Nearly 18K companies meet substance reporting deadline so far

Nearly 18K companies meet substance reporting deadline so far

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Over 17,500 entities have successfully completed their 2019 reporting under the new Commercial Entities (Substance Requirements) Act, 2018, (CESRA) which was due at the end of 2020, the Ministry of Finance reported yesterday.

However, that leaves thousands of companies and other entities that still must meet their reporting obligations under the new legislation.

In a statement, the Ministry of Finance noted: “The government understands the challenges faced by some entities in complying and has made the decision to suspend late penalties until January 31 for entities that meet their reporting obligations before the end of the month.

“This follows an extension to the deadline from September 2020 to December that was granted last year.

“To facilitate the demand, the Department of Inland Revenue (DIR) has allocated dedicated staff to process requests in the reporting portal. While some businesses have experienced delays, DIR is working around the clock to process requests.”

Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson added: “Many businesses continue to make good faith efforts to comply with the new regulations.

“We all know that COVID-19 has been a very disruptive year and this is the first reporting cycle for the new regulations. The deadline caught some companies off guard for various reasons, and the government is working with stakeholders to facilitate compliance.

“We will continue to monitor the situation. However, we urge businesses to take advantage this opportunity to comply with the new requirements.”

Since April 2018, the Regulatory and International Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Finance has participated in training workshop and forums dedicated to CESRA requirements with the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB), the Bahamas Bar Association, Bahamas Maritime Association, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and various financial institutions.

Several public notices were also issued following the gazetting of the CESRA regulations in February 2019.

The CESRA regulations were implemented to ensure all corporate vehicles and similar legal structures operating within The Bahamas are engaged in real economic activity.