Trade License Registration
A business must obtain a trade license before the commencement of any type of operations in Belize. A trade license is required for each location that the trade will be carried on regardless as to whether it is the same business. The trade license must be renewed annually. This applies to companies, partnerships, and sole traders including professionals.
Applications are submitted to the local city or town council and approved by the Trade Licensing Board of the municipality/town. The Licensing Board consists of the Mayor of the local authority who is the chairman of the board and, four (4) other members. The Clerk, Administrator or General Manager of the local authority is usually appointed as the Clerk of the Board.
Annual license fees are calculated based on the annual rental value of the property and penalties are imposed for non-payment of fees. The police and Council Field Officers often go out to investigate whether there are businesses operating without a trade license which may be closed down if operating illegally. The Trade License must also be displayed on the premises for the public viewing.
Procedure on Trade License Registration:
- A person wishing to establish a business submits a completed application form along with a copy of the Certificate of Registration (Business Names) or Certificate of Incorporation to the city or town council.
- The applicant may be required to attend an interview.
- The application is sent to the Trade Licensing Board for review and approval. The Board meets quarterly (January, April, July and October) every year. However, a fee can be paid to the Council for a special sitting of the Board which will meet within 10 – 15 days of payment of the fee. The Mayor will set a date for the meeting of the Board.
- The application is evaluated at the Board meeting and if a quorum of three (3) members’ vote yes to the application, the application is deemed approved. If there are any queries, the Board will defer the decision on the application.
- The Board communicates its decision to the Clerk at the Council.
- The Clerk will inform the applicant and prepare the letter of approval or denial for signature by the Chairman, and the Clerk of the Board. The Clerk will request additional information from the applicant if needed. The applicant may appeal the decision in writing if the application is denied.
- If approved, the applicant pays the license fee and can return to collect the Trade License Certificate at the respective Council office when prepared.