Conditions for Improving the Property Tax in the Bahamas: Final Report

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The Commonwealth of the Bahamas has translated sound economic management, political stability and close proximity to the world’s largest consumer market into steady growth and high levels of per capita income. Real annual economic growth has averaged about 1.3% over the past two decades with a strong growth spurt of 4.6% during 1993-99. Per capita income is currently about B$21,500 and over $25,000 in purchasing power parity terms, which makes it the highest amongst the Caribbean economies. Despite achieving growth and high levels of per capita income, the Government of the Bahamas (GoB) faces fiscal challenges to contain public debt while sustaining public services to support growth and development. These fiscal challenges are arising from (1) the negative impact of the 2008-09 recession on revenues combined with increased stimulus expenditures, (2) a narrow and volatile tax base combined with a need to modernize and strengthen its revenue administration and (3) policy objective of joining WTO has implications for reducing import duty rates and for non-discrimination in tax policy This report addresses options for improving the fiscal balance in the short and medium terms with a particular focus on the reform of the property tax system and its potential revenue contribution. The report (1) presents an overview and performance of the revenue base of the Bahamas exploring the nature and seriousness of the emerging public debt build up; (2) analyzes the existing tax structures and reforms presenting policy and administrative recommendations for improving revenue yield; (3) analyzes property tax policies and administration to identify recommendations for improving property tax revenue yield, equity and efficiency in the Bahamas.






Kelly, R, G Glenday and Wayne Forde (2011). Conditions for Improving the Property Tax in the Bahamas: Final Report. Retrieved from



Roy Kelly

Professor of the Practice Emeritus in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Roy Kelly is Professor of the Practice of Public Policy, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University and the Director of the Program on Fiscal Decentralization and Local Government Financial Management. Prior to coming to Duke, he spent 19 years with the Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), and the Harvard International Tax Program, focusing on local government finance, tax analysis and project evaluation.

Kelly has 40 years of experience in teaching and in designing and implementing reforms on fiscal decentralization, local government finance, revenue mobilization and property taxation in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe.  He served as a resident advisor to the governments of Indonesia, Kenya, Cambodia and Tanzania and as a short-term advisor in over 30 different countries. Kelly received his MCRP and Ph.D. in Urban Planning from Harvard University.


Graham Glenday

Professor of the Practice Emeritus in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Graham Glenday is Professor of the Practice Emeritus of Public Policy at DCID.  Before retiring in August 2018, he was co-director of the International Taxation Program, PARM, and BUDGET programs. He is currently working on a range of issues relating to public investment management in the context of climate change and state owned enterprises.  He came to Duke in July 2001 from Harvard University where he was Director of the Public Finance Group in the Kennedy School of Government and earlier in the Harvard Institute for International Development. He has over 35 years of international professional experience in public finance, acting as an advisor in tax policy and administration reforms, public investment management and other fiscal matters to over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Turkey and elsewhere including co-ordination of the successful Tax Modernization Program in Kenya. Earlier he served as Assistant Director of Tax Policy Analysis in the Department of Finance in the Government of Canada. Glenday has also published research and taught graduate courses and executive workshops in taxation, public budgeting and project appraisal matters from 1985 onward. Glenday was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and has a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University.

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