With today’s increased focus on compliance and transparency, every business – wherever it is incorporated – will require national, regional or local licences. You must obtain all the necessary licences and permits before you commence operations – or face steep penalties. Certain activities will also have licensing requirements that are completely independent of the general operational licenses. Often the situation can be confused by lack of information, multiple licensing authorities and constant changes.
When obtaining initial licenses, you need to make sure that you define all the activities your business involves and satisfy the licensing requirements for each of those activities. Many countries will require tax identification numbers and registrations, such as VAT and social security, as well as work permits or specific occupational and professional licenses. Many countries will also have permit regulations tied to health and safety, zoning, occupancy or signage.
Obtaining the initial licences is only the first stage in business licence requirements. Most business licences require periodic renewals and any change in business ownership or operations can result in the need for new licences or amendments to current licences. Staying in compliance requires that you pay attention to these factors:
- Renewal requirements: Most licences are valid for only a specific period of time. Many must be renewed annually. In some cases, all licences must be renewed by a given calendar date; in other cases, the renewal date is tied to the date on which the licence was issued. Licence renewal fees and charges also vary widely.
- Changes to operations: If you expand your business – either through acquisition, additional locations or manpower or though new products or services – you may need to obtain new licences or amend existing ones.
- Changes in laws and regulations: Granting licences to operate serves a number of purposes for governments; raising revenue, controlling certain types of activities, ensuring public safety, and promoting certain types of industries. Accordingly, the licensing laws are likely to change over time and you need to be vigilant to ensure that you stay in compliance.
Acquiring and retaining national, regional or local licences can be costly, as well as aggravating and time-consuming, but is essential to maintaining your business operations, reputation and goodwill.
Sovereign can guide you through the licence process. We can research your business licence jurisdictional requirements, prepare and file required applications, handle fee calculations and payments. We can also track licence and permit due dates and verify with each licence authority that your licences are active.
Using Sovereign to manage and safeguard your licence, permit and registration requirements will save resources and reduce risk and uncertainty, while leaving you free to focus on your business.