The First 90 Days: What You Need To Know To Start A Business In Jamaica

Author:Ms Tanya Williams
Profession:TMF Group

Jamaica is attracting high levels of global investor interest attributed to expanding investments in business process outsourcing, tourism, agri-business, mining, energy and manufacturing, plus logistics, medical tourism and the animation arts. However, there is much to know to avoid pitfalls when looking to start your business in this country.

Types of entities

The first step for an entity that would like to operate in Jamaica is to decide the legal structure which would be the best fit and the best suited to your achieving your goals in Jamaica - a Company incorporated or registered under the Companies Act; or a Business registered under the Registration of Business Names Act. Under the umbrellas of both Company and Business, there are a number of options. For overseas investors, the primary route tends to be that of a Company and the primary sub-structure under same that of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Branch having an Overseas Parent ("Overseas Company").

The statutory body in Jamaica which handles registration is the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ), commonly referred to as the Companies Registry or simply the Registry.

Registration of an LLC

COJ has endeavoured to streamline their registration processes with the creation of a 'superform', which allows companies to complete a single form, used for their entity Registration with both COJ and certain Tax Departments/Arms, simultaneously. This form is called the Business Registration Form (BRF) and it requires certain information about the operation. These include:

proposed legal structure of the operation, (Company or Business, Private or Public, etc.); operation's name (and, in some instances, justification for the name); nature of the operation (intended trade activities); Registered Address; details on the initial members of the Board of Directors (Directors and Company Secretary); while the Members of the Board of Directors do not have to be Jamaican nationals or Jamaican residents, everyone will be required to secure individual Taxpayer Registration Numbers (TRNs). the possession of a TRN by a non-resident foreign national does not mean that they will have to file personal Income Tax Returns in Jamaica. minimum and maximum number of Directors permitted by the operation's Articles; information needed for tax registration. The BRF is to be signed by all Directors, as well as the Declarant who could be one of the Directors or the Company Secretary or Senior...

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