How to register a new business in South Africa

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You can start your business without registering your business, but if you wish to grow and be taken seriously, it’s important to start right.  

Step 1 Required Documents

To register your company, you’ll need the following documents:

  • Notice of Incorporation. (Form CoR 14.1 issued in terms of section 13 of the Companies Act, 2008)
  • Memorandum of Incorporation. (Form Cor 15.1A Short Standard Form for Private Companies issued in terms of section 13 of the Companies Act, 2008)
  • Certified copies of your ID and all initial directors and incorporators.
  • If you have already reserved a business name before submitting your incorporation documents, you’ll need to submit a valid name reservation document.

Step 2 Company and Name Registration

Register online with the Companies and Intellectual property Commission (CIPC)

Go to BizPortal (

Login or register using your 13-digit South African ID number.

Company Registration

A company may be registered with or without a company name. When a company is registered without a name, its registration number automatically becomes the company name. It’s possible to transact with a trading (business) name e.g. A Ngobeni T/A Kayamandi Plumbers, or apply to add a reserved name at a later stage.

A company registration costs R125 (at the time of writing this article) for both private companies and non-profit companies registered without members. A private company must have at least one (1) director and a non-profit company must have a minimum of three (3) directors.

You will be required to upload the required documentation to complete the registration on Biz Portal.

Read more here


Name Reservation

You may apply for between 1 and 4 proposed names during the application process. (Your chosen name may already be reserved, so it’s important to have a few options.)

Read more here


Domain Name Registration

CIPC in collaboration with ZADNA and ZACR now offers domain name registration e.g. for any registered company, close corporation or co-operative. All domain names registered through CIPC must be linked to existing companies, therefore you must have a registered company before you can start with this process. There are also many companies offering domain name registration and hosting services.

Read more here


Step 3 Tax and Regulatory Compliance

Tax Registration

All companies that are already registered are automatically registered for tax with the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

*If you have employees or your business is importing/exporting goods or meets various income thresholds…you could also be liable for other taxes and contributions, such as:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT): This is an indirect tax on the consumption of goods and services.
  • Pay As You Earn (PAYE): This is an employee tax that is deducted from salaries or wages.
  • Customs: If you are importing products you may have to pay duties or taxes on the products.
  • Excise duties and levies: You’ll need to pay excise duties and levies on high-volume daily consumable products, as well as some non-essential or luxury items.
  • Skills Development Levy (SDL): This is a levy that employers must pay to encourage learning and development in South Africa.

Read more here


B-BBEE certificates

Exempted Micro Enterprises (Private Companies/Close Corporations) with a turnover of less than R10 million can use the CIPC Biz Portal platform to register for a B-BBEE certificate at no cost (valid for 12 months).

Go to BizPortal 


Compensation Fund and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)

Companies that have at least one employee who works for them for at least 24 hours in a month must register for both Compensation Fund and UIF. Note that directors and members are not regarded as employees.

The registration for Compensation Fund and UIF on BizPortal is combined into one form.

Go to BizPortal

 Step 4 Business Bank Account

Open a Business Bank Account

Business owners are strongly advised to separate your personal and business accounts:

  • It helps you keep a record of business payments and profits.
  • It keeps you and your business separate, so you can focus on what it will take to build the business, and not just on your personal bank balance. It also protects your personal finances.
  • It provides a track record that’s important when applying for credit or funding, because it shows investors how well the business is doing.

Read more here



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