10 steps of company incorporation in South Africa

South Africa is among the top African countries when it comes to company incorporation. Most of the incorporation procedure is straightforward and can be completed online by our resident company secretary. Below is a brief run-through of the standard company registration steps in South Africa:

Pre-incorporation steps

business incorporation strategy in South Africa

  1. Client due diligence and commitment: Prior to company incorporation, our Client i) settles our South Africa engagement fees ii) signs and returns our engagement letter and iii) forwards us all the requested due diligence documents;
  2. Corporate structure: Our Client confirms the corporate structure including shareholders and directors. Our compliance team then prepares the Power of Attorney (POA) and the residence statement documents for our Client’s signature and courier return;
  3. Company name reservation: We perform a company name search with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and, if available, we submit Form COR 9.1 to reserve the same on our Client’s behalf.

Incorporation steps

  1. Company incorporation: After the company name is reserved, our South African company secretary prepares and files the Memorandum of Association together with the new company registration forms for the South Africa company declaring the financial year end and register the same with the CIPC;
  2. Company incorporation approval: On approval, the CIPC emails a proof of incorporation, known as a CoR14.3;
  3. Online corporate documents retrieval: We then retrieve the disclosure certificate, allotment of shares, registers of directors, shareholder and company secretary from the CIPC website.

Post-incorporation steps

  1. Corporate bank account opening: we assist our client open a corporate bank with top tier international banks such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and Citibank or local banks such as First National Bank and Standard Bank. Where possible, our banking team will negotiate with the bank to prevent our Client having to travel to complete this process. Immediately after the bank account opening, our Client is required to deposit the proposed share capital;
  2. Registration for tax and VAT: we register our Client’s company with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for Income Tax and E-Filing to enable them to submit tax returns;
  3. Employer registration: If required, simultaneously with the above process, we will register the company with for employee tax (PAYE), Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and Skills Development Levy;
  4. Engagement completion: Following engagement completion, we email our Client the electronic copies of the corporate documents. Upon our Client’s request and at additional cost, we will courier these company registration documents hand certified by the CIPC and unopened bank correspondence, and a Client feedback survey.

List of the documents needed to register a company in South Africa

The below listed documents will be required when incorporating a South African private company:

  • Completed Notice of Incorporation form CoR14.1;
  • Completed forms CoR15.1A in the case of a standard private company or CoR15.1B for a customized private company;
  • A valid name reservation confirmation certificate (CoR9.4);
  • Certified true copies of national ID/passport of all individual shareholders and directors;
  • A certificate of incorporation, M&AA and latest annual return for corporate shareholders;
  • A power or attorney authorizing the company representative (if applicable);
  • Complete VAT101 form to register the local entity for VAT with SARS;
  • Complete EMP101 form to register the local entity for PAYE with SARS;
  • Complete WAs2 form to register for Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (COID) with the Department of Labour and Compensation Commissioner;
  • Complete UI8 to register employees for unemployment insurance with UIF.

Frequently asked questions

Contact us

For additional information on our company incorporation services in South Africa, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Henry James Beck, directly:
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  • Mr. Henry James Beck
  • Client Engagements Manager
  • Contact me!