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Business licence registration forms available online

The heavily-debated new Business Licence Act is finally here, with the Ministry of Finance sending out a reminder that registration forms for businesses can now be obtained online.

“The Ministry of Finance advises the public that the new Business Licence Act 2010 took effect on January 1, 2011,”said a statement sent toGuardian Businessyesterday.”All businesses operating within The Bahamas must register under this new act by March 31st, 2011.

“Applications must be made at the business licence offices in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Exuma, or at the office of the island administrator in all other islands. All required forms are available at the aforementioned offices. Forms are also available online at”

During a recent town hall meeting in San Salvador the Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing said the new Business Licence Act 2010 would make doing business in The Bahamas a lot easier.

Laing explained to residents that with the new act, which will come into force in January 2011, businesses are going to be taxed every year, and a business owner would only need to send in a simple form explaining how much he or she made.

“Once I know how much you made, I will be able to assess your taxes,”Laing said.”If you are making$250,000 or less a year, for the next two years, you will have no business licence tax to pay because you are exempt under this new law.”

The act will also take the power to issue business licences away from Family Island district councils, he explained.

In New Providence, the secretary for revenue, resident in the Business Licence Unit, will have that responsibility.

On the Family Islands, wherever there is a business licence office that office will be responsible, where there is no business licence office, the treasury office will be responsible, or the administrator will be responsible, acting on the power of the secretary for revenue.

Laing further noted that every year thousands of business persons in the country are required to renew their business licences.

“That is going to be finished with under the new law,”he said.

Laing said with this new process, a business is registered forever unless the owner sends in a form stating that the business has closed. If that form is not sent in, then the government assumes the business is still in existence.

The forms are also very flexible, he noted.”With one form you can change the name of your business, the location of your business, and pay your tax.

“Attached to that form will be instructions on how to fill it out. It will also ask what kind of business you are seeking to go into, and will tell you what the prerequisites are for applying for that business.”

Individuals will be told up front what they are required to do, so that when they carry in the application form, they would have all the corresponding documentation and will not be given the run around.

No one will be given a negative answer unless something is found untoward about the proposed business, he said.

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