The Commonwealth of The Bahamas comprises a 100,000-square-mile archipelago of 700 islands, situated in the Atlantic Ocean just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. Over 250,000 people live here and its year-round sub-tropical climate and beautiful beaches attract over 3 million tourists a year.
Links with Great Britain span three centuries and many British legal, educational and parliamentary traditions endure today. Since 1729, the tradition of democratically elected legislatures has continued uninterrupted and, having gained its independence in 1973, The Bahamas enjoys a worldwide reputation as a politically stable, premier financial centre.
Known today as the "Switzerland of the Western Hemisphere", The Bahamas became the world's first offshore financial centre in 1908, when the Royal Bank of Canada opened its doors in Nassau. Today, over 400 major international financial institutions are represented in The Bahamas, making financial services the second largest industry after tourism.
Bahamian banking and business practices embody important elements of international finance - the Common Law concept of trusts, and assurance of confidentiality, anonymity and asset protection.
As a sovereign territory, The Bahamas is not party to any double taxation treaty or fiscal information sharing agreements with any other country, making it an appealing location for direct foreign investments, international business, and international financial transactions. Moreover, it is a tax-advantaged jurisdiction - no withholding taxes and no taxes on personal or corporate income, capital gains, wealth, estate or inheritance.
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