JIS News

Commerce, Science and Technology, Minister Phillip Paulwell, has announced a 44-day amnesty for companies that have not filed annual returns and other documents with the Office of the Registrar of Companies (ORC).
Making the announcement at a press briefing at the PCJ building in Kingston this morning (Nov.18), Minister Paulwell said the amnesty, which began today and ends December 31, 2004, formed part of the transition towards implementation of the New Companies Act in January 2005.
During the amnesty period, fees to file annual returns will be reduced from $3,000 to $2,000. For non-profit companies the fees will be reduced from $3,000 to $1,000, while the fee to file an income and expenditure statement will be reduced from $1,200 to $500. The late fee for filing documents will be waived by the ORC.
Minister Paulwell said the reprieve was recommended by the ORC to allow companies, which have fallen behind in their filings, “an opportunity to catch up with their statutory obligations and start January 2005 with a clean slate.”
According to Minister Paulwell, the amnesty is a win-win proposition as while companies would benefit from a financial incentive to bring their filings up- to-date, the ORC would also be given an opportunity to cleanse its register while preparing to administer the new Companies Act.
There are 69,589 companies on the register. Of that number, approximately 10,000 have been removed, while more over 40,000 companies have not filed any documents within the last five years. Minister Paulwell noted that it was “likely that some of these companies are no longer trading,” while those remaining were delinquent in observing their statutory obligations.
Meanwhile, companies that have made payment plans with the ORC to file outstanding documents over a period of time, or those that have been sued for failing to file documents, may also take advantage of the amnesty being offered by the ORC.
In addition, companies that wish to be removed from the register may have this done at a reduced fee. They must however request removal on or before December 31.
During the amnesty, companies, which request removal, will fall into one of two categories. Category one comprises those companies that have never traded or carried on business, owned assets or incurred liabilities, while category two comprises those companies that have traded or carried out business, owned assets and or incurred liabilities.
Minister Paulwell outlined that for both categories, the directors or officers of each company must request removal of the company in writing and must submit an auditors certificate stating that the company had no assets or liabilities and was no longer trading or carrying on business. The fee for removal for both categories is $1,500 in addition to the cost to publish the relevant removal notice in a daily newspaper.
In the meantime, companies that have not begun trading will not be required to file annual returns.

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