If you've made a conscious effort to launch your first business enterprise (or even a new one), congratulations and welcome! You’ve completed the comparatively easy part, and now, comes the more technical, complex part. Don’t feel intimidated though, you’re among friends, and true friends always support and encourage each other to be their best.
It can be reasonably stated that a name alone does not establish a business. It seems that one of the major pitfalls of Caribbean businesses, is that inherent delay, whether deliberate or otherwise, in formally registering their business enterprise with the government entity charged with that responsibility, such as The Registrar of Companies, under the auspices of the Office of the Attorney-General in Trinidad and Tobago. Yet, getting formally registered as a bonafide entity is so important!
Firstly, it certifies your business name (once approved) as the only name of that particular composition of words, or spelling of words, that no-one else in your country can subsequently lay claim to. However, if you fail to register your business, more so in time, and someone else takes that vital step, guess what? You’re no longer legally permitted to use that name at all- even if you’ve been using that name for years, or, have already printed your cards and created a social media profile for same.
Secondly, it gives you an opportunity to legitimately tender bids for government and quasi-government contracts (local and foreign), if only because governments and their respective agencies value credibility and transparency, especially in an Information-cum-Digital Age of identity theft, ghost companies, fraud, money-laundering, human trafficking and sponsored terrorism, whereby unscrupulous people can use your innocent business name and operations for their nefarious activities. Getting registered literally certifies your business (profit or non-profit) as genuine. Arguably, the bureaucratic process can sometimes be long, uncertain and frustrating, but in the long-term, your personal and professional reputation are worth it.
Thirdly, registering your business entity enables you to give the government its due, while also giving you a fair chance to claim any permissible deductions. Tax is a legal obligation for most of the working or employed population that many, if not most of us begrudgingly pay. Yet, paying taxes (and paying them on time) is how revenue is generated by the government to pave roads, build better schools and hospitals, and even create a digitalized public service.
In essence, the less tax collected (especially when due and owing), adversely affects all of us- whether man, woman or child. Yet, all is not lost for you as the taxpaying business entity. For registered for-profit businesses, your payable tax might be significantly smaller than you realized after deductions are made. Even where you over-pay, you would likely be entitled to a tax refund. For registered not-for-profit businesses, any donations or contributions received in pursuit of your stated business activities, would not be subject to taxation.
Business registration is vital to sustain your business entity’s life. Let your business live!
Keywords: LinkedIn Caribbean, registration, legal, taxation, transparency