Registration of Business Names

The obligation to register a business under the Business Names (Registration) Ordinance ("the Ordinance") is triggered in the following circumstances:

  1. Where an individual or company, with a place of business in the Islands, operates in a name other than the name of that individual or company.
  2. Where a partnership operates a business in the Islands in a name other than the names of the partners.
  3. Less intuitively, there is also an obligation on all traders to register, which is anyone engaged in the sale of goods or merchandise.
  4. Equally less intuitive is the situation where an individual or firm with a place of business in the Islands changes his name or, in the case of a firm, if a member of the firm changes his name. There is an exception for any woman who changes her name as a result of marriage.

An application for registration of a business name has to be submitted on a prescribed form along with a fee of $50.00. The information on the form includes the name or names of the principals of the business, the name the business is conducted in, the nature of the business, along with the address of the business, which is extracted by the Registrar and maintained in a Register.

An application for registration of a business name should be submitted to the office of the Registrar of Deeds in Grand Turk, which is also the office for the registration of firms and individuals under the Ordinance. If an applicant submits an application in Providenciales it should be handed to the office of the Financial Services Commission, presently located at Caribbean Place, as agent for the Registrar. A Certificate of Registration is normally granted within two business days of submission of an application. Registration is good for one year from the date on the Certificate and then it has to be renewed annually, on the anniversary of the Certificate, for a fee of $50.00.

There is a $10.00 fee to make any change to the registered particulars. Under section 18 of the Ordinance any person can inspect documents filed with the Registrar under the Ordinance, they can require a certificate of registration under the Ordinance, or they can call for a copy of any registered statement. There is currently no prescribed form for any search or certificate nor are there any prescribed fees for a search or certificate.

Under s. 10 (1) of the Ordinance failure to register a business name renders contracts entered into while that business is in default of its obligation to be registered unenforceable. There are a number of exceptions to this penalty but they are all generally in the discretion of the court. There is also a penalty of up to $500 for making false statements on the registration form.

Despite the potentially draconian penalty for failing to register, the obligations under the Ordinance were largely ignored until very recently, when Government took note in its efforts to increase revenue.

Business Name Application Form
Business Names Registration Rules
Business Names Registration Ordinance