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Trade license reform coming in 2020

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019. 10:23 am CST.

By BBN Staff: Businesses countrywide can look forward to more predictability with regards to paying their trade licenses thanks to a new regime coming next year, according to Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner.

“The legislation is completed, through the Mayor’s Association we have had extensive consultation with all stakeholders, we feel that it is a very good regime that will give predictability to the whole situation, it’s at a level where it should be put to the house shortly for
rollout in 2020,” Wagner said.

Under the current system, the trade licensing board sits annually and reviews every application for renewal, and decides using appropriate legislation what fees would be charged. Under the law, the board should charge 25 percent of the property value, however that led to inconsistency, with the 25 percent is seldom being applied.

The new regime comes after years of consultation with the business community and considerations for different formulas to calculate the tax. Under the new system, businesses would be classified using the size according to the price they pay for renting their business space or the rental value of the property they do business on. According to the classification, the businesses would be charged a fixed rate.

The new system would reduce the trade license fees for 98 percent of the businesses in the city. Under the current system, the trade licensing board sits annually and reviews every application for renewal, and decides using appropriate legislation what fees would be charged.

 

Former Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley said that the new system would prove costly to the council, representing a 19 percent drop in the revenue the city collects from trade licenses, but that loss is expected and can be budgeted for to account for the shortfall.

 

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