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How to register a business

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It is not necessary for all businesses to formalize by registering with the CIPC. For some businesses, such as informal businesses and sole proprietors, there may not be sufficient benefits.


Businesses that wish to transact with government and the formal sector, or that wish to access certain types of government support, are generally required to be registered with the CIPC. For these businesses, there may also be tax benefits to registration, as registered businesses have a lower tax rate than individuals. Even though you may not be registered with the CIPC, you will still have to be registered with the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and will still be liable for tax if your turnover exceeds the prescribed threshold.


For Profit companies:


Sole Proprietor

This is the simplest kind of business structure and does not need to be registered.

• The owner (sole proprietor) trades under his or her own name.

• No separation of personal and business assets and liabilities.

• Sole proprietor benefits from all the profit and assets accumulated through the business

• No limited liability – the sole proprietor is liable for any debt that the business incurs


Private Company - (Pty) Ltd

A private company is the type of company that will not be listed on the stock exchange – shares are never offered to the public. Private companies require the least amount of annual formalities

• Private Companies are granted Proprietary Limited or "(Pty) Ltd” status.

• May be founded and managed by 1 director if required (a one-man company)

• This business structure is ideal for entrepreneurs to run their business with no limit on the number of directors.

• Private companies are not allowed to offer securities (stock, bonds, shares, etc.) to the public and is also restricted from transferring its shares.

• No annual audits required, if all requirements are met (example: all the directors are also the only shareholders of the company).


Personal Liability Company

Personal Liability Companies are most often registered for a group of professionals where the liability is shared by directors.

• Personal Liability Companies are granted Incorporated or “Inc” status.

• Must have a minimum of 1 director.

• As a business owner or professional you can register a company that you want to be personally liable for.

• The Personal Liability Company and its directors, past and present, are jointly liable for any debts and liabilities incurred.

• This type of company is normally registered by individuals such as Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Accountants, Sole Proprietors, Partnerships, etc.


Public Company (Ltd)

Public companies raise funds by offering shares to the public, so there is no limit to the number of shareholders

• Public companies are granted the “Limited Ltd” status.

• Only requires one member for incorporation

• No limit on the number of shareholders

• Securities (stock, bonds, shares, etc.) can be offered to the public to raise capital, usually through the stock exchange

• Management is invested in a Board of Directors.


Non-Profit companies:

• A company created for public benefit or relating to one or more cultural or social activities, or communal or group interests.

• The income of a non-profit company is not distributed to its incorporators, members, directors, officers or persons related to any of them.

• The name of a Non-Profit Company will end with “NPC”.

• Incorporated by at least 3 persons for public benefit, social activities, communal or group Interest, etc.

• Must have a minimum of 3 directors.

• The primary objective is to be a benefit to the public and not to make profit.

• Income/property may not be distributed to the incorporators, members, directors or officers.

• Only reasonable compensation for services rendered by them may be taken.


To register your company you will need to use the CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission) and the first step is to register on their website here.


The second step is to deposit the funds. It’s R125 for company registration without a name reservation or R175 for a company registration with a name reservation. Remember to use your customer code as reference when depositing funds into the CIPC bank account.


Then after that, fill in all the forms from here: http://www.cipc.co.za/index.php/register-your-business/companies/register-private-company/ 


There is also a Step by Step PDF with screenshots:



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