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COJ offers amnesty to delinquent companies

Published:Thursday | April 16, 2015 | 4:00 AMEdmond Campbell

The Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) is giving up $43.8 million by waiving costs and penalties owed by companies and businesses that are delinquent in filing annual returns and renewing business names.

Starting May 4, the COJ will be embarking on an amnesty for delinquent companies and businesses that will run for three months.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton on Tuesday made the announcement while making his presentation to the Sectoral Debate in Gordon House.

Hylton said the annual returns amnesty would allow companies limited by shares to file each outstanding annual return at a cost of $3,000 or 60 per cent of the regular cost. At the same time, companies limited by guarantee are being given the opportunity to file annual returns at a cost of $1,000 each or 50 per cent of the regular cost. The penalty in accordance with Section 121 of the Companies Act will be waived, which attracts a cost of $100 a day for each day the annual return is outstanding up to a maximum of $10,000.

Head of the Companies Office of Jamaica Judith Ramlogan told The Gleaner yesterday that there are 57,867 active companies that are limited by shares while another 37,670 companies limited by shares are in delinquency.

There are 1,913 companies limited by guarantee that are in a state of delinquency in terms of the filing of annual returns that would benefit from the amnesty.

The amnesty will also allow companies to request removal without having to file all outstanding documents or to provide an audit certificate, which Hylton said could be costly.

According to Hylton, the company would be required to request removal by submitting a letter signed by a majority of the directors and submit a statutory declaration sworn to by a director that the company has no assets or liabilities. This process will attract a cost of $10,000 which will include the cost to publish the removal notice in a daily newspaper.

The Companies Office of Jamaica is also offering an amnesty to the 80,424 owners of business names on record that have never been renewed. These persons now have the opportunity to remove their names for a flat fee of $2,000 and no late or renewal fees will be charged.