It is no secret that many Jamaicans are self-employed and operating as unregistered businesses. And truthfully speaking, it may be difficult for some to do their due diligence in becoming an officially registered and tax-paying business when the process seems so complicated and costly. With that in mind, we have decided to lay out, in the simplest form possibly, how to go about becoming a legal, registered, tax-paying self-employed person in Jamaica.
The first step, of course, is to register your business through the Office of the Registrar of Companies. This usually takes two visits, unless there is an error or changes to be made. The minimal cost is $2500 to register a sole trader. Costs will change depending on the type of business or company you register as well as for errors and changes to the filed documents.
Update Your TRN
When operating a sole trader or partnership, instead of getting a new business TRN (Tax Registration Number), your personal TRN is updated. Generally, a 1 is added to your current number to indicate you are a sole trader with one branch. This should be done at the Tax Administration Office.
Submit Your Annual Returns
This is done through the filing of several forms:
Pay Your Taxes Quarterly
Taxes should be paid according to the quarterly estimates submitted on the last ITO7 form on March 15, June 15, September 15 and December 15 of each year. After filing the next ITO1 form, if your actual income is less or more than the projected estimates, then there will a rebate or additional payment accordingly.
Suffer The Consequences If You Don't
If it is found that you are operating business without paying taxes, a lot can happen, including jail time. Generally, an estimated assessment of what is owed in taxes will be done and a certain amount of time given to pay the amount owed. If this is not done as required, the matter will be taken to Court for further handling according to the laws governing taxation in Jamaica, the Revenue Administration Act and the Tax Collection Act.
Resources for More Information
Find out more about registering your business in Jamaica at the Office of the Registrar of Companies website www.orcjamaica.com
Find out more about paying your taxes at the Tax Administration Jamaica website http://www.jrs.gov.jm/
Pay your taxes online at the Tax Administration Jamaica Online Portal www.jamaicatax-online.gov.jm
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