Names of delinquent companies and directors to be published
Directors and secretaries of the more than 30,000 delinquent companies on the company register may have their names, and that of the entities they operate, published on a quarterly basis as the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) seeks to enforce compliance.
Companies that will make the list for publication are those that the COJ’s compliance officers have made multiple attempts to engage through field visits, written and verbal correspondence.
According to Heather Mae Sutherland, compliance manager at the COJ, “The agency has had a challenge in getting company directors and secretaries to become compliant in filing the necessary documents as it relates to annual returns and change documents despite the many efforts to educate and assist them in filing these documents.”
Statistics from the COJ indicate that Kingston and St Andrew account for approximately 72 per cent of the delinquency rate and Sutherland stated that, “while the agency will publish companies and the names of their officers from across the island there will be a focus on delinquent companies operating in the Corporate Area”.
Sutherland continued: “Last year, we established a help desk and we had a mobile at the Girl Guides Headquarters to facilitate filings from entities in the Corporate Area, and the turnout was not what we hoped for. Various forms of engagements were undertaken and the company officers identified said that they would come in but they didn’t.”
Under the Companies Act, all registered companies have an obligation to file annual returns and change notices concerning the operation of the entity.
The COJ as part of the initiative to enforce compliance will be targeting companies with multiple outstanding filings.
Delinquent companies incur a maximum of $10,000 each year in late fees, in addition to the $5,000 filing fee. Companies that have ceased operation are required to make an application to be removed from the register pursuant to Section 337 of the Companies Act.
The COJ’s compliance efforts include the agency’s mobile, which involves visiting communities outside the Corporate Area to facilitate filings and registration.
The agency also has a Compliance Help Desk that can be accessed via appointments.