Big change for businesses in South Africa hitting soon – what you need to know

 ·10 Feb 2024

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) has announced changes to its system for the filing of annual returns and beneficial ownership information – which introduces mandatory obligations for companies and close corporations for 2024.

This is according to experts at the law firm Wright Rose-Innes, who noted the changes were announced in December 2023.

“These new changes will join the filing of the Beneficial Ownership Declaration on the CIPC’s portal and the validation of the turnover of a close corporation or company,” the law firm said.

It’s important to note that you cannot submit the yearly returns for a company or close corporation unless you have already submitted the beneficial ownership details of all the beneficial owners of that particular company or close corporation, it added.

As of 1 April 2024, it will therefore be mandatory to file the beneficial ownership information before you can submit the annual returns of a company or close corporation, warned Wright Rose-Innes.

Both beneficial ownership information and annual return submissions must be completed on CIPC’s portal to avoid deregistration of a company or closed corporation, the firm added.

These new changes to the system are mandatory, and each filer will have to comply with these changes to avoid possible consequences.

In order to submit the beneficial ownership information of a company or close corporation, you need to identify who the beneficial owners are of this company or close corporation.

“The beneficial owners refer to the natural person, in other words, the warm body, who indirectly or directly influences, owns or directs the affairs of a specific company or close corporation,” it said.

The annual return filing process refers to the annual submission of the latest information of a company or close corporation to the CIPC.

This information provides an updated record of the directors or auditors of a company or close corporation, along with their names and addresses. It also includes the financial year of the company or close corporation, as well as its financial information and records.

“It appears that this new system of the CIPC will be a new way forward for South Africa when filing annual returns to ensure that all entities adhere to the strict compliance requirements which came into effect on 1 April 2023 in terms of the General Laws Amendment Act 22 of 2022,” the firm said.

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