The Bahamas' Ministry of Financial Services has developed a tax residency programme to serve as a gateway to more permanent residence for HNWIs.
This programme grants successful applicants the right to reside in the Bahamas for a period of up to three years and gives them a certificate of tax residence.
To maintain access to these benefits, however, investors must make the Bahamas their home (or main) residence, living in the country for at least 90 days and declaring they will spend less than 183 days in any other single country.
Many international high-net-worth individuals are now choosing to make the Bahamas their primary residence"
If they fail to abide by these rules, a ‘substantial presence test' will be conducted to ascertain whether their benefits should be withdrawn.
"The ministry also recognises that the issue of residency is hugely important given global developments in tax transparency. With this in mind, the concept of residency - and, specifically, tax residency - in the Bahamas has been carefully defined," Elsworth Johnson, Minister of Financial Services, Trade, Industry and Immigration, Bahamas Financial Services Board said in an article published by World Finance.
"This has helped the country's financial services sector remain progressive, while also keeping up to date with a changing global landscape," he added.
Most house buyers in the Bahamas come from Britain, western Europe, Canada, the United States and, more recently, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Mexico, agents said.
"The Bahamas is no longer just a vacation destination," said Gavin G. Christie, the managing partner of C.A. Christie Real Estate. "Many international high-net-worth individuals are now choosing to make the Bahamas their primary residence," Christie told the New York Times.
"We have a lot of foreign investors coming in," Paul Carey, the founder and a broker at Realty Team Bahamas, added. "They are buying the high-end stuff."
Many buyers, he said, block off weeks or weekends to use the house and then rent it in between for a "minimum $2,000 a night."