Registering a business in South Africa has become so easy – the need to leave your house and stand in never-ending queues is long gone in our technologically-advanced world. Below, we have laid out a step-by-step DIY on how to register your company simply by using the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) website portal
Step 1: Create an Account
Make your way onto the CIPC eServices website. From the homepage, navigate to and click the Customer Registration link.
The next page you will be required to enter your identity number before being prompted to enter required personal and contact information. Complete all required fields.
Before you will be able to transact on the website, deposit funds into your CIPC account. Reserving a business name is R50-00 and registering a business with a standard Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) is R125-00. Ensure you have deposited enough money into your CIPC account to complete your process.
Step 2: Name Your Business
Firstly, your business should have a name. Deciding on a clear, powerful name also provides for great marketing and branding efforts. A name which bares relevance to what is being offered or provided should also be kept in mind – simply naming your I.T. business “Sparkle & Shine” might have customers terribly confused as to what services your business provides!
Once you have decided on a name for your business, navigate from the CIPC eServices website to Transact, and from the dashboard menu that appears click Name Reservations.
Here you will be asked your first name choice and three additional names should your first choice not be available.
Submit and you will receive a tracking number for the name reservation as well as an email confirming name reserved, this document is referred to as a COR9.4.
Save this email and attachment.
NB – You may register your business using the registration number as the business name. This can be changed at a later stage by reserving the name, and then requesting a name change, although the MOI of the business will have to be amended after the name change has been successful.
Step 3: Do Your Research – What Type Of Entity Do You Want Registered?
Before jumping in blindly to register your business, have you given much thought re the type of business entity or company you would like to register? This is where professional advisors and legal practitioners come in handy to give you guidance on the most suitable entity.
The types of companies that can be registered in South Africa are Private (Pty Ltd) and Public Companies (Ltd), Personal Liability Companies (Inc.), and Non-Profit Organisations (NPO). Close Corporations are no longer registered in South Africa.
When registering a company on the CIPC website portal, you will be given the option of a Standard Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) or a bespoke one. The MOI contains the “rules” of the business, how decisions are made and how the business is structured. For purposes of this article, we only deal with the registration of a company with the standard MOI.
Step 4: Registering Your Company Online
Make your way from the “Transact” page to Company Registration.
Here we will register your company as a valid and existing legal entity. Start by entering your identity number when prompted and click to continue to the next page where you will be required to, once again, enter your personal information (or that of the director should you be registering as the representative or proxy) as well as contact information of incorporators and directors. You will then be required to complete details of the business, i.e. company’s financial year-end, amount of shares issued, etc. Don;t hesitate to give us a shout should you need more information about what these all entail.
Once this has all be completed, we continue onto the name reservation screen.
We will navigate to the “Use Name Already Reserved” tab. Now, retrieve the confirmation email you received (COR9.4) for the name reservation and note the tracking number. Enter the tracking number where prompted and continue.
On successful registration, you will receive another tracking number. This will follow with an email confirmation containing the COR 15.1A document. This document needs to be signed and dated by the incorporator/director.
Step 5: The Final Step
Now, gather all your supporting documents. The process is not completed until the signed supporting documents are received by the CIPC.
The documents you will need to complete the registration are:
- Your name reservation confirmation letter;
- Your signed COR 15.1A form;
- A certified copy of your South African ID and/or;
- Completed Power of Attorney form – should you be acting as a representative or proxy.
Have your documents scanned to your computer and attached as an email to eServicesCoReg@cipc.co.za with the tracking number as listed on the COR15.1A in your subject line.
Upon successful registration of your business, you will receive your company registration documents, also known as the COR 14.3 document and MOI.
Turnaround times varies between 1 – 3 days.
Congratulations! You have officially registered your business!
Your business is registered as a legal entity. You may now apply for a business bank account and register with SARS for tax purposes, etc.
Do I need to register my small business in South Africa?
For every new business established, you are required to register with your local SARS office to obtain an income tax reference number. Registration must be done within 60 days after starting operations by completing an IT77 form, available at your local SARS office or from the SARS website.
How much does it cost to register a company with CIPC?
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.