How to Start a Business in Trinidad & Tobago

The Caribbean economy of Trinidad & Tobago is highly diversified and industrialized among nations in the region, making it a hot destination for starting sole proprietorship businesses or partnership businesses or limited liability companies. That said, there are many bureaucratic and legal formalities an entrepreneur must face to start a new business in T&T. Check the government website to verify current costs and procedures.

Fill out the Name Approval/Name Reservation form (Form 25) available at the Companies Registry and submit it. Download the form free of charge from the website of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago or from the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

Propose a minimum of three names for your company. You’ll need a driver’s license or passport to search the business names public record at the Companies Registry to find out if your company name is already in use. Check the government site for search costs.

Submit to the Registry the Commercial Registry Form 25 to reserve your business’s name. Collect the stamped form after 4 days. The registration process must be completed within the next 3 months, or the approved name will expire.

Complete and submit the “Registration of a Business Name” form to the Companies Registry along with the applicable fees, if you are applying for a sole proprietership.

If you are a Limited Liability Company (LLC), download and fill out the “Articles of Incorporation” form from the Ministry of Legal Affairs website and submit it to the Companies Registry along with the applicable fees.

File a statutory declaration form (Form 31) before the Commissioner of Affidavits. Check the government site for filing costs.

Contact the Board of Inland Revenue, fill out Form 1 and pay the stamp duty on the “Articles of Incorporation” and get it embossed.

Submit in person the duplicate copies of the documents Form 25, Form 1 and Form 31 along with Form 4 (Notice of address of registered office), Form 8 (Notice of directors) and Form 27 (Notice of secretary) to the Commercial Registry along with the applicable fee to obtain the certificate of incorporation and legally bring the company into legal existence. This process will take four days.

All these forms are available at the Government Printery.

Apply for a Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) File Number to pay taxes and file returns. This applies to sole traders, partnerships and LLCs.

For hiring employees, register with the National Insurance Board to get a Certificate of Registration.

Create an official company seal when registering with the Company Registry.

Sole traders should use Form P10, partnerships, Form P11 and LLCS, Form P11 to apply for a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Number, which will be used to remit taxes withheld from the earnings of the employees. Find out the supporting documents to be attached for different types of businesses.

Register for VAT if your company sells or expects to sell goods and services over and above TT$200,000 in value a year (within 12 months from the VAT registration date). A company can operate without VAT registration till the time it reaches the TT$200,000 limit.

Sole proprietors should fill out VAT Form No. 1, partnerships and LLCs VAT Form 1 and Form 2.

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago charges a 15 percent value-added tax (VAT) to goods and services to be paid to the Inland Revenue Division of the Ministry of Finance.

Tips

  • Save costs and download the relevant forms from the Ministry of Legal Affairs website or from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago website.

References

Resources