Registering your limited liability company with the Companies Registrar has many benefits. Once you obtain the Certificate of Registration, a bank account can be opened in respect of the company and the company can enter into contracts.
There are three steps to incorporate a limited liability company in Trinidad and Tobago namely:
- Name Search and Reservation
- Incorporation documents
These will now be discussed in turn.
- Name Search and Reservation
This form has to be submitted to Registrar of Companies along with the necessary filing fee. The desired name for the company as well as two (2) alternative names must be included in the form. These alternative names will be considered in the event that the desired company name has already been registered or reserved. Once the name is reserved, the applicant has 28 days to complete the registration process. The applicant has to sign at the bottom of the Name Search form, an incorporator (attorney at law, accountant or specialized incorporator) can sign for and on behalf of the applicant. In the event that the proposed name and the two alternatives are rejected by the Registrar, a new name search must be filed. The Registrar may reject a company name for the following reasons :
(i) names prohibited by the Companies Act;
(ii) names similar to those already registered or;
(iii) a combination of general words that lack distinction or
(iv) names that are misleading to the public.
It is wise to be specific in stating the type of services that will be offered by your company. The Registrar can request that the applicant clarify any difficulties with the proposed name by putting a query on your application. At that point, the applicant will then satisfy the Registrar’s request by writing a letter explaining why the particular name was chosen. After filing the Name Search in the appropriate form, the applicant has to return to the office of the Companies Registrar in five to seven working days to collect the response. The date for the applicant to return will be stamped on the receipt collected after the fees are paid to the cashier. If the company name is approved, the applicant can move on to the second step, that is the incorporation documents.
- Incorporation documents
The four incorporation documents must be completed in duplicate and filed by the applicant along with the necessary filing fees. Be sure to keep the name approval safely and to submit same with the incorporation documents. The incorporation documents are:
(a) Articles of Incorporation;
(b) Notice of Directors;
(c) Notice of address of Registered Office
(d) Notice of Secretary(ies)
With respect to the Articles of Incorporation , the approved name of the company must be inserted. The applicant must state whether the company will be a private or public company. The type of liability of the members must also be included whether limited or unlimited. The number of directors must be stated, by law a minimum of 2 directors are needed, a maximum of 10 directors are allowed. The name ,occupation, address and signature of the incorporator has to be included in the Articles of Incorporation. The applicant (one of the directors) also has to sign both copies of the form.
The Notice of Directors must also be completed and filed. This form provides the names, occupation and addresses of all of the directors. It is reiterated that there must be a minimum of 2 directors and a maximum of 10 directors.
The Notice of Address of Registered Office sets out the registered address of the company. All official company documents and files must be kept here. Generally, the applicant can use his residence as the registered office, however if the applicant is seeking to open a company bank account, one bank in particular will request to see the premises to ensure that it has an office conducive to operating a business.
The Notice of Secretaries is usually filed as part and parcel of the incorporating documents. The Board of Directors will usually appoint the Corporate Secretary, a director can also act as a Corporate Secretary. The Corporate Secretary will ensure that the company complies with statutory requirements as well as ensuring that the annual returns are filed on time. Caution should be exercised in selecting a Corporate Secretary since this person can sign the documents to dissolve the company.
Once these incorporation documents are prepared and signed, an officer at the Companies Registry will review it briefly and then direct the applicant to the cashier. The applicant will pay the relevant fees and the cashier will prepare a receipt and stamp the date for the Certificate to be collected. Usually five to seven working days, may be longer. If there are further queries by the Registrar, these will have to be satisfied. Once the applicant returns on the stamped date, and the Certificate is produced it can be collected.
The date stated on the Certificate of Incorporation will be deemed the date of incorporation of the company. This is relevant to the entering of contracts by the company and the opening of company accounts. The next step after the issue of the Certificate is the development of By Laws to conduct the affairs of the company. This document is not filed at the Companies Registry, particularly for companies for profit. The By Laws will be kept at the registered office of the company.
Please be guided that Annual Returns have be filed at the Companies Registry yearly. The company must also acquire a Board of Inland Revenue number, register for VAT where applicable, and other statutory taxes. The company may also have to be registered with the Financial Intelligence Unit if it is considered a Listed Business as per FIU Regulations.
The content herein is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney at law to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
About the Author:
A.Sydney is an attorney at law in Trinidad and Tobago. She specializes in AML/CFT/FIU/Tax Compliance, and provides Corporate Secretarial Services to local and international giants in various industries. Feel free to explore the website for her portfolio of companies and add her on social media:
WhatsApp only 868 484-7778