During this tough period we have faced as a country, it is no wonder that many companies find themselves in a tight position when it comes to ensuring full compliance of the business with various authorities. Deadlines can be easily forgotten and eventually missed. However, this may bring with it some serious repercussions.

The CIPC issued a gazette on 27 July, stating that it would finally be deregistering companies and close corporations, as listed on Government Gazette Publication 201906, on 28 August 2020.

The Rules

All companies, regardless of being actively in business or not, are required to file their annual returns with the CIPC on an annual basis within 30 business days of the company’s “anniversary”. If your company has been inactive, it is still legally required to file and pay annual returns, you will simply submit a zero-turnover return.

Companies may file their annual returns after the 30 business days deadline, but a penalty fee will apply.

Why should I file my returns?

The purpose for filing annual returns is to confirm whether a company is still actively in business, or if it will be in the near future.

The annual return may be regarded as a type of annual “renewal” of the company and is not the same as a tax return. A tax return focuses on taxable income in order to determine the tax liability of the company to the State and is filed with SARS.

What happens if I do not file my returns?

If annual returns are not filed within the prescribed time period, the assumption is that the company is inactive and the CIPC will commence the deregistration process to remove the company from its active records.

The legal effect of the deregistration process is that the juristic personality is withdrawn, and the company ceases to exist. Customers will receive a mail notifications of pending deregistration to the postal address of the company as per CIPC records.

Take away

It is important to note that the Companies Act, 2008 and the Close Corporations Act, 1984 require the company itself to file the annual return.

No exemption from filing returns will be granted to companies and the prescribed filing fees for annual returns are legislated and can therefore not be waived by the CIPC.

The CIPC also cannot make arrangements for payment of annual returns in “instalments” since the prescribed fee must accompany the filing. If it does not, the filing is invalidated and must be refiled.

Our firm is now 17 years strong, and has a well-placed team to provide a holistic solution, from submitting your CIPC returns, right through to filing Corporate Income Tax returns with SARS. Should you require our assistance, contact us on or call 011 467 0810