Starting a Business in

Trinidad and Tobago

Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Trinidad and Tobago. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016.

Compare Trinidad and Tobago to 189 other economies.

  • No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs

    Request the company name

    Agency: Companies Registry

    Company name search is done through the Single Electronic Window at www.ttbizlink.gov.tt.

    Less than one day (online procedure) TTD 25

    Register with the Companies Registry

    Agency: Companies Registry

    The completed documents are filed in person with the Commercial Registry, along with payment of the required fee. The company is legally registered and acquires its own legal personality on the day on the date shown on its Certificate of Incorporation. However, it takes about 4 business days to obtain the certificate of incorporation, which provides required evidence for the company to undertake other procedures (for example, registering with tax authorities).

    The following documents must be filed in duplicate: (a) Form 1 (now also includes form 31), the embossed articles of incorporation; (b) Form 6, Notice of address of registered office; (c) Form 8, Notice of directors; and (d) Form 27, Notice of secretary. All forms are available at the Government Printer.

    As of April 2013, online registration is available at www.ttbizlink.gov.tt.

    Once the incorporation is approved, the original signed forms must be submitted in person to the Registry, where they are stamped and processed. Then, the Certificate of Incorporation along with accompanying documents can be received the same day. If the subscription account was not chosen to pay for the incorporation, then payment for the incorporation has to be paid at the cashier.   

    3 days TTD 560 (TTD 400 for Articles of Incorporation Form + TTD 40 for Notice of Address of Registered Office Form + TTD 40 for Notice of Directors Form + TTD 40 for Notice of Secretary Form + TTD 40 for Certificate of Incorporation)
    * 3

    Make a company seal

    Agency: The OfficeWorks Limited

    The TTD 150 quoted is for a rubber company seal with no logo. A self-inking rubber seal would be around TTD 300. A metal seal costs about TTD 400.

    2 days (simultaneous with previous procedure) TTD 150 + VAT

    Apply for tax payer identification number

    Agency: Board of Inland Revenue

    To apply for a taxpayer identification number, the company applies with the Board of Inland Revenue for a corporate file number and a pay-as-you-earn file number.

    1 day no charge
    * 5

    Apply for Registration as an Employer

    Agency: National Insurance Board

    To obtain a national insurance number, the company must apply to register as an employer by completing an application form (NI.1) and filing it with the National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago. Employer registration is effective immediately upon receipt of the application except when the system data indicates previous registration of the employer. A Certificate of Registration is issued in the name of the company immediately following registration.

    1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
    * 6

    Apply for Registration of Employees

    Agency: National Insurance Board

    After applying to be registered as an employer and receiving a national insurance number, the company must enroll with the National Insurance Board any qualifying employee who has not been enrolled previously. The employer must submit N1.4- Application to Register an Employed Person to the National Insurance Board Service Centre within 14 days of hiring the employee. The employee is then required within 7 days of employment, to provide the company with the information needed to complete Form NI.4. This form must be signed by the company and filed with the authority. It takes 4 weeks for the National Insurance Board Service Centre to notify the company that the application is in order and to supply the company with the employee's national insurance number.

    4 days (simultaneous with previous procedure)
    no charge
    * 7

    Register for VAT

    Agency: Value Added Tax ('VAT') Office, Board of Inland Revenue

    If the company earns gross income over TTD 500,000 per year or if it anticipates earning such an income within 12 months from the date that it applies for VAT registration, it may apply by completing, signing, and filing two forms (VAT No. 1 and VAT No. 2) with the required supporting documentation. The company can start operating without being registered for VAT and apply only once it has reached the TTD 500,000 threshold. Upon registration, it will receive a certificate and a VAT registration number.

    7 days (simultaneous with previous procedure)
    no charge

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.