Should you formally register your business?

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CIPC registers Companies and Co-operatives in South Africa. It is not necessary for all businesses to formalise 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 and will still be liable for tax if your turnover exceeds the prescribed threshold.

Registering a business is simple and inexpensive if you follow the steps outlined on the CIPC website, the first step being registered as a CIPC customer. However, it brings with it certain responsibilities, irrespective of whether the business is trading. For example, you will need to file an annual return and pay an annual fee.

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In terms of the Companies Act, 2008, a company may be registered with or without a company name. When a company is registered without a reserved name, its registration number automatically becomes the company name. This is the quickest way to register a company.

Such a company may transact with a trading (business) name or may apply to add a reserved name at a later stage. In this case, the company will need to first reserve a name and then apply for a name change, which constitutes a change to its Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI)

If your initial name reservation application is not approved, you will need to apply for new names. You may apply for between 1 and 4 names during each application process. Each name reservation application costs R50. A company registration may vary between R125 and R475 (R125 for a private company, R475 for a non-profit company registered without members).

There are five types of companies that you can register.  If you wish to run a franchise business, you would register a private company.  If you wish to register a church, you would register a non-profit company.  A private school could be registered as a private company or non-profit company, depending on its objectives.  An association of professionals such as lawyers, doctors, civil engineers etc., may be registered as a personal liability company.

Information is taken from the CIPC website.

 

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