Everything You Need to Know About Filing Annual Returns

Every company in South Africa is required by law to file annual returns with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) every year within a prescribed time frame. These returns are separate to tax returns sent to SARS. Essentially, the primary reason for filing your returns each year is to confirm that your business is still operating. One way to see this process is to consider it to be a renewal of your initial company registration that lets the CIPC know that you are still in business.

If your annual returns are not filed on time, the result is that your company or Close Corporate is seen as being inactive. This will result in deregistration proceedings by the CIPC in order to remove the company or CC from active records. As a result, your business may end up failing to exist if it is no longer registered with the CIPC.

Annual Returns FAQ

To help you get a better idea of how annual returns work, we have put together a list of frequently asked questions.

What is the purpose of this process?

As we mentioned above, the primary purpose of these returns is to show that your business is still operating or that it will still be operating in the future. If you do not file these returns each year, your business will be viewed as dormant, which can lead to many problems down the line, including compliance issues.

Can the returns be filed manually?

These returns can only be filed electronically, either directly through the CIPC or with the help of a trusted secretarial services specialist, such as Henzel.

When do you need to file your returns?

This filing is done annually and will differ for companies and Close Corporations. Companies need to file returns within 30 business days from the date of registration. Close Corporations have from the first day of registration until the following month. Filing may be done after this period, but penalty fees may be charged.

Do you still need to file these returns if you have filed your SARS tax returns?

There is a difference between these two returns, which are filed at two separate governmental departments.
Your annual return is a summary of business information that is filed each year at CIPC. Your tax return focuses on your taxable income and is filed each year at SARS. You may be tax compliant, but, unless you have also filed your returns at CIPC, you will not be compliant in terms of business registration.

To avoid deregistration, companies and CCs need to file returns and financial statements or accountability
supplements every year. Henzel takes the stress out of the process by handling all annual returns on your
behalf, competently and professionally.