The Bahamas: Tax developments in response to COVID-19 - KPMG Bahamas

Government and institution measures in response to COVID-19.

Government and institution measures in response to COVID-19.

Return to homepage  |  Last updated: 14 May, 2020

General Information

On 18 March 2020, the Government of The Bahamas rolled out a COVID-19 fiscal stimulus response plan. The stimulus response included provisions for unemployment assistance, food and social support, and business loans. To date B$121 million has been allocated to respond to COVID-19 in The Bahamas (approx. 1.0% of The Bahamas’ annual GDP). Of this, over B$100 million is geared towards sustaining pre-COVID-19 employment levels.

Tax measures – Direct and Indirect

(e.g. payment deferrals, rate reductions…)

Click here to see a comprehensive summary of jurisdictional tax measures and government reliefs in response to COVID-19.

Employment-related measures

(e.g. state compensation schemes, training…)

  • Contributions by self-employed persons into the National Insurance Board of The Bahamas (“NIB”) do not cover unemployment benefits therefore they are not eligible to receive such benefits. As a result, a temporary program was designed to assist self-employed persons affected by COVID-19. Self-employed individuals will receive weekly payments of B$200 for a period of up to 8 weeks. 
  • Other unemployed individuals are able to apply for unemployment benefits under NIB’s existing unemployment benefit scheme.
  • The Government will expand the Accelerate the Youth Apprenticeship Program to include additional opportunities for young Bahamians. Such opportunities would include training in the construction sector aimed at supporting local reconstruction.

Economic stimulus measures

(e.g. loans, moratorium on debt repayments…)

  • Domestic commercial banks and credit unions are allowing a three month payment deferral against the repayment of loans for borrowers in good standing who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Interest will however continue to accrue during the deferral period.
  • Government will re-evaluate capital projects to prioritize projects that are easy to deploy in an effort to increase business activities of local small businesses.
  • Approvals for the domestic and foreign capital investment projects will be accelerated.
  • Payment of premiums related to health, medical and life insurance have been suspended.
  • The Business Continuity Loan Program provides loans to MSMEs to assist with settling ongoing operating costs. The loan value ranges from B$5,000 to B$300,000 with a payment grace period of four (4) months.

Other measures and sources

  • The social assistance program is available to assist individuals facing reduced work weeks with the purchase of household groceries. The assistance is primarily for individuals within the hospitality industry.
  • State-owned electricity, water and sewerage companies are providing deferral arrangements, reconnecting services for consumers meeting certain requirements, and suspending disconnections for a defined period.
  • The Ministry of Finance is allocating B$1.8 million to support the Family Islands specifically to be used for any COVID-19 related expenditure.
  • Establishment of a National Food Committee.
  • Establishment of an Economic Recovery Committee.

Main source of information

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