New trade and business licensing law comes into effect

The new Trade and Business Licensing Law which aims to improve compliance with licensing rules will come into force on Jan. 1, 2016. 

The law is administered by the Department of Commerce and Investment and has several amended or entirely new components including new single forms for grants, renewals and incentives for sole traders and companies. 

License renewal applications have to be submitted between 28 days and three months before the expiry of the license and there are penalties for late filing. 

For incomplete applications, the Trade and Business Licensing Board may require applicants to complete and resubmit the application, and pay a resubmission fee. 

Renewal applicants now also have to provide health insurance and pension documentation with their application in an attempt to improve compliance with these legal requirements. 

Under the new law the department’s trade officers have generally greater enforcement responsibilities and the power to issue tickets and fines for breaches of the law and business license terms. 

License holders who do not pay the renewal fee within 28 days after the expiry date of the license will have to pay a surcharge not exceeding 25 percent of the renewal fee for every month, or part of a month, that the renewal fee is not paid. 

Business owners have the right to challenge Trade and Business Licensing Board decisions through the Trade and Business Licensing Appeals Tribunal. 

The overall intention of the amended law is “to create a culture of business licensing compliance in the Cayman Islands,” said Minister of Commerce Wayne Panton. 

“For years, government has received comments from business owners regarding changes they felt would improve Cayman’s trade and business licensing regime,” he said. 

“Following a consultative review process that involved business owners and other stakeholders, we now have a law that meets two key economic objectives: It’s more business friendly, and it also provides the regulatory platform that gives both consumers and business owners more confidence in our licensing framework.” 

The Legislative Assembly passed the new law in December 2014. Since then, DCI director Ryan Rajkumarsingh said the department had developed and tested the operational systems that the law requires. 

“The new law means changes in procedures for both business owners and staff,” he said. “For DCI, our goal is to have a system that’s tested and ready for Jan. 1.” 

Mr. Panton
Mr. Panton