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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) has extended its amnesty for businesses to file outstanding annual returns, to July 31.
  • The amnesty period was originally slated for two months from May 4 to June 30.
  • Chief Executive Officer of the COJ, Judith Ramlogan, said the extension is to allow for more businesses to take advantage of the offerings.

The Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) has extended its amnesty for businesses to file outstanding annual returns, to July 31.

The amnesty period was originally slated for two months from May 4 to June 30.

Speaking with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer of the COJ, Judith Ramlogan, said the extension is to allow for more businesses to take advantage of the offerings, which include removal of companies from the COJ register and closure of business names, at significantly reduced rates and fee waivers.

She noted that several companies have already benefited from the services. “We have had approximately 4,500 annual returns filed…we have had 500 applications to remove companies and about 400 applications to close business names… so persons are coming in but we thought it necessary to extend the amnesty by a month to ensure that more persons come,” she informed.

Highlighting the significant savings that the amnesty affords, Mrs. Ramlogan informed that companies limited by shares (company formed to make a profit) are able to file outstanding annual returns at a cost of $3,000, down from $5,000, or 60 per cent of the regular cost.

“There is a penalty of $100 charged for each day that the annual return is outstanding up to a maximum of $10,000…the amnesty will allow for this penalty charge to be waived, so companies will not have to pay the penalty,” Mrs. Ramlogan pointed out.

Companies limited by guarantee, or non-profit entities, will file annual returns at a cost of $1,000 each or 50 per cent of the regular cost.

For the amnesty period, companies may be removed from the register for a flat fee of $10,000 without having to file all outstanding documents or provide an audit certificate. There will be no late fees, penalties, removal or advertising fee charged as would have been the case prior to the amnesty.

“The amnesty offers persons, who own business names that have been registered but never renewed, to close those business names for a flat fee of $2,000,” the CEO pointed out.

She explained that “usually, if you have a business name that has never been renewed and you want to close that business name, you would have to pay all outstanding renewal fees, but this amnesty allows you to request removal or closure and pay a fee of $2,000 with no late or renewal fees charged.”

She pointed out that in addition to the significant reduction in cost during the amnesty period, companies and businesses will get the opportunity to become compliant.

“The amnesty will benefit Jamaica, in general, as there will be a more accurate and current companies register and for the businesses, if you are compliant, there are benefits such as gaining easier access to financing, as banks do not deal with companies that are not compliant,” she added.

She noted that formalising a business allows persons to prove ownership as there is a designated place to go to confirm ownership of such a business.

“In order to get loans from the banks, financial institutions or the Government, you must be registered with the COJ…you are on our database that is on our website so anybody anywhere in the world would be able to confirm that this business is owned by you,” Mrs. Ramlogan pointed out.

The CEO urged persons who have not yet utilised the amnesty period to do so, as it will not be extended after July.