The new Trade and Business Licensing Law will commence on Friday, 1 January 2016.
Current and future licence holders are advised that the law features several amended or entirely new components, all of which are intended to create a level playing field for business owners, and to make the overall business licensing system much more efficient.
'For years, Government has received comments from business owners regarding changes they felt would improve Cayman's trade and business licensing regime', explained Minister of Commerce Wayne Panton.
'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', he said.
'The overall intention is to create a culture of business licensing compliance in the Cayman Islands'.
The Department of Commerce and Investment (DCI) will administer the new law; and Director Ryan Rajkumarsingh highlighted seven important aspects that the public should know about it.
1. New forms. There is now one form to complete for grants, renewals and incentives under sole trader; and one form for grants, renewals and incentives for companies. Because of changes in the arrangement of information, it's also easier for applicants to complete, which means more accuracy and subsequently, faster processing. This checklist further assists persons with completing the application.
2. Timeframes for renewal applications. If you are renewing your licence, you must submit your renewal application prior to its expiry. The timeframe to submit renewal applications is between three months, and 28 days, prior to the expiry of the licence.
3. Additional documentation requirements. In order to ensure compliance with Cayman's socioeconomic-related laws, persons who are renewing their licences will be required to provide health insurance and pensions documentation at the time they submit their renewal application.
4. Penalty for late filing. To help ensure and maintain efficiencies in the licensing process, DCI will enforce penalties for late applications. For incomplete applications, the Trade and Business Licensing Board may require applicants to complete and resubmit the application, and pay a resubmission fee. Persons who do not intend to renew their licences must notify DCI, via a formal letter or email, to avoid incurring fees, and to avoid liability for outstanding fees.
Notifications may be mailed; or in Grand Cayman, delivered to the Business Licensing Counter (formerly the Trade and Business Licensing Counter), on the first floor of the Government Administration Building; or in Cayman Brac, delivered to the DCI office in the District Administration Building. The mailing address is:
The Trade and Business Licensing Board
133 Elgin Avenue, Box 126
Grand Cayman KY1-9000
5. Tickets and fines. To encourage business owners to fulfil their responsibilities under the legislation, persons who breach their business licence requirements in Cayman will be subject to receiving tickets and paying fines under the new Trade and Business Law, as DCI's trade officers will now have greater enforcement responsibilities.
6. Surcharge. Licence holders who do not pay the renewal fee within 28 days after the expiry date of the licence shall, unless the Board waives it, pay a surcharge not exceeding 25% of the renewal fee for every month, or part of a month, that the renewal fee is not paid.
7. Appeals Tribunal. Business owners who want to question a Trade and Business Licensing Board decision will have an opportunity to do so, through the Trade and Business Licensing Appeals Tribunal.
The Legislative Assembly passed the new law in December 2014. Since then, Mr Rajkumarsingh said DCI staff have been developing and testing 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 1 January'.
For more information on the new law, visit www.dci.gov.ky; email firstname.lastname@example.org; call Grand Cayman; or call for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.