South Africa company registration

DOING BUSINESS IN SOUTH AFRICA IN 2022

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For almost two decades, 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 entities LLC Free zone LLC PLC Joint Venture Branch office Trust Foundation
Also known as Pty. Ltd. IDZ Pty. Ltd. Ltd. Pty. Ltd. Branch Office Trust Foundation
Best use of company? All products and services Manuf/ export trading Secure public funding Trading Specific projects Tax planning Tax Planning
How soon to invoice Clients? 2 weeks 2 months 1 month 1 month 2 months No No
How soon can you hire staff? 2 weeks 2 months 1 month 1 month 2 months No 2 months
How soon can you sign a lease agreement? 2 weeks 2 months 1 month 1 month 2 months 1 month 2 months
How long to supply corporate bank a/c? 6 weeks 6 weeks 8 weeks 8 weeks 8 weeks 8 weeks 8 weeks
How long to supply co. reg / tax numbers? 1 month 2 months 1 month 1 month 2 months 1 month 2 months
Corporate tax rate on annual net profits? 28% 15% 28% 28% 28% 18%-45% 28%
Limited liability entity? Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Government grants available? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Res. director/partner/ legal rep. required? No No No No Yes No No
Must appoint a South African resident Public Officer? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Minimum paid up share capital? US$1 US$1 US$1 none none none none
Can bid for Government contracts? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Corporate bank account location? Nedbank Absa Bank Old Mutual Bank Standard Bank Nedbank Absa Bank Citibank SA
Can secure trade finance? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
VAT payable on sales to local customers? 15% 15% 15% 15% 15% N/A N/A
Average total business set up costs? US$14,180 US$9,630 US$18,680 US$9,630 US$15,480 US$17,930 US$9,530
Average total engagement period? 2 months 4 months 3 months 3 months 4 months 3 months 4 months

See full table

Accounting and tax considerations LLC Free zone LLC PLC Joint Venture Branch office Trust Foundation
Statutory corporate tax payable? 28% 15% 28% 0% 28% 18%-45% 28%
Legally tax exempt if properly structured? No No No No Yes No No
Group HQ tax incentives? Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Must appoint an auditor? No No Yes No No No No
WH tax on payments to foreign s/holders? 20% 20% 20% 20% 20% 20% N/A
Company Registration LLC Free zone LLC PLC Joint Venture Branch office Trust Foundation
Res. director/partner/ legal rep. required? No No No No Yes No No
Must appoint a South African resident public officer? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Min. number of shareholders/partners? 1 1 1 2 Parent company None None
Maximum shareholding for foreigners? 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Minimum statutory paid up share capital? US$1 US$1 US$1 US$1 none none none
Shelf companies available? Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Time to incorporate a new entity? 2 weeks 2 months 2 months 1 month 2 months 1 month 2 months
Can easily convert to a PLC? Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Can have preference shareholders? Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Business Considerations LLC Free zone LLC PLC Joint Venture Branch office Trust Foundation
Good entity for trademark registration? Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
Can secure an import and export license? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No

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

    1. Company registration in South Africa is straightforward because:
      • A South Africa LLC requires a minimum paid-up share capital of just US$1;
      • Incorporation is completed in just two weeks;
      • Only one director and one shareholder are needed, and they can be any nationality and non-resident;
      • It is helpful that the business language of South Africa is English.
    2. A South African company enjoys good regional and global market access through trade agreements and customs unions. Furthermore, South Africa’s transport networks (road, rail and air) connect it with regional states, facilitating trade.
    3. Government incentives available to foreign investors include:
      • Dividends and capital gains received from a foreign company are exempt from South Africa corporate tax if the South Africa LLC holds at least a 10% stake in the foreign company.
      • Companies investing in tourism and manufacturing may be eligible for grants of between 15% and 30% of the total investment amount, up to US$2.07 million.
      • R&D projects are eligible for government grants of up to US$1 million, and operating expenditure refunds. Check out the Capital Projects Feasibility Programme and SEDA Technology Programme for details of financial support for foreign investors.
      • 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 50 Bilateral Investment Agreements to reduce withholding taxes on foreign payments and customs duties on imports/exports.
      • Incorporating in an Industrial Development Zone offers 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.
    4. South Africa hosts the largest and best-established African stock exchange – with a market capitalisation of US$727 billion. Some successful foreign entrepreneurs list their companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
    5. The country boasts the continent’s best transport infrastructure, with good air and rail networks, and seaports located on global shipping routes. The country therefore has good access to global markets.
    6. In 2018, South Africa enacted legislation protecting foreign investments. In theory, South African courts protect foreign investments and foreign investors in the same way as a South African citizen.

    Disadvantages of South African company registration

    1. South African taxes are high including i) 28% corporation 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.
    2. Doing business in South Africa is challenging for multinational Clients because:
      • The country is considered corrupt by global standards, with weak enforcement of anti-corruption legislation. Consequently, foreign investments may not be adequately protected.
      • Repatriation of profits overseas requires Central Bank (SARB) approval.
    3. The South African economy is unstable because:
      • In 2021, the country suffered both civil unrest as well as the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, and has for years been running fiscal and current account deficits. In early 2020, the country was downgraded to full junk status by Moody’s.
      • The economy suffers from political instability and violent crime, thus is unattractive for foreign employees to relocate to South Africa. Unfortunately, the country has the world’s fifth highest murder rate.
      • Unemployment is currently running at almost 30%, increasing the risk of further civil unrest.
      • South Africa suffers from frequent power outages. The country’s severe electricity shortage threatens key economic sectors such as mines and manufacturing.
      • The South African rand is one of the world’s most volatile currencies. Consequently, foreign investors receiving and making payments in rand are exposed to volatile exchange rates, while the value of South African assets and investments is uncertain.
    4. Even though English language proficiency in the working population is high, multi-national Clients experience the following problems with local employees:
      • It is difficult to recruit qualified labour in South Africa. There is a shortage of local skilled IT specialists, engineers, health professionals and financial executives. Only 7% of the population holds a university degree.
      • Labour unions interfere with simple employer-employee relationships, making it harder to hire or fire employees.
      • Computer literacy and digital among the population is low. As of 2022 only one in 10 South Africans has a computer at home.
    5. A South African LLC must appoint a Public Officer who is a tax resident in South Africa. This is an additional annual expense for foreign investors. Healy Consultants’ annual Public Officer fee is US$2,950.
  • 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 home Work from office
    13. Indicate proportion of time you want to spend communicating with our multinational Clients and international Staff?
      Staff Clients'
    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. Kunal Fabiani, directly:
client relationship officer - Kunal