Non Profit

Bahamian Non-profits must register with the Registrar General’s Dept., otherwise be barred from transacting business and may face fines

Anti-money laundering regulations “sweeps across” the non-profit regime in The Bahamas with the implementation of the 2019 Non Profit Organisation (NPO) statute.

The Non-profit Act 2019 (“the Act”) and the amendments thereto makes it mandatory, pursuant to s7(1) for all Non-profits to be registered in order to carryout business. S7(1) provides as follows:

“(1) A non-profit organisation shall not carry out operations unless it is registered under this Act”.

To determine if an entity is an NPO recourse should be had to s2 of the Act which lasso most civic groups whether incorporated or not within the definition. S2 states that:

“a body of persons whether incorporated or unincorporated, formed and established for the purpose of promoting public policies or objects that are religious, charitable, educational, scientific, environmental, historical, cultural, fraternal, literary, sporting, artistic, athletic or promoting health, and whose gross annual income or any part thereof, if any, and other income are applied to the promotion of those objects, and there is a prohibition of any dividend or refund of contributions to its members, but excludes a religious or charitably founded school registered with the Ministry of Education, and any organisation with political objectives” .

The Office of the Attorney General provides this checklist for those wishing to register their non profit:

Checklist for Registering a Nonprofit

(a) Completed Non Profit (NPO) Registration Form;
(b) Certificate of Incorporation or Document that provide evidence of formation;
(c) Copies or particulars of organizational documents (Constitution, Intended Constitution or Memorandum & Articles of Association);
(d) The declared purposes of the NPO;
(e) The identity of the controller and other members of the NPO (Proof of identity by means of a valid government ID, i.e., Passport, Voter’s Card, NIB Card or Driver’s License);
(f) Register of Directors and Officers;
(g) Register of Members;
(h) Proof of Address (Verified by a Utility Bill or Voter’s Card);
(i) Details of umbrella organization(s) (if applicable).

In addition to registering, those non-profits whose annual income exceeds $75,000 are required to produce financial records for scrutiny by the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) – per ss 19 (3) and 22 (1) of the Act. Additionally, names of donors who provide gifts of $100,000 or more, whether incrementally or in lump sum must be provided – this pursuant to s24 which paragraph is intituled “Reportable Donations”. The financial records must be kept for a period of 5 years.

Organisations with umbrella entities may fall within certain exempted categories with respect to the provision of financials.

While this new law will require more administrative costs for NPOs it is intended to help regulators keep a close eye on those who may utilize NPOs to carryout nefarious acts, such as funding of terrorism.

For support completing and submitting the NPO registration form you can contact our offices at telephone number (242) 677-5265 or 6 or email us at info@capital-lawassociates.com.