South African companies and entities breathed a sigh of relief as the deadline for submitting beneficial ownership information to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) passed on 1 October 2023. However, for those who missed the deadline, there’s still a chance to comply. InfoDocs, a local start-up, has emerged as a saving grace, offering a simple and affordable way for businesses to file beneficial ownership declarations.
According to InfoDocs founder and CEO, Joshua Alexandre, more than 6 000 beneficial ownership declarations were submitted via InfoDocs by the 1 October deadline. The majority of these submissions came from professionals assisting privately held businesses in managing CIPC compliance.
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Beneficial owners, individuals who ultimately own or control a company, are now required to be listed in a central database maintained by CIPC. The new regulations, designed to enhance transparency about ownership and control structures, aim to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
Alexandre emphasised the importance of these regulations, stating, “The consequences of not knowing who owns and controls companies in South Africa have been dire. Linking beneficial ownership for all companies and close corporations is an important step in preventing abuse and avoiding further state capture in South Africa.”
Companies falling under different categories such as private companies (PTY), close corporations (CC), non-profits (NPC), and state-owned companies (SOC) are all obligated to file beneficial ownership declarations.
Any individual or entity holding more than 5% beneficial ownership of a company or close corporation must submit a register of beneficial owners to CIPC. Failure to comply could result in penalties, legal fees, and director liability.
While companies can directly access the online system on CIPC’s website, many are deterred by the complexity of the process. This complexity, coupled with the high cost of outsourcing the task to professionals, has left over 72% of businesses non-compliant. Enter InfoDocs, a company that simplifies company secretarial services for directors and shareholders at a fraction of the cost.
InfoDocs works in close collaboration with CIPC, assisting in meeting its mandate by providing an efficient and user-friendly platform. The start-up’s software not only aids companies in submitting annual returns and maintaining statutory registers but also sends timely alerts and notifications regarding submission deadlines.
With over 50 000 companies already using InfoDocs to file returns and make secure payments directly to the CIPC, it has become a cornerstone in ensuring compliance for businesses across South Africa.
For a minimal fee of less than R395 per company per year, InfoDocs offers an all-inclusive package, including beneficial compliance submissions. Alexandre emphasises, “Cost is always important, but non-compliant companies run the risk of attracting penalties, legal fees, and director liability. InfoDocs simplifies compliance for companies, making it a cost-effective and straightforward solution.”
As the nation strives for greater transparency and accountability within its business landscape, InfoDocs stands as a beacon, guiding companies toward compliance and a future free from financial risks and legal complications.