Where do you start?

We are getting lots of enquiries from businesses looking for help regarding the new Business Licence which came into effect in January 2016. Below, we have tried to provide as much information as we think we can to help you with this matter. Please note our disclaimer at the foot of the article.

Brief Background to the Implementation of the Business Licence

Taken from the Government of Gibraltar website, below is all the information currently available. In accordance with the Fair Trading Act 2015, which commenced on 7th October 2015, the functions of the Trade Licensing Authority have been transferred and subsumed within the remit of the Office of Trading (OFT) and shall be undertaken by the Business Licensing Authority (BLA). The new licencing regime created by the FTA now requires businesses which carry out the following activities to hold a licence:

  • Trade to include, but not limited to, the buying or selling whether by wholesale or retail, of any goods by way of a business and also means the importing of any goods into Gibraltar in commercial quantities;
  • Services, to include, but not limited to;
    i. construction services road transport contracting and crafts;
    ii. business-related services to include office maintenance, management consultancy, event organisation, debt recovery, advertising and recruitment services;
    iii. tourism services to include travel agents;
    iv. leisure services to include sports and amusement centres;
    v. installation and maintenance of equipment;
    vi. online services provided from Gibraltar;
    vii. information society services to include publishing – print and web, news agencies, computer programming;
    viii. accommodation and food services to include hotels, restaurants and caterers;
    ix. training and education services;
    x. rentals and leasing services to include car rental;
    xi. real estate services;
    xii. beauty therapists and hairdressers;
    xiii. car repair workshops;
    xiv. builders/carpenters/plumbers/electricians and decorators; and
    xv. self-employed persons who provide services.



Business Premises

Next we come to the area of premises from which you can carry out your business or trade. There are "waivers" which could be available for businesses which do not need premises which had not existed prior to this. From the presentation we attended in January 2016, several example services were given but each and every case has to be run through a panel which sits every two weeks. This process is very much a case by case basis. Below are the main areas of the guide to business premises:

  • Businesses are required to produce proof of premises at the time of their application to the BLA.
  • A licence shall not be granted to any premises which are residential Government premises, nor to any non-Governmental premises under which the terms of the title deeds to such premises restrict commercial activities to be carried on from such premises.
  • Businesses that do not need premises from which to operate may apply for a waiver. It should be noted that, even where a waiver is granted by the BLA, the business shall nevertheless be required to abide by the requirements of subsection 60 (8) in respect of the restrictions from carrying on business from residential premises.
  • The FTA permits businesses to share business premises where the BLA, in its sole discretion, is of the opinion that any licences granted in respect of the premises can co-exist in a compatible manner (see the OFT website for full information).



Business Licence Next Steps

In summary, this is what we know and what we recommend:

  • Every self-employed individual and business in Gibraltar now needs a business licence unless they are covered by another entity (such as the FSC).
  • Unless 100% of your business activities require no office you need office space. Those who do not need an office can apply for a waiver.
  • Complete the form on the OFT website, the link is here.
  • The GFSB will complete the application for you on your behalf if you are a member (correct as at 18th March 2016).



Disclaimer

One3Eight Ltd/ Easy Office are not legally registered lawyers or solicitors so all the information listed is based on personal experience. However, we think it is only right that someone who has been through the same experiences as you are about to, should share their thoughts on the matter. Good luck with your new venture and remember, Easy.Office is only an email away.



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