $75,000 are taxed at .625%

Commercial properties with more than four units that are either foreign-owned rental properties or used as a residence:

  • The first $500,000 of property value is taxed at .75%
  • Additional values between $500,000 and $1.5 million are taxed at 1%
  • Additional values from $1.5 million and beyond are taxed at 1.5%

Foreign-owned vacant land:

  • The first $7,000 of property value is taxed at a flat rate of $100
  • Any additional values above $7,000 are taxed at 2%


Bahamas Property Tax Calculations

Real property tax varies depending on the property. 

  1. For owner-occupied property, the rates are:
  • No tax is due for the first $250,000 of the market value
  • Between $250,001 and $500,000 of the market value – tax rate of 0.625%
  • Over $500,001 – tax rate of 1% on the remaining value

Total Real Property Tax payable for any owner-occupied residential property is capped at $60,000 per annum. 

  1. For residential properties, the rates are:
  • A flat $300 fee on the first $75,000 of the property
  • 0.625% on the value above $75,000
  1. Commercial properties, have the following rates:
  • 0.75% on the first $500,000 of the property value
  • 2% on anything above the value of $500,000
  1. Vacant Land 
  • This includes a $100 flat fee on the first $7,000 of the property, as well as a 2% rate on the remaining value of the property.



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How to pay Real Property Tax in The Bahamas

The Bahamas wants to make it easy for you to pay the Real Property Tax. With a set deadline and various options for payment, you’ll need to make sure to pay this tax every year. 


Real Property Tax Penalties

Property tax bills are released annually in mid-October, with a 10% discount for those who pay before April 1st. The deadline to pay this tax is December 31st. 

Payments after this date incur an additional 5% interest fee. Delinquent accounts risk seizure by the government, which resell the property to recover the outstanding taxes.

Need a little more time or to spread out your payments? The good news is payment plans are available, with approval from the Department of Inland Revenue.  When making your payment, you have the option of making your payments in installments (after receiving approval) or in full by the deadline.

Keep in mind, if the tax bill is not paid by the deadline, it is possible that a lien can be placed upon your property by the treasurer of the government and after due process, if still unpaid, the property can be taken by the government and sold to recover any overdue taxes owed.


How to Pay Bahamas Real Property Tax

The Bahamian government makes it easy for individuals to pay their real estate taxes. You can now do it in person or online. 

Here are all of your options.


Pay Bahamas Property Tax Online

If you go to the Real Property Tax Payments portal, you can pay using your credit or debit card. 

All you need to do is provide information like your name, email, assessment number, and your banking details.


Visit a Local Bahamas Bank

Do you prefer to pay through a bank in The Bahamas?

Visit any branch of the Royal Bank of Canada. It will allow you to pay using cash, credit card, or check. Make it payable to The Bahamas Public Treasury (Real Property Tax). Don’t forget to include your real property tax assessment number.


Pay at The Department of Inland Revenue Bahamas 

You can also pay at The Department of Inland Revenue directly. However, note that it will only accept debit or credit cards and checks—no cash payments.


Complete a Wire Transfer

If you prefer to pay wire transfers, you need to determine what currency you’re paying in. 

If you’re using BSD, here’s what you need to know:

  • Destination: RBC Royal Bank (Bahamas) Limited
  • Swift: ROYCBSNS
  • Beneficiary: Bahamas Government — Real Property Tax
  • Beneficiary Account Number: 05625-2885150

If you’re using USD, here are the details you’ll need:

  • Destination: JP Morgan Chase Bank, New York
  • ABA: 021000021
  • Swift: CHASUS33
  • Beneficiary Bank: RBC Royal Bank (Bahamas) Limited, Nassau, Bahamas
  • Beneficiary Bank Account Number: 001-1-188448
  • Beneficiary: Bahamas Government US$ Real Property Tax
  • Beneficiary Account Number: 05625-4005724

You need to provide your assessment number regardless of which wire transfer method you use.


Real Property Tax payment requirements

When making your payment the property owner’s name, account number, and property assessment number will be required, and all answers on your declaration form must be true, correct and show current market value.

Related forms for Real Property Tax

Supporting Documents

The following documents must be submitted to The Department of Inland Revenue as it relates to Real Property Tax.

  • National Insurance Board Number
  • Property Owner’s name
  • Valid ID, i.e. Passport
  • Deed of ownership
  • Property Conveyance or Current Appraisal


Bahamas Property Tax FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about The Bahamas real estate property tax.

How much is property tax in The Bahamas? 

It will depend on the property’s value as determined by The Department of Inland Revenue.

Do you pay annual property tax in The Bahamas? 

Yes, payment of real estate property tax in The Bahamas is required by law unless you qualify for exemptions.

What other taxes do you pay in The Bahamas? 

There aren’t many outside of property tax. There is no income tax, wealth tax, or inheritance tax. You don’t need to pay corporate taxes, either. 

Are there real property tax payment plans? 

Yes, but these have to be approved by The Department of Inland Revenue. Also, there are conditions to meet. Your property must not have a mortgage, and you must make a down payment of 25% of the principal tax.


What is the VAT tax? 

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a 10% tax that applies to most transactions. There are a number of exemptions from VAT listed in the Second Schedule of the Value Added Tax Act, 2014.


Get Started on Your Bahamas Real Estate Journey

It’s clear to see why moving to The Bahamas is a desirable choice. From the crystal clear blue waters to the friendly communities, The Bahamas truly embody the laidback, island lifestyle that many people want to experience. 

Relocating to The Bahamas doesn’t have to feel overwhelming! Familiarizing yourself with the immigration process, economic policies, and real estate property taxes are the first steps you can take in your journey to moving to The Bahamas. 

And the knowledgeable team at Better Homes and Garden MCR Bahamas can help you do just that! Our talented agents understand the stress moving can cause and will help make the process as seamless and stress free as possible! 

So when you’re ready to purchase your luxury home in the Bahamas, contact us at MCR Bahamas today!

Real Property Taxes in The Bahamas: Everything You Need to Know [2024]]

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