DOING BUSINESS IN JAMAICA IN 2020
Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC has assisted our Clients with starting their company in Jamaica. Our services include i) Jamaica business registration ii) assistance to license the company iii) Jamaica corporate bank account opening services iv) employee recruitment v) visa strategies and vi) office rental solutions.
Summary table of Jamaica company registration
|Summary||Tax resident LLC||Free zone LLC||R&D company||Representative office||Branch office|
|Also known as||LLC||Free zone company||R&D firm||Rep office||Branch|
|Best use of company?||All products and services||Manufacturing and export trading||Research||Marketing & research||Specific projects|
|How soon can you invoice Clients/sign sales contracts?||3 weeks||3 weeks||3 weeks||2 months||2 months|
|How soon can you hire staff?||3 weeks||3 weeks||3 weeks||2 months||2 months|
|How soon can you sign a lease agreement?||1 week||1 week||1 week||1 week||1 week|
|How long to supply corporate bank account numbers?||6 weeks||6 weeks||6 weeks||6 weeks||6 weeks|
|How long to supply company registration/tax numbers?||3 weeks||3 weeks||3 weeks||2 months||2 months|
|Corporate tax rate on annual net profits?||25%||25%||25%||Cannot trade||25%|
|Limited liability entity?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Government grants available?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Government approval required for foreign owners?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Resident director/partner/manager/ legal representative required?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Minimum paid up share capital?||US$1||US$1||US$1||None||None|
|Can bid for Government contracts?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Corporate bank account location?||National Commercial Bank||Scotiabank||First Global Bank||CIBC First Caribbean||Citibank|
|Can secure trade finance?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|VAT payable on sales to local customers?||16.5%||16.5%||16.5%||Cannot trade||16.5%|
|Average total business set up engagement costs?||US$11,585||Request a proposal||Request a proposal||US$12,060||US$12,810|
|Average total engagement period?||3 months||3 months||3 months||4 months||4 months|
Jamaica company registration summary
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Advantages and disadvantages
Advantages of Jamaica company registration
- It is possible to register a limited liability company in Jamaica with i) one director and ii) one shareholder, who can be of any nationality and be individuals or corporate bodies. The minimum paid-up capital required is only US$1 and our Clients will not need to travel to complete the engagement;
- Foreign investors can i) establish 100% foreign-owned businesses in Jamaica ii) own property and shares of other Jamaican business entities and iii) import/export goods and services without restrictions (other than those also applicable to locals);
- Once the Panama Canal expansion project is complete, Jamaica stands to benefit from a significant increase in cargo shipments to transnational locations as lots of opportunities will emerge in the maritime, air, manufacturing and logistics industries;
- Jamaica has signed double taxation avoidance treaties with twelve countries including i) Canada, ii) China iii) Israel and iv) Sweden among others. The country is also a member of Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM) and this serves as an incentive to investors as it aims at reducing taxes and encouraging investments and easy flow of goods and services between the member countries;
- For all the reasons listed above, Jamaica is ranked 71st out of 189 countries by the World Bank for its ease of doing business;
- Jamaica provides a range of fiscal and non-fiscal benefits to companies belonging to the priority sectors that are incorporated in the Jamaica Special Economic Zones (JSEZs). The incentives given include: i) exemption from duty payable on imported goods; ii) a lower corporate tax rate of 12.5%; iii) exemption from withholding taxes; and iv) exemption from asset taxes among others.
Disadvantages of Jamaica company registration
- We suggest our Clients to register a new subsidiary in Jamaica rather than a branch of their overseas company. Companies pay corporate tax rate of 33.3% while branches of foreign companies are subject to the same amount, plus an additional 33.3% tax on remittances;
- Corruption in Jamaica is still an endemic problem. The country has an inefficient legal system and property rights are not adequately enforced;
- Getting electricity for a new company in Jamaica is expensive and time consuming. Investors have to wait for 95 days for electricity to be installed;
- Jamaica ranks 136th out of 189 jurisdictions in ease of trading across borders. Exporting a single container costs US$1,580 while importing US$2,180, and entrepreneurs should expect to wait approximately 20 days for successful export/import. In comparison to other Latin American and Caribbean countries, this is a high rate and a long wait for investors;
- Jamaica has not yet achieved the status of being a globally competitive economy majorly due to its i) poor macroeconomic environment; ii) relatively small market size; iii) inadequate supply of infrastructural facilities; along with an iv) insufficient capacity to innovate;
- Jamaica is a member of the Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM). Therefore, some of the goods that are imported from countries not belonging to the CARICOM are subject to a tariff of 16.5%. As a result, entrepreneurs willing to forge trading relationships with non-CARICOM nations are likely to face challenges.
Best uses for a Jamaican company
- Jamaica is a great place to start a tourism business because:
- Jamaica is strategically located at the gateway of major air and sea routes into the Caribbean and is within easy reach of major global markets with over half a billion of the world’s population living within a four hour flight radius;
- Jamaica has the largest English-speaking workforce in the Caribbean, easing communication with customers and making more attractive the country to foreign tourists;
- Jamaica is politically stable, with little risk for foreigners compared to other Central American and Caribbean tourist destinations.
- Jamaica is a great place to start a tourism business because:
- Time to incorporate: Three weeks
- Cost to set up: US$11,585
- Minimum capital: US$1
- Physical office required: No
- Shareholders: 1
- Directors: 1
- Company secretary: Yes
- Resident director: No
- Corporate tax rate: 33%
- Corporate tax base: Worldwide
- Shelf companies: No
- Main company type: Limited company
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