Demystifying company registration in South Africa


A quick and easy-to-use guide helping you register a business in South Africa. We will look at the various type’s and easiest to register along with the various legislative and tax requirements of each. Find your most often asked questions answered below.

Turning your great idea into a business

All businesses, good or bad, start off from a tiny idea hatched around the braai after a couple of beers. Finding the next steps so you and your mates can all equally benefit from the plan generally falls to the most “google” savvy. Let’s follow the process up to registration of the business.


Register A Business

The Name Game

Finding the right name can be as easy or as difficult as you make it. Finding the right name that isn’t already reserved is a different matter entirely. CIPC has a wonderful tool you can use, come up with 2 to 3 different options and use their search functionClick here to find which is available. You do need to log in as a customer to access the feature.


Then the all-important in today’s world is cross-check that with google to see if the name is available so you can create your website. Most local hosting sites can also integrate with CIPC, so if you choose a local provider you can check both from the same source. Companies like 1Grid offer a full service to help startups start quicker.

What documents do you need?

If you can believe it, only your ID book and proof of address, both obviously certified within the last 3 months. Of course, if you are more than one owner then each of you needs to provide the above.


Choosing the type of registration.

All the experts I chatted to when doing research all agreed, don’t buy a shelf company (CC). As occasionally, not often, but obviously often enough, the CC has bad debt lying in wait for an unsuspecting new business owner.

So what are your options and what are the legalities involved in each?

Private Company – The most popular choice, only one person is needed, but you can have up to fifty co-owners. The PTY is considered a separate entity and all the profits are taxed separately from your own income. 


It’s only other legal requirement is a memorandum of incorporation and the submitting of signed Annual Financial Statements on the anniversary of registration.


Listed Company – Must comply with all the above and can offer share certificates to the public.

Must you register with South African Revenue Service?

Yes, just like each individual worker in SA has an income tax number so must your business. SAR’s has also come along way in helping keep the process simple – start here

Decide to DIY or Outsource the task

CIPC is definitely more user friendly than it was in the past and although their turnaround time has improved, they do sometimes have many hoops that must be cross. 


Even having said that. With a little patience and diligently providing the answers you can be registered yourself quite easily. Have a look here for the step by step DIY, as set out by CIPC.


Of course, if the thought of spending that much time on an admin task really makes you grouchy. Then outsource it to any of the many professional businesses, who offer the service. 


The benefit of doing that means on the anniversary of your registration you have a person who will remind you that your annual return is due. Bonus is that generally, they offer SARS registration as part of the package.

Actual Steps

  1. Gather certified ID’s and proof of address, plus email address and phone number
  2. Check availability, have 2 to 4 options
  3. Choose to DIY or Outsource
  4. Outsource choose the best service provider/price
  5. Do it Yourself
    1. Register as a customer on CIPC website
    2. Save your customer code for future reference
    3. Pay your R175 to CIPC
      1. Under Home page and contact us, you will find the bank details
      2. Once the payment reflects on your customer login you can continue 
    4. Login to your account
      1. Online Transacting
      2. Choose Company Registrations
      3. Customer Login, use your Customer Code
      4. You should be able to see your balance of R175
    5. Click on Register a New Company
    6. Add everyone’s ID number
    7. Fill out the Directors Details (Owners Details)
    8. Complete details of your new company
    9. If you had already reserved your business name, then click on the second icon
      1. Otherwise, choose the first icon to register your business name and business at the same time
    10. Insert the 2 – 4 names you have chosen that works best for your business
      1. Most preferred name on the top, least preferred name last
      2. CIPC will then show you the availability of the names you have chosen
      3. CIPC reserves the name for you and provides you with a reservation number so you can keep track of the process
    11. Double-check all the company details then “Lodge Company”
    12. CIPC will then email you your next steps
      1. Print the documents MOI and COR9.4
      2. Read and complete any required fields
      3. Scan them along with certified copies of ID’s and proof of address
      4. Return them to the email provided by CIPC
Start your new life now

To sum it all up for under R200, you can register your new business yourself or you can outsource the process at around R899.


All you need is your ID and proof of address. Follow the easy steps set out on the CIPC website. Once you have all your company documents head over to South African Revenue Service and register your company for its income tax number.


Each year on the anniversary of your registration submit your Annual Return to CIPC. That way you keep your business active and compliant.


Here is a video from one of CIPC employees breaking it down or here is another where Nic Inspires SA, downloaded the CIPC PDF and talks you through the process.


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Experimental Googler fascinated with investments and business. I enjoy golf, travel and random experiments.

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