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  • The Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) will be embarking on a two-month amnesty to facilitate the filing of outstanding annual returns; removal of companies and closure of business names from its register.
  • The amnesty will last from May 4 to June 30, 2015.
  • CEO of the COJ, Judith Ramlogan, explained that the amnesty will allow companies limited by shares (company formed to make a profit) to file each outstanding annual return at a cost of $3,000, down from $5,000 or 60 per cent of the regular cost.

The Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) will be embarking on a two-month amnesty to facilitate the filing of outstanding annual returns; removal of companies and closure of business names from its register.

The amnesty will last from May 4 to June 30, 2015.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on April 23, Chief Executive Officer of the COJ, Judith Ramlogan, explained that the amnesty will allow companies limited by shares (company formed to make a profit) to file each outstanding annual return 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 companies, 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, adding 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 allow you to request removal or closure and pay a fee of $2,000 with no late or renewal fees charged.”

Highlighting the challenges which led to the decision for the amnesty, Mrs. Ramlogan outlined that as at December 2014, there were 86,994 companies on the Companies Register with 51,755 or 59.5 per cent of that number being delinquent.

“More than half of the companies on the Register have failed to file one or more documents with the Registrar of Companies,” she highlighted.

The CEO noted too, that up to December 2014, 125,846 Business Names had been registered by the Companies Office and of that number, 80,424 had expired, but had never been renewed or closed.

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.