JIS News

With just a week to go before the close of the charities amnesty, the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) is making an urgent appeal for charitable groups to take advantage of the reduced costs for filing documents.
Charitable groups include churches, charitable organisations, service clubs, professional associations, community-based organisations and other such groups, which are registered under the Companies Act as companies limited by guarantee without a share capital.
Speaking with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer of the COJ, Judith Ramlogan, expressed disappointment in the number of groups that have filed documents, noting that only 526 of the over 2,000 Companies Limited by Guarantee (charitable groups) have filed outstanding documents.
Outstanding documents refer to Annual Returns, Income and Expenditure statements, Change of Directors, Change of Address, Appointment of Secretary and Statutory Declaration.
“We thought that more companies would take up the offer that the amnesty held out to them.it appears that those companies, who have not filed documents are either going to file within the last week or days of the amnesty or they are dormant, delinquent or just not in operation,” the Chief Executive Officer pointed out.
To avoid the last minute rush, Mrs. Ramlogan emphasised, “we are beseeching charitable groups to come in and file documents now. If you wait until the very last minute, we may not be able to accept your documents and the opportunities that the amnesty holds out to you would have been missed,” she noted, adding that after February 26, the fees will revert to the original amounts.
Highlighting the benefits that the amnesty provides, the CEO said that during the period, charitable groups would be able to file outstanding documents at reduced fees of between 50 and 75 per cent.
Charitable groups will therefore enjoy savings of $2,500 if annual returns are filed during the stipulated period, as the current fee of $4,000 has been reduced to $1,500. The filing of income and expenditure statements, which is another important requirement, has been reduced from $2,000 to $1,000.
Additionally, the fee for Change of Directors will be $1,000, down from $2,000; so too the cost for the Change of Address. The charge for the Appointment of Secretary has also been reduced from $2,000 to $1,500; Statutory Declaration is $500, down from $2,000; while Late Submissions, which usually attract a fee of $1,000, will be free of cost for the amnesty period.
In addition to the reduction in fees, the COJ has also made special arrangements for persons who will be doing amnesty transactions.
Amnesty transactions are being conducted Mondays to Thursdays between 8:30 a.m. and 12 noon at the COJ’s head office at 1 Grenada Way, in New Kingston. A drop-off box is available for deposits outside of these hours, and a designated waiting area for customers with amnesty transactions.
Noting the implications for non-compliance, Mrs. Ramlogan warned that groups, which do not file documents, could be sued or removed from the register.
She pointed out that the issue of removal has serious implications for these companies as this means that “you would have to be restored to the register, which will take a while and you would have to file documents…so it would be an inconvenience to you, so we recommend that you come now and deal with your outstanding documents and once you give us your commitment that you will pay your fees overtime, we will assist you to file your documents.”
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.

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