What you should know about Trade License?
“Trade” means any business in the course of which any goods, wares, merchandise or provisions are sold and includes a business in which produce or goods of any sort are exported from Belize and any vocation set out in section 27 and 31 but should not include any business set out in the first schedule.
How can a person obtain a Trade License?
Each person who wishes to commence a business (Trade) within the City limits shall, prior to operations, go to the Belize City Council for Trade License Application.
Each person who wishes to commence a business shall submit a copy of their Business Registration Certificate before applying for a license.
For existing businesses, renewal of Trade License requires an application in writing to the clerk of the Board. The application must clearly set out the nature of business, the proper business name and address as specified in the form by the Board.
Below is a list of some of the businesses that require a Trade License:
- Real Estate Agents
- Building Contractors
- Insurance Business
- Medical Practitioners
- Fast Food Shops
- Grocery Shops
- Guest House
- Internet Café
- Gas Station
Any business providing a service is considered a trade.
Annual License Fee for Trade
The annual license fee payable in respect of the carrying on of any trade shall be an amount equal to the annual License fee payable in respect of the carrying on of any trade shall be an amount equal to one-fourth of the annual value of the premises in which the business is carried on.
When fees are due?
Where any fee is assessed by any Board in respect of any Trade carried on in any town, such fee shall be payable within 30 days of the notice of assessment, and where the fee is not paid within this time a further amount equivalent to ten per centum of the balance levied every month on the principal amount.
Different Types of Trade License:
- Commercial Travellers $100.00 per annum
- General Peddler $25.00
- Special Peddler $25.00
- Vendors Permit $25.00
- Owner/Manager of Merry-go-round
- Acrobat/ Circus Performer
- Itinerant Vendor of secrets or patient medicine and movie shows
Changing place of business
Any person who has a valid Trade License and wishes to move his business to a new location or desires to cease operation of his business must inform the board in writing. He must give proper address of the new location so as to enable the Trade License to carry out his assessment of the new location.
No person granted a Trade License under this Act may transfer the license for such Trade without the formal approval of the Board.
Penalty for conducting business without a Trade License
Where any person carrying on a Trade without a license is guilty of an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, that person shall cease to carry on the business concerned. Such person shall further not be entitled either by himself or in association with others to a license to Trade for a period of two years from the date of his conviction. He shall also be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months.
Who may Appeal?
Section 18 of the Trade License Act provides that any applicant who has stipulated an assessment fee in respect of any application and dissatisfied may appeal.
Is there a procedure to Appeal?
Yes, the procedure is for an applicant to serve a written notice of appeal within 10 days of the notice of the assessment on the Board and the Magistrate.
Who hears the Appeal?
The magistrate hears and determines an appeal and makes the decision.
Under what grounds may a License be Forfeited or Suspended?
A board may forfeit a license for such period as it thinks fit if the license holder:
- Is convicted of any offence involving dishonesty under Title XII of the Criminal Code, or is convicted of arson
- Is convicted of any offence under this Act, the Custom Regulation Act, the Income Tax Act or any other offence involving fraud or the revenues; or
- Is convicted for a second or subsequent offence under the Supplies Control Act.
- A board may suspend a license if the license holder is in default of payment of property tax, refuse collection fees or other fees and charges imposed by law, which are payable to the local authority, and every such suspension shall remain in force until all the outstanding taxes, fees and charges have been duly paid or satisfactory arrangements have been made with the local authority for such payment.
- Every license holder shall at all times prominently display his license on some conspicuous part of the premises where the trade or business is carried on, and every person who fails to comply with this requirement shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars.
Approval of License
The Board shall have the power to:
- Hear and determine all applications for the issue of license and for the renewal of transfer thereof.
- Grant licenses,
- Forfeit licenses, and
- Do any other thing necessary to give effect to the provisions of this Act.