JIS News

The island’s charitable groups are taking advantage of the amnesty offered by the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) to file outstanding returns at reduced costs.
COJ’s Acting Compliance Manager, Heather Mae Sutherland, said that the amnesty has been a success with more than 500 groups benefitting so far.
“There has been significant saving for the companies and that is why we are encouraging everybody to come out and benefit from the amnesty before it closes on February 26,” she urged.
Miss Sutherland was speaking to JIS News at the final in the series of ‘COJ Meet the People’ interactive sessions held on Tuesday (February 16) at the Hibiscus Lodge in Ocho Rios for charitable groups in St. Ann and St. Mary.
The island-wide sessions served to provide information about the amnesty being offered by the COJ to such groups, including the procedures for filing outstanding documents and the reduced fees; implications for non-compliance; and the general services offered by the COJ.
Meanwhile, Representative for the St. Ann Homecoming and Heritage Foundation, Norma Walters, who attended the Ocho Rios event, told JIS News that the amnesty “is more than welcomed, not only in terms of the financial benefits but in terms of the information that we have gotten.”
“Most Jamaicans do want to be compliant so it is good when we get accurate and proper information so that people can do the right thing and we can also tell our peers what needs to be done,” she said.
Representative of Charles Jasper Grier Children’s Fund Limited, Leroy Harvey, also expressed pleasure at the opportunity afforded to charities to file outstanding returns at a reduced cost.
“We are very happy that we could access this amnesty and be a part of it since we would owe a lot more than what we are going to be paying now,” Mr. Harvey said.
The COJ amnesty was implemented in September 2009 and was scheduled to end in November 2009, but due to appeal from the charities, it was extended until February 26.
The period of reprieve allows charities, churches, service clubs, non-profit associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), to file outstanding documents at reduced fees of between 50 and 75 per cent. The documents are: Annual Returns, Income and Expenditure Statements, Change of Directors, Change of Address, Appointment of Secretary and Statutory Declaration.
Amnesty transactions are being conducted Mondays to Thursdays between 8:30 a.m. and noon at the COJ head office in Kingston.
A drop-off box is available for deposits outside of these hours and special arrangements have been put in place, such as a designated waiting area for customers with amnesty transactions.
For further details on the amnesty for charities, persons can call the COJ at 908-4419-24 or visit the agency’s website at www.orcjamaica.com.