With many businesses closing due to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Companies Office of Jamaica is urging customers to take advantage of its COVID-19 Compliance Relief Initiative to assist entities in being officially removed from the Companies and Business Names Registers.
The initiative will accommodate entities that have ceased or will cease operations up to August 31, 2020. Documents must be submitted by August 31, 2020. “It is a tough time for businesses in Jamaica and, in fact, worldwide. Therefore, this initiative will allow for entities that are no longer operating to officially close to avoid incurring fees which may accumulate and put them at a disadvantage because they are unable to meet their obligations,” noted Shellie Leon, Deputy CEO and Director of Operations.
For companies and businesses wishing to close, the COJ will facilitate that by forgoing the usual document submissions and late fees.
Companies that wish to be removed from the Register will be required to submit a letter requesting removal along with a statutory
declaration that the company has no assets or liabilities in lieu of the usual letter from an auditor or chartered accountant. This reduces the overall cost of removal to $7,500. The company will not be required to bring the company up to date for them to be removed.
For Business Names closures the fee will be $600. I in cases where a Business has multiple outstanding renewals, the COJ will only require payment for one renewal period. If there are no outstanding periods, only the closure fee will be applicable.
Given the provisions under the Companies Act and the Registration of Business Name Act, Leon is encouraging persons to make the decision carefully; “under the Companies Act, a company that is removed has 20 years in which to be restored to the Register. During that period no other company can use its name. Under the Registration of Business Name Act, the name is available for use once the Business Name has been removed from the Register. If businesses can manage to file a registration renewal they should do so and companies should do the same with their annual returns”.
With COVID-19 social distancing guidelines in effect, Leon noted that, “we will be largely dependent on our drop-box service to avoid overcrowding at our offices. we are appealing to persons not to wait until the last minute as we must observe social distancing guidelines set out by the Government of Jamaica. Persons can come prepared by downloading the requisite forms from our website at www.orcjamaica.com.”