The Full Story
The Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) is reporting that 2,837 entities took advantage of its COVID-19 Compliance Relief Initiative, during the initial period from May 2020 to March 2022.
The support programme was launched to assist businesses hit hard by the pandemic to formally close without paying the full fees associated with filing closure notices.
Due to overwhelming request for an extension, it was relaunched on August 1, and will now run for another six months until January 31, 2023.
Under the initiative, companies wishing to close can do so without having to file their outstanding annual returns whereas under normal circumstances, they would be required to bring their companies up-to-date by filing all outstanding returns before they can formally close.
Registrar of Companies and Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the COJ, Shellie Leon, is encouraging those who have unfiled annual returns and are wishing to close to “take advantage of this final opportunity” before January 31, 2023.
Meanwhile, business owners are being urged to remain up-to-date with their annual filings to avoid becoming delinquent.
During an interview with JIS News, Ms. Leon, informed that there are changes coming to the Companies Act and the Registration of Business Names Act, making it important for persons to file and keep their records current.
She shared that “as a country, Jamaica is subject to certain international obligations and as we speak, the Companies Act is being amended whereby companies must notify the Registrar of certain information regarding their beneficial owners.
She noted that the penalty for failure to notify the COJ of changes in operations will be more stringent, and that this information will be contained in the annual returns.
“Also, you should note that not only is the COJ affected by this, but financial institutions will have to ensure that persons who operate accounts with them or come to them for loans, file their returns,” she noted.
The annual return provides information about the company’s operations and financial condition.
“If it’s a company with shares, you will see what happened to the shares, what happened with the officers of the company and if the company incurred any indebtedness over the year,” Ms. Leon pointed out.
To file annual returns, companies can access and download the forms online, but they are required to visit the COJ’s head office in Kingston or its Montego Bay location to submit the completed forms.
The COJ also has mobile units in several parishes where the documents can be submitted.
Profit-making companies are required to download and complete Form 19A, while non-profit companies must download and complete Form 19B.
“Profit-making companies will pay a fee of $5,000 for the annual return if it is filed on time. Outside of that, the fee will attract $100 for each day that the filing is late.
The cost for filing for non-profit entities is $2,000. Non-profits are subject to late filing fees if the documents are not filed on a timely basis,” Ms. Leon outlined.
Further information can be found on the COJ’s website at www.orcjamaica.com as well as on the entity’s social pages.