It is vital to register your business name in Nigeria to avoid losing your desired name to a registered business and to take advantage of the perks that come with it. The principal legislation governing business name registration in Nigeria is the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020 while the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is the regulatory body saddled with the responsibilities of regulating the registration, running and cessation of any business name in Nigeria. Part E of CAMA 2020 provides for business name formation which is commonly used by Nigerians due to its ease and low cost of registration. Section 814 specifically stated that a business name could be registered as a sole proprietorship or a partnership. However, irrespective of whether or not a business name or partnership is registered, the law cannot ignore the payment of taxes.
It is important to note that Section 814 (1) (a-c) of CAMA, 2020, specifically highlights three (3) categories of names that must be registered before commencing a business which includes:
- Jointly owned businesses that do not bear the true name of individual partners
- Business owned by individuals that does not bear the true name of the owner
- Companies or corporations whose business name does not bear their corporate name.
Procedures for business name registration in Nigeria are:
The following are the steps by step guide for the registration of a business name in Nigeria:
- Business name availability check:
The first step in registering a business is to see if the desired business name is available. This is done by conducting a business name availability and reservation search on the CAC application portal. Where the name is approved, the Corporate Affairs Commission would thereafter reserve one of the suggested names for a period of sixty days.
- Fill out the required online forms:
To effectively complete the online business name registration, the following information must be provided which include; general nature of the business, full address of the principal place of business, branch address of the business if any, proposed date of commencement of the business and owner’s information (full names, email address, phone number, gender, occupation, residence and service addresses)
- Payment of CAC filing fees:
The remita platform is used to process payments through the Company Registration Portal (CPR).
- Upload of documents
The passport photograph and signature of the business owner or partner as well as a valid means of identification card will be uploaded as part of registration requirements.
Certificate of Registration
The Business Name is entered into the Register of Business Name as contained in Section 816 of CAMA and a certificate of registration is issued once it has been approved. The issued certificate comes with a unique identification number known as the Business Name Number and its certificate must be displayed prominently at the principal place of business.
It is worth noting that the benefits of registering a business name are not limited to Nigerians; foreigners are also granted similar advantages to establish a sole proprietorship or partnership in Nigeria, provided they meet the requirements set out in the existing laws on expatriate quota.
It does not end with registration; a registered business name goes on to carry out the rest of the obligations as contained in the Act and legislations. Regardless of whether or not a business is registered under CAMA, it must pay its appropriate taxes (value added tax, personal income tax of the owners and employees etc). It also has to file its returns and periodic Business Name Annual Returns with the Corporate Affairs Commission, which is a legal requirement. Also, having a record with the Commission allows you to amend and update the business name or partnership’s details.
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