In this blog post we will take you through the journey on How to Register a Business Name in Nigeria. It is not only the first step to take, but the most important to take in other to bring your dream into reality.
When establishing a business in Nigeria, registering it becomes a vital step in the process. Unlike many other countries where the registration procedure can be complicated, Nigeria offers easy business name registration options such as; self-registration or registration through a third-party service provider.
These third-party providers, known as registered CAC agents, offer their services for a professional fee, which increases the overall cost of business registration compared to the nominal fee charged by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
But, if you choose to register your business name by yourself, the cost will be lower as you will only need to pay the business name fee set by the CAC.
The cost of registering your business name varies based on the specific business entity under which you wish to register. The following list outlines the available business entities along with their respective prices set by the CAC.
|Business Entity||Cost of Registration (NGN)|
|Business Name||10,000 – 20,000|
|Private Limited Company||50,000 – 1,000,000|
|Public Limited Company||2,000,000 – 10,000,000|
|Incorporated Trustee||10,000 – 100,000|
|Company Limited by Guarantee||20,000 – 100,000|
|Unlimited Company||20,000 – 100,000|
|Foreign Company||20,000 – 50,000|
|Incorporated Trusteeship by Religious Bodies||20,000 – 50,000|
Please note that the above costs are approximate and subject to change. The fees may vary depending on the specific requirements and circumstances of each registration. It is always advisable to consult the CAC or visit their official website for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding registration costs.
It’s essential to remember that beyond the registration costs, additional expenses such as professional fees, stamp duties, and other statutory fees may be applicable during the registration process.
These costs may vary depending on the complexity of the registration and any legal or professional assistance required.
Always ensure to consult with the CAC or seek professional advice to obtain the precise and latest information regarding the cost of registration for your desired business entity.
Table of Contents
How to Register a Business Name in Nigeria
Step 1. Decide on using an accredited agent or self-registration
The first step involves deciding whether you prefer to register your business name yourself or engage the services of a third-party, such as CAC accredited agents.
These CAC agents possess not only computer literacy but also expertise in specialized fields like law, accounting, or chartered secretarial practice. This explains why their fees are not cheap but rather reasonable considering the extra value they provide.
Beyond assisting you with business name registration, these professionals are equipped to offer guidance and address any queries you may have throughout the registration process.
But, if you opt to register your business name by yourself, there’s no issue as you will still need to provide the same required documents as those requested by an accredited agent.
For self-registration, your initial step involves creating an account on the CAC portal.
But whether you choose to patronize a CAC accredited agent or go the way of self-registration, the steps below are the same for both.
Step 2. Check for Availability of the Business Name
Before proceeding with a business name reservation, it is essential to verify the availability of your desired business name to avoid rejection. The CAC portal has made this process convenient by incorporating it into its platform for easy access.
Checking the availability of the name has an added benefit of saving you the N500 fee for name reservation. This means that if you pay N500 for a name reservation and it gets rejected because someone else has already registered that name, you will have to pay a fresh N500 for another name reservation.
Instead of going through the trial and error method that incurs unnecessary costs, it is advisable to check the name availability beforehand, ensuring a smoother process for applying for a name reservation.
Step 3. Reserve the business name
If the name is available, you can proceed to reserve it. To reserve a business name, you need to complete the Name Reservation Form (Form CAC/BN/1) available on the CAC website or office.
Fill out the form with accurate information, including the desired business name and proposed activities of the business.
Currently, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Nigeria charges ₦500 (five hundred Naira) per name except for an Incorporated Trustees business name that cost ₦5,000 for name reservation
This fee includes the reservation of a business name for a duration of 60 days after approval by the Approving Officer, providing you with ample time to proceed with the registration process within this period.
It is essential to understand that the name reservation fee is distinct from the registration fees and must be paid upfront during the name reservation application.
After submitting the name reservation application, you will need to await approval.
The CAC will carefully review your name reservation application; which takes approximately 24 to 48 hours to be completed.
If the name is found to be available and compliant with the guidelines, it will be approved, and the business name will be reserved for you for a duration of 60 days.
Once your business name has been successfully reserved, you can proceed with the registration process.
Step 4: Proceed with business registration:
In proceeding with the business registration step, there are two notable actions to be carried out;
- Notarize and Prepare the Required Documents
- Submission of Documents
1. Notarize and Prepare the Required Documents
Some documents may need to be notarized or certified before submission. Prepare the following documents:
- Completed Business Name Registration Form (Form BN1)
- Two passport-sized photographs of the proprietor
- Means of identification of the proprietor (e.g., National ID card, driver’s license, international passport)
- Proof of address of the business (utility bill, tenancy agreement, etc.)
- Memorandum and Articles of Association
- Name availability reservation/payment receipt
- Email and phone number of the Business
- Objects of the company
- Statutory fees and Stamp duty
- You will need to provide the incorporation certificate and company resolution if another registered company, whether local or foreign, is to be a shareholder of the business.
- Any other required documents specified by the CAC
If your business will have shareholders and directors, it is necessary to gather the required means of identification for them. These accepted means of identification include the following: providing their full names, residential addresses, occupations, dates of birth, National ID cards, International passports, and Driver’s license.
2. Submission of Documents
The CAC ended the manual submission of business registration applications on 31st March 2021. Ever since that time till date, all business registration submissions have been done online.
To commence the registration process for your business in Nigeria, it is necessary to submit the required documents through the CAC online portal.
It is of utmost importance to ensure that all documents are accurately filled out, signed by the relevant individuals, and properly dated before submission.
Taking the time to double-check the completeness and accuracy of your submission will help avoid unnecessary delays or rejections during the registration process.
After compiling and reviewing all the necessary documents, proceed to submit them through the CAC online portal. It is recommended to retain copies of all submitted documents for your personal records.
Step 5. Collect Certificate of Registration:
Once the documents submitted for your business registration in Nigeria are completed, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) will proceed with the review of your application.
During this stage, the CAC will carefully examine the submitted documents to ensure compliance with the relevant regulations and legal requirements.
They will assess the accuracy and completeness of the submitted information, verifying the proper order of all necessary documents.
The review process typically takes one week for Enterprises(ie Sole Proprietorship) registrations. While it takes between 2 to 3 weeks for other types of business entity registrations such as incorporated trustees, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, etc.
If your application satisfies all the requirements and successfully passes the CAC’s evaluation, you will be issued a Certificate of Registration.
This official document serves as proof that your business has been duly registered with the CAC. The Certificate of Registration holds significant legal value and is essential for conducting business activities in Nigeria.
Upon receiving the Certificate of Registration, it is crucial to carefully review the information it contains, ensuring that all details are accurate and align with your intended business name. If any errors or discrepancies are identified, it is important to promptly contact the CAC to rectify the situation.
Step 6. Get Your Business Tax Identification Number (TIN)
After obtaining your business Certificate of Registration, the next thing you need to do is to apply for Tax Identification Number (TIN).
There are three ways to get your TIN;
- Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)
- State Inland Revenue Service
- Joint Task Board (JTB) ie both Federal and State.
The TIN application doesn’t take more than one 1hour to get approved and it is absolutely free whether you are applying through the Federal Inland Revenue, State Inland Revenue, or Joint Task Board.
The use of the TIN is not only for tax payment but also a must requirement to open a business account for your Company.
Step 7. Registration with Other Authorities
This step is not met for every industries, but for some selected industries.
If your business is within the selected industry, you may need to register with other regulatory bodies or obtain additional licenses or permits.
For example, if you are operating a food-related business, you have to register with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) before you can be allowed to operate within the Nigeria business space.
Failer to do so, comes with legal actions that will lead to the closure of your business and potential imprisonment.
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Final Thoughts on registering a business name in Nigeria
To conclude, embarking on the thrilling journey of registering your business name in Nigeria paves the way for numerous opportunities that includes access to business financing and sets the stage for your entrepreneurial aspirations to become a reality.
By diligently following the outlined steps and collaborating with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), you are not merely selecting a name; you are establishing a strong foundation for your business.
Registering your business name can be seen as bestowing an official seal of approval, and propelling it into the vibrant Nigerian market with assurance and credibility.
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