When you have capital to start a business, the next thing on your mind should be how to register it. The first consideration you have is whether to register it as a company or to operate as a registered business name. This particular article concentrates on individuals who want to operate as a registered business name.
The following steps can be followed in order to register your business name at the Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria. The steps include:
1. Carry out name availability search.
To conduct a search, the CAC now has an online portal, which individuals can use to search for and reserve a business name making it very easy. You can search and reserve a name online from CAC official website. This will let you know if your desired business name is available or already taken.
Please note that certain words are not allowed when registering a Business Name / Enterprise such as:
“LTD” or “Limited”
To conduct a public name search, visit the CAC website using this link:
You will be presented with a form to type the name of the company you want to search for. Check the “I am not a robot” box CAPTCHA and click submit.
You will be presented with the status of the company which includes:
a. Registered company – with the RC No, registered address and date of registration.
b. Undergoing registration – the registration address with the displayed
c. Returns empty set if the company does not exist.
From here, you can easily conclude if to go ahead with the name you have chosen or not i.e if the name is already taken or you can walk into any CAC office and obtain the reservation of name form. It is important to note that when you are reserving a name, you choose a name that is considerably unique (It is advisable to have at least 2 options).
You are restricted from using certain names that contain words like; Chamber of Commerce, Federal, National, Regional, State, Government, Municipal or Chartered, Co‐operative or the words Building Society; or Group or Holding.
This is because in the opinion of the Commission, the above words are misleading as to the nature or extent of the activities of the business which is contrary to public policy. Using any of these names mentioned above may violate any existing trademark or business name registered in Nigeria unless the consent of the owner of the trademark or business name is obtained.
2. Purchase and complete the application for business registration form.
The first thing you need to do here is to register your personal account in the CAC portal through this link:
After registration, you need to choose the kind of business you want to be registered as e.g sole proprietor (alone) or partnership ( with two or more people). This improved user interface is very smooth and fast, just follow the link above and sign up.
Ensure you have a valid email address and a working phone number and an address for the business. You will also need a valid means of identification such as National Identification Number (NIN) or national identity card, permanent voter’s card (PVC), Driver’s license or international passport.
After checking online or manually at the CAC office for a name, and the name was approved, the next thing to do is to obtain, complete and submit the necessary statutory forms which will be given to you at the CAC office.
But if your name is not approved, you will have to obtain another reservation form and submit two new name proposals for your business.
One may choose to register the business as a sole proprietor (i .e owning the business alone) or a partnership (i. e with another person and you will have to complete the form as appropriate with two passport-sized photographs of each applicant attached to the form).
Proprietors of a business name
Anyone can be a proprietor or owner of a business name no matter the age or social status. Some different categories of business name owners include:
- Underage Owner- Any company or individual (person) can be an owner of a business name. Underage people of less than 18 years can own a business name but this will require special permission. If the owner is a minor i.e less than 18 years, the CAC will ask for an attestation from a magistrate, legal practitioner, or a police officer of a certain rank.
- Company as an Owner- A Business Name can also be owned by a company. In this case, the CAC asks for an attestation from the company director or company secretary.
- Mixed Ownership – Individuals and companies can jointly own a business simultaneously.
3. Reserve your business name.
After successfully login in on the account you created, the next step is to reserve your proposed business name which you have confirmed available from the public search you conducted earlier. This process will cost you 500 naira and you can pay through ATM cards, internet banking, or direct bank payment using your RRR number generated by the portal. It takes less than 24 hours for approval after payment has been made successfully.
After successfully completing your payment above and have an approved reserved business name, you can check your application status or your payment status, by clicking the “My Reservation History” button.
4. Pay the applicable fees.
Once you have completed all the applicable forms, you will have to pay the applicable fee for registering a business name like stamp duties, filling fee etc. A lawyer is not needed to register a business name. Registering your business name doesn’t take time but may sometimes last up to 2 weeks depending on the workload of the CAC.
Some charges you may encounter while registering your business may include:
Registration of business name – 10,000 Naira;
Change the business name – 5,000 Naira;
Filling fees – from 2,000 up to 10,000 Naira;
Business name reservation – 500 Naira.
These figures are bound to change as there may be other hidden charges incurred along the way. Registering your business is now hassle free and you can do it now from the comfort of your home.
5. Filling of forms.
Filing is mainly when you go to the CAC office and manually fill your forms and register your business name. This document will have to be filled at the CAC office. Once you’ve completed the business name application, it costs 10,000 naira to file at the Corporate Affairs Commission. No stamp duty is required.
But when you register online, all you need do is to fill all the forms online correctly and carefully and provide all the requirements stated earlier. Make sure you fill in the names and addresses of proprietors, nature of business, and address of the business. Everything can be done online.
The next step is the payment of the sum of 10,000 naira for registration. ( Note that the federal government has slashed the fee for registering a business name to N5000, up until Dec 2018 )
Click on the “action button” to download and print the completed form for the proprietors to sign and have their passports attached. After the proprietors have signed and attached their passports, scan the document and save it as a PDF file.
Visit http://docupload.cac.gov.ng and select document upload. Then type in the availability code you used in registering the business and select the nearest CAC office you wish to pick up your certificate from.
Type in the captcha and click on begin.
Wait for your certificate. Once the certificate is ready, you will receive an email to that effect, the status of the registration will change to registered and you are good to go.
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About The Writer : This was written byJane Okafor Chinyere, content contributor at MyAfribusiness.com. She is a graduate of Industrial Production Engineering and she loves cooking, travelling, dancing, reading and listening to music.
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