Trinidad and Tobago is home to a rich assortment of culture with persons ranging from every creed and race. With such a broad spectrum of inhabitants, Trinidad and Tobago offers a multitude of unique business opportunities, explored or otherwise, that have contributed to its positioning as the economic hub of the Caribbean region. Bolstering its economics prowess is the growing entrepreneurial spirit which calls to those seeking financial independence and a greater sense of purpose. As a prospective entrepreneur you may wish to become a part of this growing movement but may be unsure of how to go about registering a business. Information tends to be diverse and is not always consolidated in one location hence the purpose of this article.
How does one register a business in Trinidad and Tobago?
Step One: Apply for and register the company name:
This step entails selecting a suitable company name, performing a search to ensure its availability and subsequently reserving the name. First, an account must be created on the online portal, www.ttbizlink.gov.tt where the prospective company name is cross-referenced to determine its suitability and availability. Upon approval of the company’s name, the online Registration of Business/ Incorporation of Company forms are made available and must be completed. Confirmation is then sent via email detailing the costs that must be paid.
Following this, a payment of TT $25.00 for the search and TT $560 for the forms must be paid either online or in person at the Commercial Registry Department. A Certificate of Incorporation is subsequently provided. This entire process takes approximately 4-5 days.
Step Two: Acquiring a company seal
A company seal is not considered mandatory but provides the benefit of additional protection against forgery. Also, certain documents such as deeds and share certificates are issued under a company seal. A rubber seal can be crafted for a price of TT $115.00 or a more durable metal one for TT $400.00. This process takes 2 days at minimum and can be complete concurrently with the name application process. The Office Works Ltd is usually recommended for this service.
Step Three: Apply for a Tax Payer Identification Number
All companies are legally obligated to register for a Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) number that is used when paying taxes or filing for tax returns. This can be done by visiting one of many Board of Inland Revenue divisions. If employees are to be hired by the company then a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) number is also needed and can be applied for additionally. This step takes a minimum of one day and is free of charge.
Step Four: Apply as an employer and enroll employees with the National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago
If your company requires one or more employees then, a national insurance number must be granted. This number is unique and remains with the company until its cessation. A national insurance number serves the purpose of ensuring that all taxes or contributions made are accurately recorded against the company’s name. An application can be made online through www.ttbizlink.gov.tt and once accurate, the number is granted after one day.
Following this, the company must register any new hires within 14 days from the date of hire. This can be done concurrently with the application for the employer’s national insurance number, but takes a minimum of four days to a month before full approval.
Step Five: Register for Value Added Tax (VAT)
The company will be required to register for VAT if it actually or projects that it will sell goods or services worth $200000.00 or more in a twelve month period. Additionally, if sales or revenue are projected to be $200000.00 or more in a twelve month period then the company is legally required to register for VAT. A VAT registration form, which is available online, must be completed and submitted to the Inland Revenue Division, Registration Unit. This process takes approximately seven days and can be completed simultaneously with the insurance registration process.
The old adage ‘knowledge is power’ stands true and you now have the power to register a business and join the multitude of entrepreneurs contributing to the economic success of Trinidad and Tobago.