Charities Made Use Of COJ Amnesty In 2009/2010

During 2009/2010, 708 charitable organizations took advantage of a six-month amnesty offered by the Companies Office of Jamaica’s (COJ) to file outstanding documents.

As contained in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce’s performance report for its agencies up to May 2010, Cabinet gave approval for the COJ to partially waive fees for the filing of certain documents by non-profit companies for a six-month period.

The amnesty applied to companies limited by guarantee, such as churches, charities, service clubs, non-profit organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and professional associations. It allowed them to file outstanding documents with the COJ at fees reduced by between 50 and 75 per cent.

Outstanding documents include Annual Returns, Income and Expenditure Statements, Change of Directors, Change of Address, Appointment of Secretary and Statutory Declarations.

The Amnesty commenced on September 1, 2009 and ended February 26, 2010. During the period, the COJ retained the services of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) to assist with the publicity for the Amnesty.

The number of annual returns filed amounted to 2,622. Revenues earned amounted to $7.286 million, while revenues foregone totalled $15.17 million.

The COJ is an executive agency responsible for the administration of the Companies Act, the Registration of Business Names Act and the Industrial and Provident Societies Act. It is responsible for the registration and regulation of companies, business names and industrial and provident societies. The COJ is also the official repository of information pertaining to those entities.