Kingston, Jamaica – In an effort to ensure that businesses meet international obligations in combatting money laundering and financing of terrorism, Acting Compliance Supervisor at the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ), Yolande Rowe-Fender, is urging Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) to be compliant after business registration. She spoke at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Virtual Biz Zone Webinar on Tuesday July 4, 2023, under the theme, Formalisation: Beyond Registration, the first session under the Compliance Series.
Though there are several benefits of business registration, non-compliance with legal obligations can have serious consequences. “You just set up a company, you know, give birth to the baby and then leave it. You have obligations to the Companies Office of Jamaica,” the Acting Compliance Supervisor said.
Companies (Amendment) Act 2023
The Companies (Amendment) Act 2023 enables Jamaica to strengthen Jamaica’s business sector by protecting the ecosystem from financial terrorism. The Act includes requirements in relation to beneficial ownership information. All companies, non-profit or profit, will be required to state the name of the beneficial owner of the company. A beneficial owner is anyone who owns 25% or more of a company.
Other compliance obligations include filing annual returns to save businesses from penalties. “You need to file your annual returns. The first annual return is due and must be filed up to a date not exceeding the anniversary of the date of incorporation. Thereafter, it is to be made up to a date on or before the anniversary of the last Annual Return filed. After a grace period of 28 days, a late fee of J$2,000 is added,” she explained.
More obligations include filing the Notice of Appointment of/Change of Directors (Form 23) which must be filed within 14 days of appointment or removal of directors; A notice of Appointment / Change of Secretary (Form 20) must be filed within 14 days of change of secretary; Notice of Address of Registered Office (Form 17) must be filed within 14 days of a change in address of registered office of company; Change to Beneficial Ownership Particular (BOR Form C) must be filed within 14 days of change in address of the registered office of the company. A late fee of J$2,000 will be applied if not filed within the prescribed time.
Under the Business Name Act, your obligations to the COJ include: renewing registration every three years on the expiration of the Business Name Certificate of Registration. Failure to comply with obligations under this Act can lead to serious penalties that can jeopardise your business.
Delinquency can lead to penalties under the law, “Non-registration is J$15,000 or 3 months in prison; non-registration of change is J$5,000 or 3 months in prison; falsifying information attracts J$5,000 penalty or/and 3 months in prison; unregistered and advertising is J$20,000 or 3 months in prison; a non-display of certificate is J$2,000 or 3 months in prison.
A part of the JBDC’s mission is to promote entrepreneurial success in the MSME sector. Initiatives like the JBDC Virtual Biz Zone Webinar, seek to raise awareness on critical areas that impact entrepreneurial success. The even is hosted twice monthly on Tuesdays at 10:00am on the Zoom platform. Visit www.jbdc.net for details on upcoming sessions and YouTube @JBDCjamaica to watch past sessions.
Both JBDC and COJ are agencies of the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Commerce (MIIC).