How to Register a Company Online in South Africa 

By ED Curtson •  Updated: 10/13/22 •  7 min read

Registering your company is essential if you have an idea for a business and want to access the formal economy. You will need incorporation documents to open a business bank account, get investors, and get business funding. But registering a company can also help you get government and private company tenders. Therefore, if you are considering starting your own company, you should first know how to register a company online in South Africa.

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Do I Need to Register My Company?

Many South Africans aren’t sure if they need to register a business. Therefore, before you register a business, think it’s the first step to starting a successful company; you should know that for many small businesses without any employees. It is possible to operate without being incorporated; in this instance, you will be a sole proprietor, paying taxes as an individual and can still sign contracts and tenders; if the contracts enable you to sign the agreements without a company registration number.

But to get investors, business loans or employees, you need to register a business. 

However, you can also reserve a business name if you are not ready to start a business but want to be sure that the creative components like a name are still available when you are ready to launch. 

What is Needed to Register a Company in South Africa?

When you do decide to register a company, you will need copies of the following documents:

Proof of Address not older than three months:

You can use retail accounts, rental agreements, municipal bills, traffic fines, or court summons.

Copies of director/s Identity Documents:

You will need to certify a copy of your directors’ IDs and scan that into PDF format.

*Three Month Bank Statements

This is not always necessary, but be sure you have a digital copy in case it is requested.

How Do I Register a PTY LTD Company in South Africa?

These steps outline how to register a PTY LTD and not any other company format.

Step 1: Visit Bizportal.gov.za to Log In or Register

If you have a CIPC account, you can use your same login details –– username and password –– to log in to Bizportal. However, if you haven’t created an account, you will need to register on bizportal.gov.za using your ID number and other relevant information.

If you don’t have a South African ID, you will need to register using your passport on eservice.cipc.co.za.

Step 2: Select a Company Type

Once you are on your dashboard, click on services and navigate to register a company. Before you can continue with the next steps, you need to choose the type of company you want to register. Your options are an NPC (non-profit company) or PTY LTD (private company). 

Step 3: Type in Director ID Numbers

You will then be required to insert the ID number of each director in the company. You don’t need more than one director when a PTY LTD.

Once you have inserted the ID number, click on the plus sign. Do this with all directors.

If the information is correct, click on Continue to move to the next step.

Step 4: Verify Director Identification

To move forward, you will need to verify the director according to the information on the home affairs database. You will need to insert the date the director’s ID was issued.

If the director is married, you will also need to answer questions about their marriage: the date they got married and the ID number of their spouse.

After you have answered the questions for each director, you can click “verify.” If the information is correct, you can move to the next step.

Step 5: Enter The Directors’ Contact Details

Now you will be required to enter each director’s cell phone number, email address, and physical address. You should also remember that directors can’t share the same email address or cell phone number.

Step 6: Insert Founding Information for the Company

To incorporate the company, you need to provide the physical address of the business in addition to the business financial year-end and the number of authorised shares that will be issued.

You can select a financial year-end that will work best for your company and your accounting.

Step 6: Select a Business Name

If you want to register a name during your online business registration, you can do this using this step. 

You can skip this step if you don’t want to register a business name. In this case, the business’s incorporation number will become the business’s name; you can change this later.

If you decide to register with a name, you can insert up to four name options in order of preference. 

If the business name that you have selected is taken or too similar to another registered business, the CIPC will select the next name on the list. However, your company will be registered using the business incorporation number if all the suggestions are taken.

Step 7 (Optional): Consider Registering for The Compensation Fund and UIF

If you already have employees (those who work for the company but aren’t directors), you will need to register for UIF and the compensation fund; if not, you must skip this step.

Step 8 (Optional): Consider Getting a B-BBEE Certificate

After selecting if you want to register with the UIF and compensation fund, you can choose to register for a B-BBEE certificate.

If you decide to, you will be required to answer three questions to determine your B-BBEE status.

Step 9 (Optional): Consider Opening a Bank Account

You will then be prompted to open a bank account among six banks: Capitec, FNB, Nedbank, ABSA, SASFIN, and Standard Bank.

You can also skip this step as it is not compulsory.

Step 10: Pay the Registration Fee

Once you’ve completed the necessary steps, you will be prompted to pay the outstanding balance, which will include the incorporation fee of R125 and the R50 for name reservation.

You can choose to pay with your card or CIPC balance. If you don’t have a balance, you can send yourself money to the CIPC using the following bank details:

Bank: ABSA

Account Name: CIPC

Account Number: 405 568 1017

Branch Name: Van der Walt Street

Reference: (Your 6-character CIPC Username)

After paying the fee, you will receive correspondence from the CIPC with what to do next. You will also receive your incorporation documents via email.

Can I Register My Company for Free?

Registering your business in South Africa has several costs associated with it. 

To register with the CIPC, you will be required to pay a R125 fee. You will also need to pay to open a business bank account, which will depend on the bank you choose.

You may also need to pay a R50 fee if you would like to reserve a name.

How to Upkeep Your Business After Registration

Once you register your business, you will be required to file an annual return with the CIPC. This costs R100 or more, depending on how much income your business has generated throughout the year.

To avoid your company being deregistered or paying any penalties, you must file your annual return with the CIPC within 30 business days of your incorporation anniversary.

You will also need to file your provisional tax returns even if you haven’t generated any income.

If you need assistance or have questions about registering a company online, you can reach the CIPC on Facebook @theCIPC or Twitter @theCIPC.

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