By Debra Thompson
On or about 9th December 2022, the Companies Registry of the Registrar General’s Department of the Office of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago began experiencing technical difficulties which disrupted all Companies Registry services except for the collection of documents paid for before that date.
On 1st February 2023, the Registry launched a newly designed and created application to facilitate paperless electronic and remote transaction of business, called the Companies Registry’s Online System or ‘CROS’.
In order to do business with the Registry (including incorporating a company, registering a branch of an external company, registering a non-profit organisation or business name, downloading a company file or filing post incorporation documents), every person who wishes to use the facility must now create an electronic identity in CROS. In order to do so you must first register for a Company Registry Account or ‘CRA’.
Who should apply for a CRA?
Under the new CROS system all of the following are required to register and apply for a CRA:
- All Directors of a Company incorporated under the Companies Act, Ch 81:01;
- The Secretary of a Company incorporated under the Companies Act, Ch 81:01;
- All Directors of an External Branch Company registered under the Companies Act, Ch. 81:01;
- All Directors, Managers, Officers or Trustees of a Company created by an Act of Parliament;
- All Partners of a firm/partnership registered under the Registration of Business Names Act, Ch. 82:85,
- Any Person who wishes to Incorporate a Company or Register a Business Name, Non- Profit Organisation or External Branch Company; or
- Anyone whose name is on a record maintained by the Companies Registry or intends to use
What documents are required to create a CRA?
The application requires the online submission of certain information and supporting documents to the Companies Registry, namely:
- Birth Certificate PIN (applicable to Nationals of Trinidad and Tobago only);
- Full name and any former name;
- Nationality at Birth and Current Nationality;
- Date of Birth;
- Telephone number(s);
- Email address;
- Current Residential Address and Postal Address;
- List of Companies and Businesses with which you have an association;
- Two forms of valid Photo ID; and
- Headshot with one form of ID held next to your
Once a CRA application has been completed, the Registry will verify the identity of each individual against the documents provided and once the CRA is established, a Personal Identification Number (‘PIN’) for the account will be issued.
This PIN is expected to be used to match the electronic identity to the company(ies), business(es) and/or non-profit organisation(s) with which the holder of the PIN may be associated.
Forming an ‘association’
Not only is an individual required to register for CROS, but once registered, all directors and secretaries (and, we understand, all beneficial owners) must then establish an association with all companies with which they are associated as a director, secretary or beneficial owner. This association can be made at the time of applying for a CRA by entering a designated Company /Business identifier, or by later editing the CRA after it is established.
Appointing an agent
Upon applying for a CRA and being issued a PIN, you may appoint an agent that you authorize and appoint for the filing of specified documents on your behalf.
The application is expected to provide immediate notification of changes to company records and provide user-friendly remote access on a twenty-four hour basis. This is expected to facilitate the electronic submission of filings to the Companies Registry including the use of electronically signed documents rather than the previous requirement for duplicate “wet ink” signed documents. The digitization of the previous system is a welcome change and a move in the right direction to improve the ease of doing of business in Trinidad and Tobago. It is with great anticipation that we look forward to a successful crossing over to CROS, as for once it seems that no one should mind at all if you get ‘CROS’.