Categorized | National News

Business License Act Amendment Passed

Amid concerns and advice, legislators yesterday debated and passed a proposed amendment to the Business License Act, thereby reverting to the status quo prior to a change made on July 1.


Simply put, beginning January, businesses with revenue streams of $100,000 or less will be exempt from paying business license fees.


According to Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis, 80 per cent of businesses fall into this category.


Of the remaining 20 percent, he said, only 24 large businesses that contribute to over 50 per cent of the revenue generated from business license fees.


“This is important because in the past, those individuals were charged $100 and it was very difficult for many of them,” he said.


“They would have paid $100 for business licenses and would have not have gotten their business established in terms of generating any funds.


“And 2-3 years later,  they want to restart and they’re required now to pay all back fees and if they had problems meeting $100, imagine the difficulties they have meeting $300-400 because their businesses were closed.”


The Prime Minister stressed though that notwithstanding the revision, the Department of Inland Revenue will increase its vigilance and audit activities to discourage fraudulent statements.


“We expect all businesses to file honest, accurate statements as most reportedly do already.


“Therefore, advise all businesses, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that the information given is correct and politics will not play a part in these audits,” he said.


The government sees these latest amendments as making it easier to do business in the country.


“As Bahamians  go in to license their businesses  in the new year, they will face prompter service and less government bureaucracy,” said Dr. Minnis.


“The Department of Inland Revenue is committed to ensuring that businesses feel the difference this year coming.


“The processes have been streamlined and the department is instituting a game plan to ensure that it can address businesses promptly and reduce the time to get a business license renewal,” said the Prime Minister.


“The position is simply that we want to encourage accurate reporting, that was the simple intent of the amendment,” said Deputy Prime Minister, Peter Turnquest.


“We recognize that there are  some practical challenges in particular with respect to obtaining bank financial statements.”


Business license fees are a big revenue generator for the government as roughly $150 million is raised.




Written by Jones Bahamas

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