How to Register as a Sole Trader in Trinidad and Tobago
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Trinidad and Tobago is a country that lies in the Caribbean Sea, not far from the South American coast. It consists of two main islands and numerous smaller ones. The capital city is Port of Spain, located on the larger island, Trinidad. The Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD) is the official currency, and the language spoken is English.
Unlike most Caribbean nations and territories, which rely heavily on tourism, the Trinidadian economy is primarily industrial. Much of the nation's wealth is derived from its large reserves of oil and natural gas. The economy is ranked as high-income by the World Bank. It has the third-largest GDP per capita in the Americas, after the USA and Canada. This country is a great place for starting a business, and it attracts more investors every year. Most of them choose to start as sole traders.
Disclaimer: Be aware that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.
Sole Trader in Trinidad and Tobago
An individual operating a commercial business in their own name and at their own responsibility is considered a sole trader (proprietorship). The proprietor is liable with all of their personal assets, and the liability is not limited. There is no legal personality separate from a natural person. There is also no minimum capital required, and no articles of association are necessary.
This business form is the most suitable for small businesses. It is highly flexible to the changing environment. Since there is only one decision-maker, changes can be made fast.
If you have decided to operate your business as a sole trader, you have to register it with the authorities. The entity in charge is the Companies Registry at the Ministry of Legal Affairs. The process can be done physically or online.
Name search and reservation
Before the registration, you have to come up with a business name. It can be your name or a made-up one. Two companies can not be registered under the same or similar name, so you need to search for your business name in order to check if it's unique. To do this, you can either visit the Companies Registry or do an online search. If your name is already taken, you will have to come up with another one. If your name is available, you can fill out Form 25 and reserve it. To reserve a business name online, you have to visit TTBizLink.
1. TTBizLink is a one-stop-shop for business registration. To use its services, you need to register with TTConnect. The activation email will be sent to you.
2. Now, go to the TTBizLink website and download the TTBizLink Registration Form (A) - INDIVIDUAL, print it, and fill out all the required information.
3. Next, print and sign the last page of the TTconnect disclaimer form.
4. Copy, sign, and scan at least two valid forms of the following identification documents:
- Driver's Licence;
- National Identification Card;
- Electronic Birth Certificate;
5. Take a photo of your face (as in a selfie) with one of the National identification documents, which has a photograph of your face.
6. Scan all the documents and send them to the most convenient email address.
Your documents will be processed and you will be registered for the selected system roles within 48 hours. Now you will be able to access TTBizLink.
Once you log in at TTBizLink, the Name reservation form will become available.
After your name is approved, you may continue the registration. Form1 will be available in the menu. Fill out the required information and submit it.
There is a video made by the authorities that can help you with the registration.
The name reservation fee costs TTD 20, and the registration fee is TTD 200. Payments can be made online or at the Registry office.
After the fees are paid, you will obtain the Business Certificate. Your business is ready to run!
*At the time of writing, the application process has to be done online, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taxes in Trinidad and Tobago
If your annual income is less than TTD 1,000,000, the personal income tax rate is 25%. If your income exceeds TTD 1,000,000, the rate of tax applicable is 30%.
Individuals or businesses that sell goods or services worth TT$ 500,000.00 or more in a twelve-month period must register for VAT. The registration is done with the Ministry of Finance. The standard Value Added Tax (VAT) rate is 12.5% of all goods and services.
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