A number of professionals whose services require them to receive a licence from the state to operate, can find themselves fined as high as EC$30,000 if they failed to comply with the law which makes its mandatory for them to obtain an annual licence.
During the 27 May session of the House of Representatives, the members approved the Licence Act Order 2014, which makes it mandatory for 45 different professionals to pay annual licensing fees.
The law for annual licensing has been in existence more than 25 years, but few professionals have complied. Dr Raphael Stephen, Head of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), said, “We are putting the necessary structures in place for all who have to obtain an annual licence. Do so, as it is a violation of the legislation if they don’t comply.”
Fees for the professionals named in the Act have increased by 100%, for example, fees for Accountants, Architects, Auctioneers, Engineers, Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers and Surveyors, moved from EC$500 to EC$1000. Licence fees starts from as low as EC$5 for Huckster or Traffickers, to as high as EC$10,000 for Motor Vehicle Dealers.
Other fees include
• EC$5000 Real Estate Agents
• EC$5000 Duty free shop
• EC$5000 Distillers and Operating a Brewery
• EC$2500 Charterers of ships, yachts or boats
• EC$2500 Operating an Hotel over 90 rooms
• EC$1500 Operating an Hotel between 21 and 90 bedrooms
• EC$1200 Commercial Agents
• EC$1000 Operating a Club
• EC$1000 Operating an Hotel with 20 bedrooms or less
• EC$720 Building Contractor
• EC$600 Chemist
• EC$600 Operating a Guest House
• EC$500 Travel Agent
• EC$500 Operating a Video Rental outlet
• EC$500 Operating a Cinema
• EC$500 Operating a Refreshment House
• EC$500 Gun
• EC$200 Wireman
• EC$100 Operating or managing a Water Sport business
• EC$50 Boatman
Where the Bond established with the Customs and Excise Department does not exceed EC$100,000, the annual fee will be EC$12,000. Where the Bond exceeds EC$100,000 but does not exceed EC$200,000 the fee will be EC$16,000. Where the Bond exceeds EC$250,000 the fee with will be EC$20,000.
Stephen said, “Some of the practitioners are fully aware that they have to obtain a licence, but they have not being doing so for years, and so once the legislation has gone through the entire legal process, we will be working to increase compliance.”
By Linda Straker