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Cayman To Waive Fees For Small Businesses

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
04 September, 2014

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

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

"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 [to support] the creation of more jobs," Minister of Commerce Wayne Panton said, adding: "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."

For the purposes of the concession, 'micro businesses' are those that, among other conditions, employ up to four employees (excluding the owner), and have an annual gross revenue not exceeding KYD250,000 (USD304,000) in the preceding fiscal year. Micro-business owners, across Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, may apply for a 100 percent reduction in licensing fees for the 2014/2015 year.

'Small businesses' are defined as those that, among other conditions, employ up to 12 employees (excluding the owner), and have an annual gross revenue not exceeding KYD750,000 in the preceding fiscal year. Small-business owners with operations in West Bay and George Town can receive a 50 percent reduction in licensing fees, while a 75 percent reduction is available for businesses in Bodden Town, North Side, and East End.

For the 'Sister Islands,' the confirmed 50 percent reduction for small-business owners is in addition to the 50 percent reduction in fees that already is in place in Cayman law. "What this means is that small-business owners in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman will benefit from a total 75 percent reduction in fees in 2014/2015," Panton explained.

To qualify for the incentive program, 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 KYD75 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 program. Auditing services and financial services firms are not covered by this incentive program, the Government said.

The legislation governing the incentive program is the Trade and Business Licensing (Amendment of Schedule) Order, 2014.


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