Doing Business in Jamaica

Doing Business in Jamaica

Business Registration

Before going into business in Jamaica, it is important to determine the legal structure best suited to your needs. The two basic options to choose from are:

  • A Company - a commercial enterprise registered or incorporated under the Companies Act
  • A Business - a sole trader or partnership registered under the Business Names Act.

Companies operating in Jamaica are required to register the entity with the Office of the Companies Registrar, which will then produce the company's official documents, such as the Certificate of Incorporation.

Tax Registration

Tax Registration Number (TRN)
All business entities are required to possess a Tax Registration Number (TRN), which is the means by which the company's tax transactions are recorded and monitored.  The TRN is obtained from the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) office.

National Insurance Scheme (NIS)
Companies are required to register under the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), which is a compulsory contributory-funded social security scheme. 

General Consumption Tax (GCT)
Commercial entities engaged in a taxable activity (generally the production of goods or services) in Jamaica are required to apply for registration under the General Commercial Tax (GCT) Act.

Tax Compliance Certificate
Companies may be required to possess a Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC) as proof that payments of tax liabilities and wage-related statutory deductions are up-to-date.  A TCC is required for entities seeking:

  • Customs Brokers Licence
  • Quarrying Licence
  • Betting Gaming and Lotteries Licence
  • Citizenship or Work Permit for workers
  • Security firm registration
  • Contracts from the Government
  • Import entry to clear goods through Customs

 The TCC is obtained from the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) office.

Licences & Permits

In order to carry out development activities in Jamaica, a combination of all or any of the following permissions may be required:

Environmental

  • Required under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act
  • Applications submitted to National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA)
  • Approving entity - Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA)

Planning

  • Required under Town & Country Planning Act 
  • Applications submitted to the Local Planning Authority in the respective parish councils and the Kingston & St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC)
  • Approving entities - Town and Country Planning Authority and Local Planning Authorities

Subdivision

  • Required under the Local Improvements Act 
  • Applications submitted to the Local Authority
  • Approving entities - Local authorities (Parish Councils & KSAC); Recommendation from NEPA

Building

  • These are handled by the respective local authority in each parish under the relevant Building Acts.

JAMPRO guides investors through the development approvals process, and works closely with the relevant government ministries and agencies involved to ensure seamless and efficient service delivery.

Incentives

The Government of Jamaica has embarked on a comprehensive tax reform process that has resulted in a simplified and more streamlined system of granting fiscal incentives starting in 2014.  One significant and new feature of this reform is the establishment an attractive suite of legislation, known collectively as the Omnibus Incentives.  This new regime is designed to create a transparent and automatic fiscal incentive framework, where eligibility is not based on sector alignment but on rather on productive activity. Developed on a more streamlined administrative system, the Omnibus Incentives legislation creates a framework through which companies operating in Jamaica benefit from performance-based fiscal primarily designed to reduce the cost of importation and the level of corporate income tax.

Altogether, Jamaica now boasts a modern and responsive legislative and administrative fiscal incentive system that has created a business environment that is built on greater efficiencies, effectiveness and productivity.  Click here for further information on incentives.

Applicable Taxes

The Government of Jamaica is in the process of refining and streamlining its tax system, and it is anticipated that the final revision will be completed by the end of 2013. In the absence of an incentive package, the following taxes may be levied:

Border Taxes

Internal Taxes

Import Duty

Company Income Tax

Common External Tariff (CET)

Personal Income Tax

General Consumption Tax (GCT)

General Consumption Tax (GCT)

Customs Administration Fee (CAF)

Statutory Deductions –

  • HEART Trust/NTA
  • Education Tax
  • National Housing Trust
  • National Insurance Scheme

Stamp Duty

Environmental Levy

 

International Tax Agreements 

Jamaica does not impose taxes on capital, and is a signatory to 12 Double Taxation Treaties. Jamaica has also signed 27 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with international partners.

Jamaica's DTT

PartnersAgreement Type

Canada

Income & Capital

China

Income & Capital

Denmark

Income & Capital

Germany

Income & Capital

Israel

Income & Capital

Norway

Income & Capital

Spain

Income

Sweden

Income & Capital

Switzerland

Income & Capital

United Kingdom

Income & Capital

United States

Income & Capital

CARICOM States

Income & Capital

Employment & Labour

Jamaica is a member of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which governs international issues related to labour and worker rights. There are several local laws that address employer-employee relations and ensure harmony in the labour market.

Minimum Wage
Minimum wage is currently set at J$5,600.00 per 40 hour week. This figure is subject to annual review by the Government of Jamaica.

Maternity Leave
Generally, female staff members are entitled to two months paid maternity leave.

Work Permits
Expatriates are required to secure a work permit from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) in order to engage in any gainful business venture or employment. JAMPRO works closely with MLSS to facilitate the expeditious processing of work permit applications for foreign investors.

Holiday with Pay Act (1973)
Staff members are entitled to sick leave and vacation leave after working continuously for a period of 110 days, but less than 220 days, to earn leave at a rate of one (1) day for every 22 days worked.  After working 220 days in a year of employment, the worker is entitled to two (2) normal weeks of vacation (10 working days).  Sundays, Good Friday and other public holidays cannot be counted towards vacation leave.

Intellectual Property

The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), an agency of the Government, is responsible for administering Intellectual Property (IP) systems in Jamaica, in the areas of Trade Marks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications, Copyright and Related Rights, Patent, New Plant Varieties and Layout-Designs (Topographies).

JIPO is engaged in several activities that are designed to enhance the development and protection of intellectual property rights in Jamaica. The Office makes recommendations to the Government on technical aspects of IPRs and cross-sector issues relating to IP such as International Trade, E-Commerce, Bio-diversity, Science & Technology and Environmental Management. It also provides representation on IP at local, regional and international levels for and on behalf of the Government.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT

BUSINESS INFORMATION SERVICES MANAGER

Delaine Morgan
Email : dmorgan@jamprocorp.com | Tel : 876-978-7755 ext 2004
Mobile : 876-564-8805