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Coronavirus - Cayman Ministry announces package relief measures - Global

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As COVID-19 continues to cause far reaching disruption, the Cayman Islands’ Ministry of Financial Services issued two Press Releases on 25 and 26 March, putting forward a package of measures designed to mitigate the negative impact on Cayman’s crucial financial service sector.

Together, the two Press releases set out the following reliefs for Cayman-domiciled businesses:

  • The deadline for Economic Substance Notification (ESN) and Annual Return filings has been pushed back from 30 March to 31 June 2020. The extension will apply to all companies, including limited liability companies and foundation companies, with penalties for failure to file coming into force on 1 July. Exempted liability partnerships (ELPs) will be eligible for the same extensions. The Ministry of Financial Services was keen to stress that the ESN remains a pre-requisite for companies filing an Annual Return. Businesses may incur fines if they fail to file the Annual Return or pay the Annual Return filing fee and may even be struck off from the Companies’ Registrar in extreme cases.
  • Taking account of travel restrictions and related health concerns, the Registrar of Companies (has confirmed that affidavits or other documents that have been notarised/certified online or utilising audio-video technology will be accepted during this period of disruption.
  • All annual fees have been deferred until 30 June. This extension applies to all companies, including limited liability companies and foundation companies. Again, the Ministry of Financial Services has confirmed that ELPs are eligible for the deferral.

At present no extension to the Economic Substance Reporting Deadline (31 December 2020) has been announced. Delays to the launch of the reporting portal are anticipated (it is now expected to launch in Q3), but all Cayman Relevant Entities are urged to work to the original deadline.

The measures brought in with these press releases follow previous statements issued by the Ministry of Financial Services in its 21 March industry advisory note, which included a one month extension for Beneficial Ownership filings with the General Registry. The extension went into effect on the 23 March and will last until 20 April 2020.

Looking to the future, Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers claimed that this package of measures would “help to lessen some of the administrative challenges” facing Cayman firms, but added that “additional measures may be taken” if a stronger response is deemed necessary.

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