JIS News

By the end of March, the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) will be taking legal action against entities that refuse to comply with the registration requirement under the Registration of Business Names Act.

“We will be taking to court all these businesses that have not been registered or have not renewed certification and have been served three notices,” said Compliance Manager/Attorney-at-Law at the COJ, Heather Mae Sutherland.

She told JIS News that the application in the courts will allow for these businesses to be closed.

According to Miss Sutherland, entities are formalised or become legal to conduct business when they are registered with the COJ or when they renew certification, which expires after three years.

The Business Names Registration, she stressed, must be renewed after this time period or “failure to do so can lead to removal from the register or closure of business."

“We send out a first notice to indicate that you have not reregistered and we give you a period to comply then we send a second notice and if we still do not hear from you, we send you a final notice,” she explained.

The notices are sent by registered post or delivered by field officers to both the place of business and to the proprietor’s address.

She noted further that “where the Registrar has reasonable cause to believe that any business is not carrying on business, the business may be removed from the register if no answer is received to the Registrar’s notice within a month from the date of that notice."

Miss Sutherland warned that businesses that continue to operate after being ordered to close may face criminal liability. Penalties may include a fine of a maximum $15,000 or up to three months imprisonment for non-registration of business.

She appealed to business owners to become informed and adhere to the conditions under the Registration of Business Names Act as certification is proof of ownership; proof of legal operation and inspires consumer confidence.

Other benefits of registration include the opportunity to access loans and grants or obtain government and other contracts; the ability to advertise the business’ products and services, open bank accounts and encash cheques.

Also, with registration, the business goes on to the COJ’s website which allows for anyone in the world to access basic information about the business.

For further information on the Registration of Business Names Act and the registration or renewal process, contact the COJ at 908-4419-24 or visit the website at



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