South Africa company registration

DOING BUSINESS IN SOUTH AFRICA IN 2021

pay fee by instalmentsbusiness setup without travel

For almost two decades decade, Healy Consultants Group PLC assists our Clients to start a business in South Africa, including i) company registration and multi-currency corporate bank account opening and ii) accounting and tax considerations and iii) regulatory license and Government grants and iv) office rental and employee recruitment.

Compare different South Africa entitiesLLCFree zone LLCPLCJoint VentureBranch officeTrustFoundation
Also known asPty. Ltd.IDZ Pty. Ltd.Ltd.Pty. Ltd.Branch OfficeTrustFoundation
Best use of company?All products and servicesManuf/ export tradingSecure public fundingTradingSpecific projectsTax planningTax Planning
How soon to invoice Clients?2 weeks2 months1 month1 month2 monthsNoNo
How soon can you hire staff?2 weeks2 months1 month1 month2 monthsNo2 months
How soon can you sign a lease agreement?2 weeks2 months1 month1 month2 months1 month2 months
How long to supply corporate bank a/c?6 weeks6 weeks8 weeks8 weeks8 weeks8 weeks8 weeks
How long to supply co. reg / tax numbers?1 month2 months1 month1 month2 months1 month2 months
Corporate tax rate on annual net profits?28%15%28%28%28%18%-45%28%
Limited liability entity?YesYesYesYesNoNoNo
Government grants available?YesYesYesYesYesNoNo
Res. director/partner/ legal rep. required?NoNoNoNoYesNoNo
Must appoint a South African resident Public Officer?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Minimum paid up share capital?US$1US$1US$1nonenonenonenone
Can bid for Government contracts?YesYesYesYesYesNoNo
Corporate bank account location?NedbankAbsa BankOld Mutual BankStandard BankNedbankAbsa BankCitibank SA
Can secure trade finance?YesYesYesYesYesNoNo
VAT payable on sales to local customers?15%15%15%15%15%N/AN/A
Average total business set up costs?US$12,480US$9,630US$18,680US$9,630US$15,480US$17,930US$9,530
Average total engagement period?2 months4 months3 months3 months4 months3 months4 months

See full table

Accounting and tax considerationsLLCFree zone LLCPLCJoint VentureBranch officeTrustFoundation
Statutory corporate tax payable?28%15%28%0%28%18%-45%28%
Legally tax exempt if properly structured?NoNoNoNoYesNoNo
Group HQ tax incentives?YesYesYesNoYesYesYes
Must appoint an auditor?NoNoYesNoNoNoNo
WH tax on payments to foreign s/holders?20%20%20%20%20%20%N/A
Company RegistrationLLCFree zone LLCPLCJoint VentureBranch officeTrustFoundation
Res. director/partner/ legal rep. required?NoNoNoNoYesNoNo
Must appoint a South African resident public officer?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Min. number of shareholders/partners?1112Parent companyNoneNone
Maximum shareholding for foreigners?100%100%100%100%100%100%100%
Minimum statutory paid up share capital?US$1US$1US$1US$1nonenonenone
Shelf companies available?YesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Time to incorporate a new entity?2 weeks2 months2 months1 month2 months1 month2 months
Can easily convert to a PLC?YesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Can have preference shareholders?YesYesYesYesNoNoNo
Business ConsiderationsLLCFree zone LLCPLCJoint VentureBranch officeTrustFoundation
Good entity for trademark registration?YesYesYesNoYesNoNo
Can secure an import and export license?YesYesYesYesYesNoNo

Govt approval required for foreign owners?No
Must file an annual tax return?Yes
Must file annual financial statements?Yes
Access to double taxation treaties?Yes
Security deposit kept with government?No
Public register of shareholders and directors?Yes
Sponsorship by a local citizen required?No
Our Client must travel to South Africa?No
Temp. physical office solutions available?Yes
You need a local resident as bank signatory?No
Can be wholly foreign owned?Yes
The entity will likely be regulated by?CIPC
Minimum number of directors/managers?1
Bi-monthly VAT reporting to the Government?Yes
Sign office lease during incorporation?No
S/holder/director docs attested/translated?No
Foreign director needs personal tax no.?No
Foreign director needs a residence visa?No
Maximum number of staff allowed?No maximum number for any entity
Residence visa for business owner?Yes
Other useful information
What will be included in my customer sales invoice?Click link
This country has signed free trade agreements?Yes
This country is a member of WIPO/TRIPS?Yes
This country is a member of the ICSID?No
Average custom duties suffered?18.74%
Govt foreign investment approval required?No
Average monthly office rental? (US$/sq m)US$30
Minimum statutory monthly salary?US$270
Average US$ salary for local skilled staff?US$700
US$ deposit interest rate? (1 year average)1.6%
Overseas remittance currency controls?Yes
Banking considerations
Multi-currency bank accounts available?Yes
Corporate visa debit cards available?Yes
Quality of e-banking platform?Very good
Crowd funding available in this country?Yes

South Africa business setup summary

Press the link headings below to read detailed, relevant, up to date information.

  • Advantages and Disadvantages

    Advantages of South African company registration

    South Africa business registration advantage

    1. Company registration in South Africa is straightforward and inexpensive because:
      • Registering an LLC company in South Africa requires a minimum paid-up share capital of US$1;
      • Company incorporation can be completed within 2 weeks;
      • Only one director and one shareholder are needed, and can be any nationality.
    2. A South African company can be legally tax exempt under certain circumstance. For example:
      • If the LLC is tax resident in a country with which South Africa has a tax treaty and if paying taxes there. If so, it is only taxable in South Africa on South Africa-sourced income, and taxable on all other income in the resident country.
    3. The South African government supports Research and Development (R&D) companies including:
      • R&D projects with initial investment of less than US$400,000 are eligible for grants worth US$200,000. Similarly, projects with initial investment between US$400,000 and US$2,000,000 are eligible for grants worth US$500,000. Projects with investment higher than US$2,000,000 are eligible for grants worth at least US$1,000,000;
      • Foreign-registered companies in South Africa investing in R&D projects relating to science and technology can receive government refunds worth 150% of the operating expenditure incurred;
      • The Capital Projects Feasibility Programme (CPFP) provides grants between ZAR100,000 and ZAR5,000,000 (US$6,900 to US$344,830) to eligible companies;
      • The SEDA Technology Programme (STP) grant provides financial assistance to eligible small companies when i) purchasing tools, machinery and equipment up to ZAR800,000 (US$55,175) or ii) paying for employee training and business development services up to ZAR200,000 (US$13,795);
      • See this webpage for more detailed information on South Africa government support.
    4. South African registered businesses enjoy several non-R&D incentives including:
      • Dividends and capital gains received from foreign companies are exempt from corporate tax if the local company holds at least a 10% stake in the foreign company repatriating the funds;
      • Companies investing in tourism and manufacturing can receive monetary grants of between 15% and 30% of the total investment amount, up to US$2,07 million;
      • Companies setting up Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) operations in South Africa are eligible for grants of up to US$8,550 for every job created;
      • South Africa has signed more than 100 Double Taxation Agreements and well as 50 Bilateral Investment Agreements to reduce withholding taxes on foreign payments and customs duties on imports/exports.
    5. South Africa offers the best entry point into the wider African market. Most companies use it to test the waters before making a fully-fledged commitment into Africa.
    6. South Africa has a modern and well-developed transport infrastructure, with Africa’s most extensive air and rail networks.
    7. Africa relies heavily on ships and ports to facilitate intercontinental trade. South Arica not only has Africa’s largest ports, but also provides a natural stopover on key shipping routes between Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Australia.
    8. Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries, led by South Africa, have reformed and simplified their common tariff structure. Tariff rates have been reduced from a simple average of more than 20% to 5.8%.

    Disadvantages of South African company registration

    1. A resident Public Officer must be appointed to all companies, which incurs additional expense for an investor. If required, Healy Consultants’ Public Officer fee amounts to US$2,950 per annum.
    2. South Africa is a high tax country with i) 28% corporate tax; ii) 15% VAT; iii) 18% capital gains for companies; iv) 1% asset tax; v) up to 15% withholding tax; vi) 19% average import duty and vii) 8% transfer duty on immovable property;
    3. It is difficult to find qualified labour in South Africa because:
    4. A South African resident business faces bureaucratic hurdles including:
      • Repatriation of profits to a foreign country requires prior approval from the Central Bank (SARB);
      • Labour unions interfere with simple employer-employee relationships, making it harder to hire or fire employees;
      • South Africa is considered corrupt by global standards.
    5. The South African Rand is one of the most volatile currencies in emerging markets, giving uncertainty to the value of foreign investment;
    6. South Africa is one of the world’s most dangerous countries to live in, with the world’s fifth highest murder rate;
    7. South Africa is a risky investment destination because:
      • The macroeconomic weakness exacerbated by the commodity-crash at the end of the commodity super-cycle;
      • The economy has suffered years of fiscal and current account deficits relying on external debts. The economy’s total external debt was almost US$177.676 billion by the end of 2019;
      • In early 2020, South Africa was downgraded to full junk status by Moodys.
    8. Tax filling is South Africa is complex and time consuming, especially corporate income tax and unemployment insurance (UIC) filings. Our Clients may have to make up to nine different payments in a financial year.
  • Best uses for a South Africa company

    1. South Africa is an excellent place to set up a manufacturing and distribution company because:
      • Incorporating in one of South Africa’s five Industrial Development Zones offers companies i) 100% exemption on custom duties ii) 100% exemption on VAT and iii) up to 30% grants on cost of plants, machinery, equipment, commercial buildings and vehicles;
      • Investments in construction for industrial projects are eligible for grants of between 10% and 30% of total development costs;
      • Companies moving machinery into South Africa can apply for a cash grant worth either i) 15% of the value of the equipment or ii) US$2.7 million, whichever is less.

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Recruitment questionnaire: South Africa




  • Message from our Chairman

    Dear candidate,

    In 2021, Healy Consultants Group PLC is increasing the strength of our South African team, hiring 5 senior accountants and 5 senior IT Staff. We work Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. Either from your home or from our Johannesburg office.

    Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC assists multi-national Clients with business set up in every country on the planet. We need quality South African professionals to support our international offices and serve African Clients.

    Aidan Healy

    Aidan Healy

    Business owner

  • Message from our Senior Manager

    Dear candidate,

    If you are interested in applying for a position in a young, dynamic international high-tech e-commerce consulting company, please complete the 5 minute questionnaire below. Within two days thereafter, either Mr. Henry or our HR Department manager will email you to arrange a video call interview. Before your interview, it is wise you are familiar with our business web site.

    Henry

    Henry Beck

    Senior manager

  • Your contact details

    To help our in-house Human Resource Department communicate with you, I would be grateful if you complete this form:

    1. Your name?*
    2. In which city do you live?
    3. What languages do you speak?
    4. What is your highest level of education?
    5. Your email address?*
    6. Your Skype video call ID?
    7. Attach your resume here*
    8. Your cell phone number?*
    9. Your preferred date and time for a video interview?
  • Working with Healy Consultants Group PLC

    To help our in-house Human Resource Department evaluate your ‘fit’ in the organisation, I would be grateful if you complete this form:

    1. Are you willing to move to Johannesburg?*
       Yes No
    2. What are your monthly salary expectations?*
    3. Are you familiar with our Staff bonus policy (click link)?*
       Yes No
    4. Are you most motivated by results, relationships, or data?*
       Results Relationships Data
    5. How soon can your start work with Healy Consultants Group PLC?*
    6. Are you comfortable working from home?*
       Yes No
    7. If yes, do you have access to uncapped high speed internet (Minimum 4Mbps)?*
       Yes No
    8. Are you comfortable reporting to a Manager that is in a foreign office?*
       Yes No
    9. Would you be more comfortable reporting to a Manager that is:*
       Non-South African South African I don’t mind
    10. Would you like to be an employee or independent consultant?*
       Employee Consultant I don’t mind
    11. If independent consultant, are you willing to sign an exclusivity contract with Healy Consultants Group PLC*
       Yes No I don’t mind
    12. Indicate proportion of the time you want to spend working from home and working from the office?
      Work from homeWork from office
    13. Indicate proportion of time you want to spend communicating with our multinational Clients and international Staff?
      StaffClients'
    14. Indicate proportion of time you want to spend researching technical topics including i) blockchain strategies and/or ii) search engine advertising (IT Staff) and/or iii) double tax treaties and/or iv) transfer pricing strategies (Accountants)?
      Minimum 0%Max 100%
    15. Indicate proportion of time you want to spend working in a team or independently?
      Team 0%Independent 100%
    16. Rate your proficiency with using Microsoft Office?
      Poor 0%Expert 100%
  • The accounting role

    We are looking to hire 5 senior accountants, to support our international office Staff. Read this web page to learn more about the role. In the meantime, please answer the questions below. Thank you:

    *Fill in NA or No if you are not applying for accounting position

    1. Are you interested in learning about accounting and tax practices across multiple different countries?*
       Yes No
    2. Are you interested in learning about legal and compliance practices across multiple different countries?*
       Yes No
    3. Do you enjoy preparing financial statements?*
       Yes No
    4. Do you enjoy preparing corporation tax returns?*
       Yes No
    5. Are you interested in internal audit?*
       Yes No
    6. What accounting software are you familiar with?*
    7. Are you familiar with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)?*
       Yes No
    8. Are you familiar with South African Payroll (PAYE, UIF, SDL etc.) laws and regulations?*
       Yes No
    9. Are you interested in researching and writing local and global tax and accounting centric content for our business website?*
       Yes No
    10. Are you interested in posting updates on Healy Consultants Group PLC social media platforms?*
       Yes No
  • The IT position

    We are looking to hire 5 senior IT Staff, to support our international office Staff. Read this web page to learn more about the role. In the meantime, please answer the questions below. Thank you:

    *Fill in NA or No if you are not applying for IT position

    1. Do you have experience in search engine optimisation (SEO) for a business website?*
       Yes No
    2. Do you have experience in creating and optimising digital advertising campaigns for a business?*
       Yes No
    3. Do you enjoy prototyping and creating webpage mechanisms for business websites?*
       Yes No
    4. Do you enjoy IT & security administration??*
       Yes No
    5. Are you familiar with Google Analytics?*
       Yes No
    6. Do you have administration experience in Office 365 and Dropbox for Business?*
       Yes No
    7. What business web site platform / content management system are you familiar with?*
    8. Do you enjoy providing troubleshooting and technical IT support for Staff?*
       Yes No
    9. Are you interested in posting updates on Healy Consultants Group PLC social media platforms?*
       Yes No
    10. Do you have experience in providing remote IT support for staff?*
       Yes No
    11. What OS are you familiar with?*
    12. Do you have any coding experience?*
       Yes No
    13. If yes, what languages are you able to code in?*
    14. Do you enjoy studying website analytical data and compiling your findings into succinct informative reports?*
       Yes No
  • Conclusion

    Thank you for completing and submitting this questionnaire. It will help Healy Consultants Group PLC’s Human Resource Department more accurately identify candidates that are suitable for our South African operations. Please submit this form now.

Contact us

For additional information on our business registration services in South Africa, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Henry James Beck, directly:
Consultant at HC - henry
  • Mr. Henry James Beck
  • Client Engagements Manager
  • Contact me!