Gov’t moves to introduce provisional licensing for small businesses

Guyanese seeking to open small businesses may soon be able to operate with provisional licences, pending the processing of their applications for necessary permits.

To make this a reality, Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Friday tabled the Tax (Amendment) Bill 2018, which seeks to amend section 71 of the Tax Act to include a provision for the issuance of a provisional licence for business premises, in cases where it can be shown that the application for the licence is in process and all efforts are being made to satisfy the needed requirements.

The Bill seeks to add an additional subsection to Section 71, which its explanatory memorandum says is intended to allow the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to help small businesses to start operations, pending the grant of such permits as building and fire permits. The proposed subsection states that notwithstanding anything to the contrary provided in the Act, the Commissioner-General of the GRA may issue to a person who has applied to the commissioner for a licence, “a provisional licence for a period of not more than two years, and for a fee of fifty percent of the respective annual licence fee where it can be shown that the application for the licence is in process and all efforts are being made to satisfy requirements therefor.”

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