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Registering your new business: the basics

by Companies Office of Jamaica
on 26 February, 2015
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So You Want To Go Into Business?

Each person who intends to go into business must decide on the legal structure which is best suited to his or her needs. The legal structure of a commercial enterprise defines the legal relationships within the enterprise as well as its relationship to its environment. In choosing the best structure, you should consider your personality, the purpose of the enterprise, its size, management as well as tax and statutory requirements for the several types of commercial enterprises which are available.

 There are two basic structures to choose between:

  • A Company - a commercial enterprise registered or incorporated under the Companies Act.
(A company can be either be Non Profit (Charity, Club, NGO etc) or Profit Generating)
  • A Business - a sole trader or partnership registered under the
Business Names Act.

Who Should Register a Business Name?

  • Any individual or firm buying or selling goods from an established address.
  • Any individual or firm offering services from an established address in a name other than its/their own, for example:
  • John Brown offering services in his name need not be registered.
  • John Brown operating as John’s Accounting or John Brown & Associates must register.

The following categories need not register a Business Name:

  • Persons who buy and sell livestock.
  • Persons occupying public market stalls and paying market fees.
  • Firms established for social or welfare purposes, public service,
religion, charity, education, art, science etc. whose income and
profits are used solely for that purpose.

Benefits of Registration

  • Registration offers a businesslike mantle and legal status which makes the following easier:
  • Accessing loans and grants
  • Obtaining Government and other contracts
  • Operating bank accounts in the business’ name

Establishing ownership of the business

  • Inspiring customers’ confidence

Businesses operating without registering at the Companies Office of Jamaica are operating illegally. Once registered, your business is uploaded to the COJ’s website. This allows, for example, individuals and firms to check your company documents or business name online and make sure you are a legal business in order to offer you credit or do business with you.

The Registration Process

  • A search must be conducted to ensure that the proposed name is available.

The Business Name will not be registered if:

  • It is identical or too close to the name of an existing trader, individual or firm registered under the Business Names or Companies Act 2004.
  • The words are phonetically identical.
  • It infringes on a registered trademark (e.g. Blue Mountain Coffee, Red Stripe)
  • It is undesirable, offensive, profane or contains obscene words
  • It contains words that suggest a connection to the ‘Crown or members of the Royal Family’. Use of such words must be justified in writing prior to registration. Some other words that must be justified by the submission of relevant practicing certificate include: Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, Engineer, University, Cambio, Bank, Land Survey and Real Estate.
  • Based on the proprietorship, the appropriate application form must be duly completed and properly executed.

The registration process also requires:

  • A document verifying the applicant’s place of residence. This may be provided in the form of driver’s license, utility bill or a Statutory Declaration signed by the applicant and witnessed by a Justice of the Peace (BN8).
  • TRN’s for all applicants/ proprietors must also be submitted along with a valid identification (Driver’s license, National I.D., Passport)
    The Certificate of Registration
Registration of Business Names certificates are valid for 3 years, after this period the Business Names Registration must be renewed. Applicants are required to complete the relevant documents at each renewal period.

Closure
A business may be closed and removed from the Register by a notice in writing to the Companies Office of Jamaica. The BN6 form is used for this.

Know Your Forms

  • BN 1 Registration of a Sole Trader
  • BN 2 Registration of a Partnership
  • BN 3 A corporation registering a business name to act as an agent for a foreign firm or to act as a trustee for an individual or another corporation.
  • BN 4 Registration of an individual on behalf of another individual or a corporation as an agent for a foreign firm. The BN1 & BN2 forms must also be submitted.
  • BN 5 Changes to a business
  • BN 6 Closing a Business
  • BN 7 Appealing a decision made by the Registrar under the Act
  • BN 8 Statutory declaration form to be used where a partner signs on behalf of other partners, or a director or secretary signs on behalf of a corporation.

 

For more information on registering your business contact:
Companies Office of Jamaica
Address: 
1 Grenada Way
Kingston 5
Jamaica W.I.
Customer Service: 
Telephone: (876) 908-4419-26
Website: www.orcjamaica.com