Chapter 02 - Licenses and License Fees
Chapter 02 - Licenses and License Fees
The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the licensing of businesses in the Territory of American Samoa in order that all the necessary and reasonable control and regulation thereof may be practiced by the government for the protection of the health, welfare, safety and morals of the people of American Samoa.
As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning the following definitions apply:
(a) “Business” means and includes any activity or conduct (whether proprietary, partnership, corporate, or whatever form) engaged in, or caused to be engaged in, with the object of gain or economic benefit, either direct or indirect, but does not include casual sales or personal service contracts.
(b) “Commission” means the Territorial Planning Commission of American Samoa.
(c) “Endorsement” means and includes written evidence obtained by an applicant from the examining department that the applicant has fulfilled the necessary qualifications and requirements prior to the obtaining of the license. It also, when the context so requires, means and includes the evidence of endorsement appearing on the face of the license.
(d) “Engaging in or carrying on a business” means a regular employment which occupies the time, labor, or attention of the person on a continuing basis although one act may be sufficient if circumstances show a purpose to continue, and it need not be the sole or full-time employment of the person, but may be on a part-time or periodic basis.
(e) “Examining agency” means that agency of the government or department of the government which is by law, rule, or regulation given the responsibility of examining and endorsing a class of applicants for required qualifications.
(f) “License” means and includes the permission granted by the Territory of American Samoa under authority of this chapter conferring upon the licensee the right to engage in a business or practice a trade or profession which without the authorization and permission would be illegal; it also, when the context so requires, means and includes the written evidence of that permission.
(g) “License fee” means the charge or assessment levied by the law for the privilege or authority to do that which, without payment for and obtaining the privilege or authority, would be illegal under the provisions of this chapter.
(h) “Person” means and includes any individual, over 21 years of age, firm, copartnership joint venture, association, corporation, estate, trust, or other combination or group acting as a unit.
(i) “Renewal” means the continuation for the next succeeding year of the privilege to conduct the licensed business except that no license shall be renewed unless the application is made therefor within 3 months of the expiration of the last license issued.
(j) "Treasurer” means the Treasurer of American Samoa or his designated representative.
Administration of this chapter may be delegated by the Governor to persons or departments as necessary for effective and efficient enforcement of this chapter.
It is the duty of the Treasurer to perform the following functions as well as the other functions assigned by the Governor:
(1) to insure compliance with all required prerequisites, including payment of the fee by any applicant for a license, and to issue the proper license to the applicant;
(2) to keep a complete set of records of all licenses issued;
(3) to keep and maintain a sufficient supply of application forms and any rules and regula-tions of the Commission or Governor’s office relating to the issuance of business licenses.
All license applications must be submitted on forms prescribed by the Governor or Commission and must contain the following information:
(1) name of business;
(2) type of business to be conducted;
(3) type of business organization;
(4) names, ages, and residences of principals involved in the business;
(5) location of business;
(6) endorsement of a licensing or examining authority having jurisdiction over the trade, business, or occupation;
(7) proof of bank accounts or financial statements, or both, for verification of capital invest-ments upon request by the licensing authority;
(8) proof of issuance of stock certificates verifying ownership, if the applicant is a corporation; and
(9) any other information required by the Governor or Commission.
Upon receipt of a fully completed application, the Treasurer shall forward the application to the Governor for review and approval. The Governor may in his discretion forward the license application to the Commission for review and recommendation. Upon final approval by the Governor, the license application will be forwarded to the Treasurer for final disposition. Upon receipt of a properly approved license application and payment of the appropriate license fee by the applicant, the Treasurer will issue the appropriate business license.
(a) When an application for a business license is received by the Governor from a person who is not either an “American Samoan” or a “permanent resident” as designated in 41.0502, or in the case of a corporation when the majority stock is not owned by either of such persons, the application shall be referred to the Commission.
(b) The Commission shall hold a hearing on any application received under subsection (a) on due notice to the applicant in order to consider the application in the context of the following standards:
(1) traffic safety;
(2) adequate parking facilities;
(3) availability of water and sewage facilities;
(4) effect on land resources and economic opportunities for resident Samoans;
(5) effect on Samoan customs, culture and traditions;
(6) conformity to the general economic plan.
(c) After due consideration of any testimony and records introduced at the hearing, in the light of the standards set forth in subsection (b), the Commission may deny the application or return it to the Governor with a favorable recommendation. The Governor shall then evaluate the application in the light of the recommendation and the other matters set forth in 27.0208 et seq.
The Governor may disapprove the application of any business license if in his opinion the issuance of a license:
(1) would be contrary to the public policy of encouraging the development of business enterprises by Samoans;
(2) would be contrary to the best interest of the public;
(3) would be incompatible with the economic and social development of the plans for the Territory, considering among other things: the nature of the proposed business, proposed location, adequacy of investment nature of the buildings and equipment and sanitary conditions.
All licenses and applicable endorsements must be issued on a calendar year basis regardless of when issued, and expire on 31 December of the year issued or renewed.
All original license fees shall be prorated in one-fourth of the annual fee charged for each quarter or portion of a quarter remaining in the term from the date of issuance.
(a) A licensee may renew his license at the expiration thereof by payment of license fee and by filing with the renewal application an affidavit, subject to the penalties of perjury, that he has continued to comply with all of the prerequisites and qualifications provided by law and rules and regulations which were certified by the proper departments of the government in the application for his original license. The renewing licensee may not be required to obtain the approval of the government or any department or agency thereof regarding the application of the zoning law of the Territory of American Samoa to the licensee’s business premises; provided, that the licensed business is located upon the identical premises upon which it was located on the date of the issuance of the previous license.
(b) A licensee who fails to renew his license on or before 31 December of each year shall be assessed a penalty of $2 per day for which he is delinquent, which penalty shall become part of the renewal fee. Any licensee who fails to renew his license on or before 30 January shall be required to discontinue his business until he renews the license or be subject to an injunction issued by the High Court of American Samoa and to prosecution under 27.0219. Failure to renew while continuing the operation of a business constitutes a refusal of and failure to obtain a license under the provisions of this chapter.
Every license issued under this chapter is personal and shall be issued to the person or persons making the application therefor, and may not in any circumstances be transferred to any other person except upon the forfeiture of a tenancy or upon a foreclosure of a mortgage where the original contract provides that the license is a security for the obligation, in which event the Governor shall be promptly notified of any forfeiture. Any license conditioned upon the fulfillment of any qualifications or prerequisites pertaining to the premises wherein the licensee conducts his business, trade, or profession may not be transferred to another location without written application to and written approval by the Governor.
When one person operates or conducts businesses in 2 or more locations in American Samoa, the person is required to obtain a license for each location.
If any question of the classification of any business, conduct or activity arises pertaining to the type of class of license required under this chapter, the classification shall be made by the Commission upon review of all the facts presented to it and the classification shall be final.
Any person who operates any business which consists of a combination of 2 or more of the classes provided in this chapter shall be required to take out a separate license for each classification.
The provision of this chapter and the license requirements under this chapter do not apply to the following activities:
(1) any business or trade engaged in or conducted by the government or the Government of the United States or for the sole or direct benefit of or under the direct supervision of the government;
(2) the selling or marketing by an American Samoan agricultural producer of his own farm produce in its natural state.
No license may be issued unless the applicant has paid all fees and debts, except taxes, he may owe the government. The fees or debts must be clearly related to the operation of the business. This limitation may not be used for the purpose of collecting fees or debts owed to the government for reasons other than operation of the business for which the license is to be issued.
Any license issued to a person which is based on information subsequently found by the Governor or Commission to be false, is subject to revocation after a due notice and hearing in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, 4.1001 et seq. The revocation is in addition to any other penalties.
(a) No person may engage in business in American Samoa without a license issued under this chapter unless specifically exempted under 27.0216.
(b) Any person who is required by this chapter to obtain a license or licenses and endorsements applicable thereto and refuses or fails to obtain the license or licenses and endorsements shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be sentenced accordingly.
The Governor may not approve an application for a business license to maintain and operate a hotel unless it substantially meets the standards of the hotel at Goat Island Point (currently owned by the American Samoan Development Corporation) regarding:
(1) sanitary conditions;
(2) room space for each guest;
(3) architectural beauty;
(4) public room space for guests, taking into consideration the number of guestrooms in the hotel;
(5) interior decorations, including decoration in guestrooms;
(6) equipment for the preservation of food;
(7) equipment for the preparation of food;
(8) area surrounding the hotel;
(9) window space for guestrooms and public rooms;
(10) electric lighting;
(11) building materials.
The following annual business license fees are established:
(1) alcoholic beverage establishments:
(A) beer tavern $50 (B) alcoholic beverage license 75 (2) retail store,
per business location 25 (3) wholesale store,
per business location 25 (4) billiard and pool hall,
per table 25 (5) public dance hall 50 (6) movie theater,
per theater 50 (7) auctioneer,
per auction sale 6.50 (8) beer importer 25 (9) beer vendor 25 (10) alcoholic beverage importer 1,000 (11) alcoholic beverage vendor 1,000 (12) garage and/or repair shop 25
(13) service station 25 (14) all other business, profession, agencies or activities 25
When a business is first started, the fee must be prorated according to the length of time during which the business will have been in operation at the end of the calendar year, but not for a shorter period than 3 months. A discontinued business is not eligible for a refund.
The following license fees are established:
(1) fund raising, per occasion, local, $5;
(2) visiting of foreign entertainment groups, performing in public or in private, $100.
The administration and enforcement of 20.0232, 22.0208, 22.1002, 24.0701, 27.0240 and 27.0242 shall be the responsibility of the Treasurer of American Samoa. The Treasurer may delegate his responsibility under this section.