31.1 C
Belize City
Sunday, July 14, 2024

YWCA elects new Board of Directors

by Charles Gladden BELIZE CITY, Wed. July 10,...

BCC and Peak Outsourcing sign MOU

by Charles Gladden BELIZE CITY, Wed. July 10,...

Belize’s National Assembly welcomes new Acting Clerk

by Kristen Ku BELIZE CITY, Tues. July 2,...

Dissatisfied with Belize Companies and Corporate Affairs Registry (BCCAR)

LettersDissatisfied with Belize Companies and Corporate Affairs Registry (BCCAR)

Monday, June 24, 2024

The Editor, Amandala

Attn: Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister; and The Director General of the Financial Services Commission (Registrar of BCCAR)

Gentlemen:

The Nightmare at BCCAR!

For years I filed my corporate documents, paid my corporate fees, and got a receipt from the lovely cashier, Ms. Miriam, at the Belmopan Company Registry. When I walked into Records, generally I was greeted with a friendly, “How may I assist?” I generally never waited more than 30 minutes to conclude my business and be given a cashier’s receipt. I did all of this as a private citizen without the aid of a registered agent.

Three years ago, Registry went “digital”. The annual filing fee went from $10 to $300, representing a 3,000 percent increase!!! For the two years of electronic annual filing (2021 and 2022), the receipts I have are those receipts generated by my bank for electronic payment to the Registry in the amounts of $10 and $300, respectively. The Registry never sent paid receipts or an electronic copy with the Registry’s filing stamp acknowledgment of the reports being filed.

All “hell” broke loose

In November 2022, it is my observation that all “hell” broke loose with the administration of the new data system initiated by the new registry, BCCAR, to which all companies were forced to migrate from the Chapter 250 Registry!!!

For the record, public announcements were made in the month of October 2022 that any companies whose filings at the Chapter 250 Registry were not current would be automatically deleted from the database upon the migration from the Chapter 250 Registry to the new BCCAR system. The new Belize Companies Act 2022 has a published effective date of 28th November 2022, and along with the Registrar, who is the Director General of the Financial Services Commission, there is a Deputy Registrar, who is in charge of operations.

As history, all companies transferred by BCCAR to their new database were required to re-register the company, at a cost, of course. The fees were to be paid in US dollars!! And the transferred company was issued a new corporate number. My company was re-registered in December 2023.

For 5 months, the company’s registered agent has gone round and round with the processing unit, and now the Deputy Registrar, regarding filing of the company’s annual return for the calendar year 2023 (filing due on or before June 30, 2024, nominally called by BCCAR the 2024 report), which is the first full reporting year under the new Companies Act.

The processing unit at BCCAR states that my company did not file the 2022 report, for which they are invoicing me for US$250 (the new filing fee under the new Act). BCCAR came into effect on 28th November 2022. The Deputy Registrar believes that BCCAR is due a report for the period 31st December 2022 retroactive to 1st January 2022 which includes a period from 1st January to 27 November wherein BCCAR had no jurisdiction.

If the company was not in compliance with the edict issued in October 2022, why was my company entered into the new electronic database if prior fees under Chapter 250 were not paid as of that date? Further, I have a paid receipt for the 2022 filing from the former Registry in the amount of $300.

The new Deputy Registrar’s position with regard to annual reporting is that the new Company Act 2022 requirements are retroactive into the former jurisdiction of the Chapter 250 Act, which is incorrect.

Article 313 of the new Companies Act 2022 (regarding transitional powers) “… lawfully done under any provision of the former Act are presumed to have been lawfully done under this Act … and continue in effect under this Act as though they had been lawfully done under this Act ….”

Article 313 of the new Company Act protects all legal actions under Chapter 250, and the new administration must operate in accordance with this mandate.

“Confusion” with re-registration process

The company’s registered agent, a competent Belize corporate attorney, has worked on this filing issue now for five (5) months with no resolution. The Deputy Registrar’s response was, “This is part of the confusion that occurs with the re-registration process.”

The “confusion” is NOT on the part of the registered agent or that of the manager of the company with 40 years accounting experience; the confusion is a lack of understanding on the part of the Deputy Registrar as to what he is required to do according to the law Article 313. The Deputy Registrar is not following the law stated in Article 313 of the new Company Act. Adding to the “confusion”, the accounting periods in the two Acts are not consistent with one another.

So, if there is a “confusion”, why is the Registrar unable to fix the problem? Or just resolve the problem according to Article 313 of the new Company Act, and instruct the processing unit to produce an invoice for the 2024 annual report post haste to allow the company to pay the US$250 to BCCAR?

If I don’t pay the unwarranted 2022 fees, then I cannot pay the 2023 fees, and the company will go into default in three days. The total cost for which BCCAR is invoicing for these two years (BCCAR fees in US dollars and registered agent fees) is BZ$1800!

This morning, the registered agent just advised to pay the two years’ fees, which he believes BCCAR is not going to recant!

Belize sovereignty compromised

Gentlemen, of what benefit is this new regime to us Belizean people? The current actions of the Commission appear to suggest that the Commission is not accountable to the Government of Belize, governing ministers and lastly, the voters. This travesty is more than my personal financial loss.

The underlying truth is that Belize’s sovereignty is being compromised by international mandates that are not in the interest of a vibrant, sustainable nation. Kindly, listen to the People.

Needing assistance, I remain respectfully yours,

M. Vargas, Manager
AMO Spirit Wheel, L.C.
San Jose Succotz Agricultural Sector
Las Golandrinas PermaFarm
Cayo District

24th June 2024

Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

International