Helpful questions and answers for the South African entrepreneur.
This page focusses specifically on Company Registration, Shelf Companies, COID Registration, UIF and Import and Export Licenses. You can just click on the subject you’re interested in.
FAQs on Company Registration
How do I register a Company in South Africa?
All South African companies are registered at the CIPC (the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission). There are three ways you can register a company at the CIPC. You can register a new company on the CIPC’s ePortal, you can ask your accountant to do it for you or you can use a fast-tracked company compliance service provider.
When I use your company registration service, how do I know you have received my documentation?
If you use our company registration service, we will give you step-by-step instruction where and how to submit your documents online. If you follow these instructions, you will receive notifications within 24 hours, by email and SMS, that your documents were uploaded and received successfully.
I'm a foreigner, so I don't have a South African passport, can I still register a Company in South Africa?
Yes, if you are a foreigner, with a valid passport issued by your country of origin, you can register a Pty Company in South Africa. You can also have a Refugee document.
However, you have to have a South African address. This can be a personal address or the address of your business. You also have to be 18 or older.
You can also register a South African Pty Company of you’re still outside of South Africa. Connect with one of our Company Registration experts here, so that we can walk you through our service. It’s 100% online, and our experts work directly with CIPC.
What is a fast-tracked company compliance provider?
A fast-tracked company compliance service provider, like us, uses a team of specialists to assist you with your company compliance for you. That means, rather than having to figure out the CIPC company registration process by yourself, a specialist will walk you through the requirements and then make the CIPC submission for you.
This means you know everything is 100% in order, but it also means the entire process is faster and more efficient because our specialists work with the CIPC and assist South African entrepreneurs with their company registration every day.
How do you use a fast-tracked company compliance provider?
You can use our fats-tracked company compliance services by calling our TOLL-FREE number: 0800 007 269.
If you’d like to register a South African company right now,the best way to start is by choosing one of our company registration option and / or packages. If you’d like a different company compliance service, or if you want to ask a few questions first, you can book a FREE consultation with one of our company registration experts.
What are the requirements to register a company?
These are requirements you need to register a company at the CIPC in South Africa:
1. You need a valid South African ID or a valid passport.
If you’re not a South African, you can use your valid passport.
2. You need a South African address.
Your adress in South Africa can be your personal adress or your business adress,
3. You need to be 18 or older than 18 in order to register a company in South Africa.
How many people do you need to be to register a company?
You need at least one person to register a company in South Africa, because you need at least one director. A Pty Company has 1 – 20 directors.
How long does company registration take?
It usually takes a couple of days, up to a week, to finalize a new company registration at the CIPC in South Africa.
However, it only takes about 24 hours to get a company registration number if you buy a Shelf company rather than register a new company.
You can also reduce the waiting time for a new company or a shelf company by using a fast-tracked company compliance service provider like us. Take a look at our on timeframes for company registration.
How long does it take to get your company registration number after you've registered your company in South Africa?
You will get your company registration number to trade with as soon as your company is officially registered at the CIPC. The Company Registration of a new company usually takes a few days and can take up to a week, after you’ve submitted your application in perfect order.
How many names do you have to submit with company registration?
When you do company registration in South Africa it is best to submit 3 different company names in the order of preference.
Do you have to submit every director's ID when you register a company?
Yes. When you do a company registration in South Africa with multiple director, you have to submit the ID of every director. You cannot submit the ID of only one director to register it with mutliple directors.
How do I know my company name was accepted?
When you make a company registration in South Africa, you will know your company name is accepted when the CIPC gives you a proof of name reservation (a 9.4 document).
When you use our services, we send you the proof of a name reservation (a 9.4 document) directly to your email. We will send you the official document issued by the CIPC.
I've already reserved my company name, can I still use your company registration services?
Yes, if you have already reserved your company name, but you still need some assistance with your company registration, we can help you. You can give us a call on our toll-free number, 0800 007 269 or you can book a FREE consultation. You can just tell your consultant that you’ve already recieved your proof of name reservation, your 9.4 document from the CIPC.
You know you have already successfully reserved your company name if you received a 9.4 document from the CIPC.
I'm a Sole Proprietor. Can I use my business's current name for my new Pty Company?
Yes, if your business’s name is currently available, within your industry, you can reserve that name to use it for your new Pty Company.
As long as your company name hasn’t been registered in your industry, you can use it.
If I'm a Sole Proprietor and I have a "trading as" name, can I use my current name for my new Pty Company?
No, you cannot use “trading as” in a Pty Company name.
The “trading as” concept has fallen away according to new legislation in South Africa. You can, however, see if your business name (without the “trading as” wording) is still available to register as your new Company’s name.
You cannot register any name that has already been registered in your industry.
Are there any other fees payable after I've registered my Company?
Once you’ve registered your company, and you’ve received your company registration documents, there are no additional costs for one year. Your company is registered for 12 months, starting from the date that you’ve registered your company.
You don’t need to do a new company registration every year, but you have to pay for its renewal every 12 months (through annual returns), or else your company registration expires. Please note that these annual return fees are compulsory for all PTY companies in South Africa.
How can I register a CC?
You cannot register a new CC (Closed Corporation) in South Africa anymore. In 2008, the New Companies Act of 2008, took away the option of registering any business as a Closed Corporations in South Africa.
You can still buy an existing Closed Corporations from us (Shelf CC), but you cannot register a new CC in South Africa anymore.
The most common alternative in South Africa is a Pty Company.
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FAQs on Shelf Companies
How long does it take to get your company registration number when you buy a Shelf Company?
You can get your company registration within 24hours when you buy a Shelf Company. That means you can use this company registration number to trade with and apply for Tenders immediately.
What's the difference between a Shelf Company and a New Company in South Africa?
The difference between a Shelf Company and a New Company is whether it’s registered at the CIPC or not.
A Shelf Company is a standard South Africa Pty Company that has already been registered at the CIPC. A new company required you to still go through the CIPC registration process.
The reason why a Shelf Company is already registered is simply to save time – specifically for entrepreneurs and businesses who are short on time and need a company registration ASAP.
You can get a company registration within 24 hours when you buy a Shelf Company, whereas you could wait up to a week when you still need to register a new Company at the CIPC.
If you would like more information, here is a post we wrote about getting a Shelf Company in South Africa and what the advantages of buying a Shelf Company is.
Is a Shelf Company or a New Company better?
Whether a Shelf Company or a New Company is better for your business, depends on your business goals and your urgency.
If you need a company registration ASAP to, for example, apply for a specific Tender, Contract or RFQ, buying a Shelf Company is better, because you can get a company registration number in 24 hours. You can wait up to one week when you register a New Company.
If you have at least a week, registering a new company is better, because you can choose your company name right away.
You can also choose a name with a Shelf Company by changing the existing name of the Shelf Company you buy. Name Changing is also a simple and affordable option.
If you’re planning to apply for Tenders, RFQ and Contracts, buying a Shelf Company might be helpful, because you can get an older company registration number. This is particularly helpful if your business has been trading for years, but you simply haven’t registered a Pty Company. You can buy a Shelf Company from almost any year.
A company registration number is linked to the date you register your company. That means, if you register a new company it will be associated with the date you register it.
Where can I get a Shelf Company with a VAT registration number?
We offer Shelf Companies that are registered for VAT. If you need a VAT-registered company in South Africa ASAP, you book a FREE consultation with one of Shelf Company experts right now.
Has a Shelf Company been used before?
No, a Shelf Company hasn’t been used before. A Shelf Company is just like a Pty Company. The only difference between a Shelf Company and a New Company in South Africa is when its registrered at the CIPC.
A Shelf Company is already registered at the CIPC when you buy it. It already has a company registration number that you can use almost instantly. A new company still needs to be registered at the CIPC.
Is the bank account active of your Shelf Companies?
The bank account that we offer, with our Shelf Companies, will be open. However, it will only be activated when the director amendments are finalised. Before the activation money can be transferred into the account, but it’s not possible to withdraw anything from the account – before its activated.
FAQs on COID & Letter of Good Standing
How long does COID registration take?
COID Registration in South African usually takes about 14 working days before it’s finalized.
Do you need to have employees to apply for COID registration?
No, you do not need employees before you can apply for COID registration, because the owner (if he or she is the working director) counts as an employee.
What should I fill in the salary section in the COID registration form if I'm not trading yet?
If you’re not trading yet, you can add an estimation of your earnings in the salary section of the COID registration form. The Compensation Fund Commission wants to have an idea of your company’s estimated earnings.
I'm trading already, but I haven't registered for COID yet. Will there be penalties?
If you haven’t registered for COID yet, there won’t be any penalisties – as long as there hasn’t been any injuries on duty.
However, it’s important to register as soon as possible. The current date serves as the starting date.
Have a different questions?
Wondering about something that isn’t listed here?
FAQs on UIF
Is UIF registration compulsory?
Yes, UIF registration is usually compulsory for every business. However, there are a few exceptions. For example, when your employee works less than 24 hours a month or if your workers are only earning on a commission-basis..
Do I have to pay UIF monthly or yearly?
UIF contributions have to be paid before the 7th of every month. Alternatively, you can pay your contributions in advance every 3, 6 or 12 months. If you who want to pay the UIF annually, you have to inform the Department of labour.
FAQs on Import / Export Licenses
How long does it take to get an import license or an export license?
It usually takes about 10 working days to get an import license or an export license in South Africa.
Are there any limits to what I can import or export with an import or export license?
Yes, there are limitations to what you can and cannot import or export with a South African import or export license. You can find a full list of the limitations of South African import and export licenses here.
When does an import or export license expire?
In South Africa, an import or export licenses does not expire.
Do I need a VAT number to get an import or export license?
No, you do not need a VAT number to get an import or export license in South Africa.
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More General FAQs
Did you receive my Documentation?
When you sign up Online you will receive an email with further information. In this email, you will be directed to send your Documentation to a specific email address. The Document department will confirm documents received within 24 hours via email and in certain instances via SMS.
Do I need a code or an extension to my Company name?
(i.e. I want to trade in the building industry, do I need a specific word in my name like “ABC Construction”? as I also want to do other work non-related to construction.)
What most people would do is to reserve a name with ‘Projects and Services’ or ‘Trading’ at the end, i.e. ‘NJMS Projects and Services’. This way your name does not sound limited when you tender for contracts. If you are ready to start, apply to register your company.
Which locations in South Africa do PtyCompanyRegistration.co.za’s service cover?
We are not bound by location and neither is your registration, as we can register a Pty for you if you are located in South Africa or anywhere in the world where you have internet access. Contact us for more information.
Does the amount of R990 / R890 include everything? What is the process?
- The amount that we require from you is a once off fee and includes a name reservation and Company registration. The following is included in our Company Registration Service: (1) Guaranteed Company Name; (2) Official Company Documents; (3) Toll-Free Consultation from your own Dedicated Business Consultant; and (4) a Money Back Guarantee. We also include free optional extras: (1) Tax Number; (2) Official BEE Affidavit; (3) Business Bank Account; (4) Tender Search; (5) Website Domain.
- Start by completing the online application form.
- A consultant will be assigned to represent you at CIPC and who will assist with any and all queries.
- We will request some information and documentation from you – Your proof of payment for the application fee, the Power of Attorney form, a certified ID / Passport for each Director; and also Company and Directors’ Details.
- Then we will register the Company for you and appoint the directors with CIPC’s latest timeframes.
Do I get an original hard copy Registration Certificate?
CIPC has recently changed their certification system to an entirely online system. All Company Certificates are sent electronically via email. You can print it out and it will be accepted for all your business endeavors in South Africa.
What is a MOI?
MOI stand for Memorandum of Incorporation. It is one of the Registration Documents a business owner needs to operate his / her Company officially. You also need your MOI documents in order to open a business bank account at most banks. We register the standard CIPC MOI for our clients at CIPC.
Who is referred to as “black” according to the Codes of Good Practice for BEE Certification?
The term “black people” is a generic term which means African, Coloured or Indian persons who are natural persons AND:
- are South African citizens by birth or descent; or
- are citizens of the Republic of South Africa by naturalisation before the commencement date of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act of 1993; or
- became citizens of the Republic of South Africa after the commencement date of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act of 1993, but who, but for the Apartheid policy that had been in place prior to that date, would have been entitled to acquire citizenship by naturalisation prior to that date.
If I am not a resident of South Africa, can I qualify for BEE?
No, according to the Codes of Good Practice: “Black people” has the meaning defined in the Act qualified as including only natural persons who are citizens of the Republic of South Africa by birth or descent: or are citizens of the republic of South Africa by Naturalisation: Which means the following.
- Occurring before the commencement date for the constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act of 1993; or
- Occurring after the commencement date of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act of 1993, but who, without the Apartheid policy would have qualified for naturalisation before then.
How can I get my own Custom MOI?
If you have a registered PTY and a CIPC account you can download it for free. Or please contact us on 0800 007 269 for assistance. You will first need to register as a client on the CIPC website. Click here to Register. We also assist with Custom MOIs, for more information Click Here.
What services do you offer, other than PTY Registrations?
Apart from assisting you with the company registration process, we also offer a comprehensive list of other company registration services. To view our Servicces List Click Here.
My Company has gone into deregistration and I would like to stop the process. What do I do?
If CIPC has no recorded Annual Return fees for you Company for the past few years, we can restore your Company by updating the Annual Return fees. We offer Annual Returns as a service. If your company fees were too far in arrears (normally 2 years or more) your Company may have been ‘deregistered’ and thus taken off CIPC’s system and unable to trade. In this case you can apply to re-instate your Company (either Pty or Close Corporation).
How can I validate information of my Company / other Companies with ease?
All Companies are registered with CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission) and can be validated through a Certificate of Confirmation containing all the location / Director’s details of the company.
If I have a CC should I keep it or switch to a PTY?
You can keep it as it is. Note, there are new requirements that are necessary so that you will need to stay up to day. If you switch to a PTY you will gain access to Shares that you will be able to sell and use for investment. A CC is not recognised if you want to do Imports or Exports. So, it is a good idea to convert. Click here for information on how to convert a CC to a PTY.
For more information why a PTY is the best option. Please Click Here.
Do I need an Accounting Officer?
You don’t need an accounting officer upon registration; however, we do advise that you use one after registration to take care of you bookkeeping and other financial needs. Jack Liebenberg, based in Gauteng is our in-house accountant who can assist you with all your accounting needs. Please contact us if you need accounting services.
What is a trust?
A trust is a separate entity from an individual, totally distinct as one ‘person’ from another, however not unlike a CC or PTY LTD.
It is quite unique, in that it is not a creature of statute, but it is the product of a contractual arrangement. The Income Tax Act, deeds registry act, transfer duty act, Value added Tax Act and the Insolvency act afford a trust legal personality.
We can contrast a Trust with a CC or a Pty Ltd which are entities created by completing and registering certain statutory forms with the Registrar of Companies which then registers the CC or Pty Ltd and it comes into being.
A Trust is created by contract which is a Legal document, commonly referred to as a Trust Deed. The following points are important to remember, a Trust while not legally being referred to as a person is separate from you, a trust is not owned by any one, and a trust never dies or terminates unless it is terminated by agreement or it is sequestrated if it is unable to pay its debts. The latter qualities make a Trust the only entity which will afford total asset protection and estate duty savings along with a myriad of other benefits.
There are various types of trusts, namely; Testamentary trusts, Vesting or Bewind Trusts, Special Trusts and Discretionary Trusts, the Discretionary trusts is more applicable than the other form of trusts are of no benefit to us as they do not afford the necessary asset protection and estate duty savings and Capital tax saving benefits that discretionary trusts are able to offer.
Apply to register a trust.
I want to register a Co-Operative. Can you help me?
Yes, we can assist you with a Co-Operative registration. Requirements:
- Two or more Directors.
- All the Directors must have a valid ID book and Physical Address in South Africa.
- None of the members may have been declared insolvent in South Africa.
Apply to register a Co-Op.
How are shares allocated to the different shareholders of the Company?
Shares are allocated through a share certificate. We can assist you with a share certificate for your Company.
Apply for a share certificate.
Do I have to register my Pty for Income Tax / Tax Clearance / VAT?
Yes, after the registration process is complete, CIPC should automatically register your income tax number.
If CIPC fails to register your Company for income tax due to system errors, you will have to go to SARS to register your Company’s income tax number.
After you have a number, you need to ‘verify’ your Tax Registration. We assist with your “Tax Registration Verification” as well as a Tax Clearance Certificate at SARS.
VAT registration can only be done after the Pty Company has proof of R50 000 or more in sales (to be shown with invoice or contract). Once your Pty reaches these requirements for VAT our SARS department can register your VAT number.
I have paid CIPC for Company Related services, but I am struggling with them – can PtyCompanyRegistration.co.za to continue the process?
We would suggest that you do the following:
- Apply to register a company through us so long: Online application form.
- Request a refund at CIPC.
Below follows the required steps to request a refund at CIPC:
Attach all the listed documents to an email which should be sent to email@example.com
- On your Company Letterhead write your request for a refund, signed by all directors. Indicate the amount or balance to be refunded as well as your full banking details.
- Certified ID copy of Directors.
- Proof of Payment.
- Copy of Bank Statement or Confirmation from the Bank to proof Banking Details.
The turnaround time for this application to be processed is normally three (3) working days, depending on the volume received by CIPC.
Should you not have a response from CIPC within the three working days, you may lodge a “1st Level Query resolution” to one of the following people at CIPC:
- DIPUO MFETE – firstname.lastname@example.org
- PREMISHA SOOKRAJ – email@example.com
If your query is not resolved within a further two working days, you may lodge a “last level of query resolution” to:
- RENIER DU TOIT – firstname.lastname@example.org
Please do not skip any of the steps or go to the next level before the said time frames, as it would be of great disturbance to the CIPC consultant and will not win you any time in doing so.
Do I have to hand in an audited statement for my CC / PTY?
If you have a CC then you do not have to hand in an audited statement. If you have a PTY Company under the Old Company’s Act you will need to hand in an audited statement. If your PTY was registered under the 2008 Act then you do not have to.
What are the Timeframes?
Timeframes are the length of time it takes for a Service to be completed. We are dependent on the CIPC, you can view our current timeframes on our All Services page. Click Here to view our current timeframes.
We want to register a Joint Venture, can you assist?
Firstly you would have to register a new Pty with yourself as a director. Thereafter your new Company and the other company would have to set up a joint venture agreement.
If you are ready to start apply to register your company.
One of our consultants will be in contact with you to guide you through the process. After which you can set up a joint venture agreement preferably by a lawyer.
A written agreement should cover: the structure of the joint venture, i.e. whether it will be a separate business in its own right, the objectives of the joint venture, the financial contributions you will each make, whether you will transfer any assets or employees to the joint venture, ownership of intellectual property created by the joint venture, management and control, i.e. Respective responsibilities and processes to be followed, how liabilities, profits and losses are shared, how any disputes between the partners will be resolved, an exit strategy, see the page in this guide on ending a joint venture.
Can Companies still use Trading As names?
Do I need to keep certain documents?
Every Pty Company needs to keep accurate accounting records, which include: invoices, cashbooks, ledgers, bank statements, journals, cheque books, deposit slips, stock records, asset register and any other form of record keeping of income, expenses, assets or liabilities. Please contact your bookkeeper for more information about this.