JIS News

Since the start of the year, 4,000 small and medium sized businesses have been registered with the Companies Office of Jamaica, continuing the steady trend of the number of businesses registered each year.
With close to 5,000 businesses registered last year, the number of businesses has grown to 22,618 since 2002.
“For the past five years, we are finding that more persons are setting up sole traders, which are businesses operated by one person rather than partnerships,” Business Registration Manager at the COJ, Camille Neil, revealed in an interview with JIS News.
Wholesales, beauty salons, barber shops and investment clubs, are four prevalent areas in which businesses are being formed.
Statistics indicate that during the period 2006/2007, 4,956 businesses were registered. For the 2005/2006 period some 4,855 business were formed, a marked increase over the previous period in 2004/2005 when 3,874 businesses were formed, while for the year 2003/2004, 4,687 businesses were formed up from 4,246 in the 2002/2003 period.
Pointing out the procedures involved in establishing a business, Ms. Neil noted that three types of entities may be registered under the Registration of Business Names Act – sole trader, partnership and a business which is operated by a company.
To register as a sole trader, Ms. Neil explained, applicants are required to produce their tax registration number (TRN), pay a fee of $2,000 and complete a BN1 form, which asks for information regarding the name of the owner of the business, the name that the business will be operated under, the location and any other branch that will be opened.
The partnership, she said, is operated by two or more persons, who would be required to complete a BN2 form, which asks for the same information and fee as the sole trader.
“Where the company is operating a business in another name, they would need to complete a BN3 form, which also requires the same information as the other two entities in addition to details on the company that is operating the business, the location of the company’s registered office and signed by a director, secretary or other official of the company,” she pointed out. The company is also required to pay a registration fee of $2,500.
Ms. Neil said that “it takes approximately two working days to get the certificate of registration,” however “if you want it quicker than two days, you can pay for expedited service and it can be done within 24 hours.”
She pointed out that the new Business Registration Act has aided in making the formation process easier, since individuals now only have to provide the COJ with their TRN and proof of address instead of photographs, which had to be certified by a Justice of the Peace or an Attorney as was previously required.
Ms. Neil noted that the business registration process has also become much easier and simpler and said that “we find that it is a wide cross section of persons that are setting up businesses…it is not limited to one particular class or parish…it is all across Jamaica.”
The amended Registration of Business Names Act became effective on September 3, to provide more protection for consumers and also for the proprietors of registered businesses.
For further information on the Registration of Business Names Act, contact the COJ at 908-4417/4427-9 or visit their website at www.orcjamaica.com.

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