VAT - Registering A Taxpayer

Businesses operating in The Bahamas that provide taxable supplies of $100,000 or more are required by law to register for VAT. However, businesses providing taxable supplies that are below $100,000 are not required to register, but may wish to voluntarily register for VAT. Persons who meet the registration threshold but do not apply for registration can be forcibly registered by the Comptroller.


An individual or entity/non-individual can be:

  1. Liable for VAT, meaning:
    • you are above the VAT threshold and are therefore legally responsible to collect VAT on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas or
    • you are below the VAT threshold but want to legally collect VAT on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas
  2. or not Liable for VAT, meaning:
    • The entity is below the VAT threshold and has no desire to collect VAT on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas

An individual or non-individual can identify a Representative to conduct business with the government on their behalf. (Depending on the legislation representatives may be fully or partially liable in their role of acting on behalf of the taxpayer.)

An Individual is considered to be a Sole-Trader/Proprietor or other individual who needs to:

  • File and pay taxes,
  • Communicate with or send an enquiry to the department, or
  • Conduct business with the Government.

A Non-Individual is considered to be a Company, Partnership, Non-Profit/Charitable Organisation, International Organisation, Embassy/Diplomatic Mission, or such that needs to:

  • File and pay taxes,
  • Communicate with or send an enquiry to the department, or
  • Conduct business with the Government.

The following persons are expected to register irrespective of their threshold:-

  • Government Entities
  • Auctioneers


  1. Sign-up for a free User Account
  2. Once you have an account, log in using your user name and password.
  3. Click the button "Register New Taxpayer".
  4. Complete the application; check the declaration which indicates that the information is correct, and that you accept the terms and conditions of the site.
  5. Submit the online form.
  6. An online acknowledgement is immediately seen supplying you with a Registration Case Number and the time period within which you will be responded to.
  7. An e-mail with your Registration Case Number will be sent to you.
  8. The application will be vetted by a Registration Officer. The officer may contact you to verify information or request supporting documents.
  9. Once approved for VAT, an email notification will be sent to the applicant indicating the following:-
    • Assigned Tax Identification Number (TIN)
    • Department assigned to (very large, large, medium, small, very small. Based on your total taxable sales)
    • Filing frequency (monthly, quarterly, bi-annually)
    • Accounting basis (Cash or Accrual)
    • A VAT Registration Certificate will be attached to the email notification.

If rejected, you will receive an email stating the reason(s) for rejection. You can contact the VAT Department for further information, however once the reason(s) for rejection is/are resolved, your application may be considered.

If approved for TIN only registration, the email notification will contain a TIN Registration Certification document which will indicate the TIN and the effective date of registration.

Application Form(s)

VAT is administered through the Government’s Online Administration Tax System. An online VAT Registration form can be accessed from this site.

Manual registration will only be possible by pronouncement of the VAT Comptroller.

The form has five basic sections:

  • Taxpayer Details. You will provide taxpayer information according to whether an individual or non-individual is being registered:
    • Business name or first name, middle initial and last name, and Trade name. The name provided must be exactly as provided to the relevant registering or licencing authority (Business Licence Unit, Registrar General’s Department, Central Bank of The Bahamas).
    • Registration and/or licence number and business type code issued by the registering agency.
    • The date the business or organisation was formed may be required.
    • The National Insurance Board number. This could be either your employer number or the personal NIB, or both. If non-Bahamian, provide your country’s national identification number (e.g. Social Security Number).
    • The taxpayer details will also capture the "Nature of business" activity. OTAS uses International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) of All Economic Activities (Rev.4; United Nations Statistics Division). The code has 4 Levels (Section, Division, Group, and Class). Example, a General store would have the ISIC Code 4711.
      Section G Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      Division 47 Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      Group 471 Retail sale in non-specialised stores
      Class 4711 Retail sale in non-specialised stores with food, beverages or tobacco predominating
    • If your VAT Account is to be managed by an individual or non-individual not in the direct employ of the business, they can be designated as a representative. This representative must first register themselves for a TIN and be approved. The representative can be liable or not liable for VAT. Note: an employee such as the accountant, financial controller, bookkeeper is not considered a representative.
  • Taxpayer Contacts. This includes business address, mailing address, and in some instances the home address. Telephone, Fax, and Mobile numbers may be mandatory depending on the tax type. For online services an e-Mail address is mandatory.
  • Additional Details. Depending on the tax type you will have to provide information on branches, directors, partners, shareholders, or other related/associated businesses or individuals.
  • Business or Tax Related Activity. The information you provide here pertains to the type and level of business that is carried out. For VAT you will need to know the value of your Taxable Supplies (excluding capital goods) and Real Property Tax assessment number. You will also be required to indicate the date you are required to start charging VAT, that is "Commencement Date".
  • Bank Details. As part of improved efficiency and effectiveness, the Government of The Bahamas is automating its payment processes. In this regard, refunds or payments will be made directly to the taxpayer’s bank account. The bank account provided must be in the name of the sole-proprietor, or business name or trading name of the taxpayer being registered.

Note: Supporting documents will not be needed at the time of registration but may be required before an approval is given. The type of supporting document is subject to the taxpayer and tax type. The Registration Officer assigned to your case may contact you during the review of your application.

Incomplete and/or incorrect information will cause a delay in processing a registration.

A sample VAT Registration form is available for your viewing on Note, registration is strictly online unless otherwise expressed by the Comptroller of the VAT Department.

Supporting Document(s)

If you are liable for VAT, you may be required to provide on request during the vetting process:

  • Valid and current Business Licence
  • Letter of good standing from NIB
  • Certificate of Good Standing from Registrar General’s Department
  • Bank Verification letter.

Turn-around time

If you have all the required information at hand, the online registration process should take approximately 30 minutes. Once your registration request has been received, it will be processed by an officer, and you should receive your VAT Certificate with your TIN within 21 days.


At the introduction of VAT, all persons meeting the criteria for registration must apply for registration at least one month before the VAT commencement date. Under normal circumstances, a person meeting the requirements for registration should apply within 14 days of meeting the conditions stated above. However, for promoters of public entertainment, they should register no later than 48 hours before the event is promoted. Government entities are deemed to be registered on and from the date taxable activity commences while Auctioneers must apply for registration from the date they become an auctioneer.

Related Fee(s)

There are no fees to register for this service.

For more information please contact

For all enquiries eMail us at:
We will attempt to answer all emails within 5 working days.

Telephone: (242) 461-8050
VAT Hotline: (242) 225-7280
Fax: (242) 361-4034

Postal Address:
Department of Inland Revenue
Carmichael Road (behind Scotia Bank at the Shops at Carmichael Plaza)
Nassau, N.P.
The Bahamas