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Operating Your Business Without Licenses? The Risks You Face

Posted by M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola | Jan 01, 2019 | 0 Comments

If you operate your business or company without required licenses, you could face many risks in the future. Among others, you risk government enforcement action, back tax liability, and lawsuits. An unlicensed business also hurts the other businesses in your area.

Government Enforcement Action

The Bahamian government, including local government councils, uses money from various different kinds of business licenses to pay for important services. When government officials find out that you are running an unlicensed business, they may initiate an enforcement action. The action aims to force you to license your business and comply with Bahamian laws. You may owe money for licensing fees from the past that you did not pay, or you could face a shutdown of your business.

Back Taxes

If you did not pay required taxes such as VAT for years while you operated your unlicensed business, you probably have back tax liability. When the government catches up with you – which they most likely will eventually – you could owe thousands. The overdue taxes could force you out of business, into insolvency or personal bankruptcy.


In some industries it may be illegal to operate unless your employees have undergone specific training and possess certain qualifications or certificates. Medicine and health care is a good example – if the people treating patients are not trained doctors or nurses who have been approved to work in that field by the appropriate regulatory authority, your business could face legal liability.

Impact on Other Businesses

Operating without required licenses or approvals hurts other businesses and the economy. Because you are not spending money on licensing and paying taxes that other businesses have to pay, you are undercutting their prices and lowering profits. This can negatively affect the local economy and environment. It also could lead the government to increase regulation and taxation on individuals and businesses.

To find out more about business licensing, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.

About the Author

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola is a civil and commercial litigation attorney and an accredited civil and commercial mediator. Margaret has over 21 years' experience in legal practice in the United Kingdom, Jamaica and The Bahamas.


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