The cost of trade and business licensing fees will be significantly reduced for micro- and small-business owners, under Government's commerce incentives for 2014/2015.

Announced during the 2014 Budget Debate, the reductions will come into effect on 31 August, for a one-year period.

Noting that micro- and small-business owners have been in need of support through incentives for some time, Minister of Commerce Wayne Panton said the reduction in licensing fees is intended to stimulate commerce.

'Micro and small businesses are the backbone of our domestic economy and we aim to support them in a variety of ways to enable their survival, growth and the creation of more jobs', he said.

'Furthermore, Government encourages persons with viable business ideas to consider entering the marketplace and to that end, they are encouraged to discuss their business plans with staff in the Department of Commerce and Investment, who will help them to establish their ventures on solid ground'.

'Micro businesses' are those that, among other conditions, employ up to four employees (excluding the owner), and have an annual gross revenue not exceeding CI$250,000 in the preceding fiscal year. Micro-business owners, across Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, may apply for a 100% reduction in licensing fees for the 2014/2015 year.

'Small businesses' are those that, among other conditions, employ up to 12 employees (excluding the owner), and have an annual gross revenue not exceeding CI$750,000 in the preceding fiscal year.

Small-business owners with operations in West Bay and George Town can receive a 50% reduction in licensing fees; and in Bodden Town, North Side and East End, a 75% reduction is available during 2014/2015.

Minister Panton said that for the Sister Islands, the 50% reduction for small-business owners is in addition to the 50% reduction in fees that already is in place in the Law. 'What this means is that small-business owners in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman will benefit from a total 75% reduction in fees in 2014/2015', he explained.

In addition to meeting the definition for micro or small business, to qualify for the incentive programme business owners must:

  • Obtain a certificate of good standing from the National Pensions Office.
  • Provide health insurance information, including:
    • the name of the business's approved health insurer, with the policy identification number and the effective start date of the policy;
    • a listing of all employees, and their dependents;
    • the last bill payment made to the approved insurer;
    • a statement from the approved insurer confirming that there were no breaks (lapse policy) over the past 12 months; and
    • a statement from the business owner, verifying that the information provided is in agreement with the company's records.
  • Obtain a Trade and Business licence before commencing their operations.
    • Regardless of the reduction in fees, all micro- or small-business owners must obtain a Trade and Business licence before commencing operations, and pay the CI$75 non-refundable processing fee for their licence application. Anyone who does not first obtain a licence before engaging in trade and business will be in contravention of the Trade and Business Licensing Law.

The Trade and Business Licensing Board must be informed of any changes to the business that would alter the owner's eligibility for the incentive. Such changes include an increase or decrease in the number of employees, change of business location, or a change in annual gross revenue. Failure to inform the board may result in disqualification from the programme.

Auditing services, and financial services firms are not covered by this incentive programme.

Business owners who are interested in this incentive are encouraged to read further details of this incentive programme in the Trade and Business Licensing (Amendment of Schedule) Order, 2014, which is available on

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