Charitable groups are being encouraged to take advantage of the special three-month amnesty now being offered by the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ).
"We are asking charitable organisations to take advantage of this amnesty," said Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, at a press briefing held September 8 at the COJ's head office in New Kingston to launch the programme.
"It's just our expression of support, recognising the difficulties that these organisations have and giving them as much support as possible by enabling this period of time to experience a reduction in costs," he stated.
The amnesty, which will be offered for the period September 1 to November 30, applies to Companies Limited by Guarantee such as churches, charities, service clubs, non-profit organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and professional associations.
It will allow these organisations to file outstanding documents with the COJ at reduced fees of between 50 and 75 per cent.
Minister Samuda lamented that too many companies are delinquent in filing their documents and that not enough respond to these amnesty periods despite the fact that the reductions provide a fair amount of cost savings.
He informed that as at April 2009, a total of 3,395 charitable organisations were registered with the COJ "and the delinquency rate (in filing annual returns) is in the vicinity of 70-odd per cent, and what we are seeking to do, is to give this amnesty in the expectation that these organisations will take advantage of this particular facility that we are extending."
He pointed out that persons will enjoy savings of $2,500 if annual returns are filed during the stipulated period, as the current fee of $4,000 has been reduced to $1,500. The filing of income and expenditure statements, which is another important requirement, has been reduced from $2,000 to $1,000.
Additionally, the fee for Change of Directors will be $1,000 down from $2,000, so too the cost for the Change of Address. The charge for the Appointment of Secretary has also been reduced from $2,000 to $1,500; Statutory Declaration is $500, down from $2,000; while Late Submissions, which usually attracts a fee of $1,000, will be free of cost for the amnesty period.
Amnesty transactions will be conducted Mondays to Thursdays between 8:30 a.m. and 12 noon at the COJ head office at 1 Grenada Way in New Kingston. A drop-off box is available for deposits outside of these hours. Special arrangements have been put in place such as a designated waiting area for customers with amnesty transactions.
The COJ, an executive agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, has responsibility to maintain accurate and up-to-date records on commercial entities. It also registers local and overseas companies, industrial and provident societies and individuals carrying on business in Jamaica.
It actively encourages voluntary compliance of companies and businesses with the Companies Act of 2004, the Registration of Business Names Act of 1934 and the Industrial and Provident Societies Act of 1903.
For further details on the amnesty for charities, call the COJ at 908-4419-24 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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