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How to Register a Business in Ghana

If you are reading this, then chances are that you have a great business idea and you are doing some research on how to register a business in Ghana. As part of the objectives to become a legitimate business in Ghana, you need to know how to register a business in Ghana. Depending on the nature of your business, you can either register your business all by yourself (the hard way), through a licensed private company like Bizaccess (the most efficient way) or with the aid of a lawyer. In Ghana, you can register your business as a sole proprietor, limited liability, partnership or limited by shares company. We will expand on these types of business registrations in Ghana and how to register your business in Ghana within this article.

READ ALSO: What You Need To Know About Company Registration In Ghana

7 Steps on how to register a business in Ghana

  1. Have a Business name.
  2. Have an ID preferably the Ghana Card.
  3. Do a Business name check.
  4. Purchase and fill out forms.
  5. Submit the forms.
  6. Make necessary payments.
  7. Pick up the registration certificate.

This is the general procedure for registering a business with the Registrar General Department in Ghana and it normally takes about a month to complete. Depending on the type of business you are registering, you will need an auditor, secretary, directors and a lawyer to help you complete your forms. You could also choose to work with Business Regulatory Compliance Services or Back-Office Support Services like Biz Access to get your registration done within 10 days.

Facts to know if you are interested in business registration in Ghana.

  • You must register your business if you are trading under a business name in Ghana.
  • You can either do a walk-in or do online registration.
  • An identification card. Eg. a Ghana card, Passport or a voters identification card. The Ghana Card is currently the card of choice for business registrations.
  •  The registrar general department (RGD) is responsible for all business registrations in Ghana.
  • The registrar general department is also responsible for business name searches in Ghana.
  • Your business registration certificate must be renewed annually.
  •  In Ghana, the maximum number of persons that can form a partnership is 20.
  • The Ghana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) Tax Identification Number (TIN) centre has co-located at the premises of the Registrar General Department, to provide a one-stop-shop office issuing TINs. 
  • You need a tax identification number/TIN to register a business in Ghana.

These are basic requirements if you are planning to register a business in Ghana. Now, to how to register a business in Ghana. From April 1, 2021, the Ghana Card Personal Identification Number (Ghana card PIN) was decided by the government of Ghana to become the new TIN, for the objective of maintaining the Taxpayer Identification Numbering System, of people who are liable to register and pay tax to the state. 

Taxpayer identification number (TIN) registration 

This is an identification number used for tax payment, it is used as a unique way to identify taxpayers and potential taxpayers, and for organizations, a TIN is required for their liable business activities for tax payment. TIN numbers are mandatory for any working Ghanaian. You can view and download the TIN online forms, fill them out and submit them to the GRA office for processing.

Organizations can register for their TIN only after they have been registered at the Ghana revenue department (GRD).

The organizational TIN registration applies to these companies 

  • Business Names
  • Companies limited by shares (Including subsidiaries)
  • Companies limited by guarantee
  • External companies
  • Partnerships
  • Subsidiary Business Names

How to register your business name in Ghana

Your company’s name can say a lot about what you strive to achieve and it can be used as a great strategy for marketing. You can do a business name search at the Registrar General’s department, or you could do it online. If the name is available, you need to do a name reservation which is usually valid for only 30 days unless you seek special permission for your company.  

Know that the Registrar General Department may reject names that are similar to existing ones, to avoid any attached legal implications that may come with it. In short, your name should be unique. Make sure you verify your business name before you go ahead to get your domain name or host your website or print your business name on any flyer. Always do a business name search first. Here are answers to some basic questions about business name registration.

business registration in Ghana

Why should I register my business name in Ghana?

In Ghana, like in most countries, registering the name of your business is a legal obligation. If you choose not to register it guarantees that you have no right to use them; this means that another trader with a similar name to your own can start using the said name (officially); you will have no power to stop them. Having a business certificate in Ghana is very important for your business and you will need to register your business name to get it.

READ ALSO: How To Liquidate Or Dissolve A Company In Ghana

Walk-in Procedure for registration of your business name.

You can decide to walk into the Registrar General’s department office in Accra and go through the process of registering your business. Below is a detailed step by step process of registering your business name in Ghana. 

Note that: You can also register your sole-proprietorship through these steps 

  • Pick up the prescribed form, from the registrar general’s department.
  • Submit the completed form along with the required processing fee of GHS 60.00 to the in house bank at the registrar general’s office.
  • A payment slip will be generated for the payment you made.
  • The filled document is left at the in-house bank for onward processing.
  • You will have your fully completed business registration within 14-28 working business days.
  •  You will be given a certified true copy of your form and a business

registration certificate.

  • Know that you will have to do a renewal each year at a fee of GH 25 Cedis; the price of renewing your business differs in accordance with the type of business you are running. 
  • The applicant needs to visit the GRA Head office in Accra to complete the process of registering their business name.

How to re-register your business(name)

As a business, you are required to renew your registration once every year. This is not to be confused with re-registration. In 2012, the RGD embarked on a digitization exercise that required all businesses to reregister to be digitized. If your business was registered before 2012 then you will have to have it re-registered.

So all you need to do is pick up, complete and submit the application for re-registration of business name at the registrar general’s department regarding the type of business you want.  At the registrar add to the form you filled out, your old business registration particulars, which may include your business profile, registration certificates and any other relevant document you need to add and submit to the registrar. Re-registration of companies only apply to companies registered before 2012.

Note that: You should have your filed annual returns up to date. To file your annual returns you will need your Financial Statement for the year Underview(Auditors Report) and Particulars of every member of your company or business.

 External Companies are not excused from filing. If an individual or a business fails to re-register then by the constitution of the country the individual or company shall be deemed to have terminated and the registrar may remove the business name

Renewal of business registration in Ghana

Renewal fees for business registrations in Ghana differ according to the type of business you own or run. Renewal of business registrations is mainly for sole proprietorship and partnerships and filing of annual returns for limited liability.

  • Sole Proprietorship: GHC 25.00
  • Company limited by shares: GHC 50.00
  • Company limited by guarantee: GHC 50.00

For companies limited by shares and guarantees, you will need to have a financial statement from your auditors.

What are the requirements for Business registration in Ghana?

Registering your business is a time-consuming process full of technical jargon, auditors, and sometimes lawyers depending on the nature of the business you are registering. These are the requirements for every type of business that can be registered in Ghana.

  • Nature of your business: mainly what type of business you are running or planning to. To do this you need to know the type of business you have so you can go through the right procedure
  • Name of your business: if you do decide on a name you should try to cross-check at the registrar general department to make sure the name you have decided on is not the property of another company or business
  • Place of the business: It is important because it allows the registrar general department to know where you are based and that you are not running a business illegally 
  • Any other place the business is conducted 
  • Name, residential address, nationality and the occupation of the sole proprietor: 
  • Your TIN
  • Any form of legal identification required by the registrar general department

Types of business registration in Ghana 

To know how to register your business in Ghana you need to know the various business entities that can be registered under the laws of Ghana. This can help you know the legal structure to choose from. The basic types you may be looking to get registered in include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability 
  • Limited by shares
  • Corporations (external companies)
how to register a business in ghana, people in a conference room discussing

 Sole proprietorship: this type of business is an unincorporated business usually owned and run by a single individual, registering a sole-proprietorship is more convenient and less costly as compared to other forms of business.  The registration procedure for a sole proprietor business is less complicated and less costly than other business registration forms. If you need to register your business under this form, you should have already commended the business beforehand. If you choose to use a trading name and if the individual’s surname is not used, you are required to register.

How to register your business online in Ghana (sole proprietorship)

Business registration has never been easier, now with access to good internet you can register your business in the comfort of your own space. Ghana’s registrar general department has introduced the online business registration process in 2017. But let’s be honest this online process is not so helpful; for one too many reasons the process does not seem to work and ends up with you having to go to the office.

 If you want to register your business with ease; avoid joining the overly long queues, to just be turned away when you finally get to the front of the queue because it is the attendants break time or for whatever reason they give you. You should try Bizacess, an independent digital platform committed to assisting companies and businesses to meet regulatory compliance in ghana. We help you register your business from wherever you are in the world.

If you do insist on registering your business through ghana’s registrar general department then you can follow the steps below:

  • Download a copy of FORM A; complete, sign, scan and upload the completed copy 
  • On the web page click on the entity registration link 
  • Click on the create a new button if your chosen name has not been reserved click on create name reservation button 
  • Fill in all required information
  • Upload the scanned and completed and signed FORM A 
  • Make your online payment via GEPP
  • Your application status will be communicated via SMS 
  • Generate eCertificate and associated documents 

Partnership: It is simply an association between two or more individuals or companies, who have joined forces to make a profit. This can be done when a business wants to share liability for a company investment without the stringent requirements associated with incorporating a company. In Ghana to register a partnership, you will need a copy of a signed partnership agreement and a statement, certain particulars like the name of your partnership, the nature of your business, the data of commencement of your business, and all other places the business exists which will be submitted to the registrar general’s department. Under Ghana's law partnerships must be incorporated under the incorporated private partnerships Act, 1962 (Act 152). 

When the liability of a partnership is unlimited, it means that the personal properties of the partners can be sold to cover up for debts incurred. 

Read for more: information about a partnership 

Some basic requirements for partnership relationship of two or more owners, who should

  • Be above the age of 18
  • Not be a company or another registered partnership
  • Be of sound mind
  • Not to have been found guilty of  any criminal offences involving fraud or dishonesty in the preceding five years 

Companies limited by guarantee in Ghana: This type of company has liabilities of its members limited to the amounts that they respectively are guaranteed to contribute to the assets of the company in case of liquidation. This type of company is not allowed to pay dividends, distribute or return any assets to members but to continuously apply the income and property of the company towards the progression of its objectives; so requirements of this type of company are to not permitted to make profits, ( for example charities, NGO’s, churches and social enterprises) this means that no initial funds are needed and the funds they collect should be those funds are obtained from other sources, e.g., endowments and donations. The company is also not authorised to be involved in trading. 

How to register your business in Ghana (Company limited by guarantee)

  • The applicant needs to visit the GRA Head office in Accra to complete this
  •  The applicant is allowed to purchase regulations and a set of FORM 3A from the in house bank or via an online download
  • The applicant should provide a consent letter from a certified auditor by the institute of chartered auditors and must be registered as a sole proprietor/partnership
  •       A minimum of two directors/ executive members is required and each must submit a statutory declaration and letter of approval form (a minimum of one subscriber needed)
  • The applicant needs a secretary (corporate body acting as a secretary/individual) required; a private company limited by guarantee can have 2 to 50 members
  •     Form 3A must be witnessed by a commissioner of oaths/ a notary/self–declared
  •   Submit filled forms at the company registration counter for verification and capturing or via an online link: here
  •  Pay a processing fee of GHS 270.00 at the in-house bank or via a link
  • The register issues
  •     Certificate of incorporation
  •   Certified copy (CTC) of standard/registered constitution of the company
  • Certified copy (CTC) of form
  •      File annual returns at GHS 50.00 together with audited account
business certificate in Ghana

How can I get a business permit in Ghana?

 In Ghana, a business is expected to obtain a business operation permit. This allows you to do as the name suggests and operate your business in your metropolitan jurisdiction. For a business operation in Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi, Ejura-Sekyedumase Municipal Assemblies 

Company limited by shares in Ghana (private/public limited company): This type of company, unlike a company limited by shares, is an incorporated one with shares capital so it can not offer its shares to the public. Such a company can either be public or private.  An association between two to fifty people and its shares must expressly show the fact of its limited liability to the members who are owners of the company; directors, secretaries, and auditors who are the company’s officers. The last word of a company limited by shares should be limited or the use of its abbreviation “ltd”. Read here for more information

Unlimited liability company: This company is quite similar to the limited liability company except for the liabilities of its owners/members are unlimited. In this type of company, the liabilities of the shareholders for debt requirements in the company is unlimited. It is usually registered by professional bodies such as auditing, law firms, architectural firms. In an unlimited liability company, it is the legal duty of the business owners to repay in full the debt and other financial obligations of their company. Read more 

How to register your business in Ghana (Company limited or unlimited by guarantee)

Business registrations differ per type as stated. This section will look at business registration in Ghana for companies limited or unlimited by guarantee.

  • An applicant may purchase a set of limited liability forms from the in-house bank or via an online download
  • Provide from an auditor (by the Institute of chartered auditors) a letter of consent 
  • The letter of consent should be registered as a sole proprietor/partnership
  • FORM 3 must be witnessed by a commissioner for oaths/notary public/ self-declared
  • Submit a statutory declaration and consent letter with the registration FORM ( you will need a minimum of two directors)
  • Submit the filled forms at the company registration counter for verification and capturing or you could also submit them online here
  • You will then have to pay an amount of GHS 230.00 for incorporation or via online and GHS 50.00 as a filing fee and 0.5% stamp duty on the stated capital at the in-house bank or via online
  • Register examines, approves and issues 
  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Certified copy (CTC) of standard/registered constitution of the company
  • Certified copy (CTC) of FORM 3
  • File annual returns at GHS 50.00 together with audited account
  • The applicant needs to visit the GRA Head office in Accra to complete this

What is the cost of registering a business as a foreigner?

If you are interested in becoming a business owner in Ghana it will cost you a cool $1,200 or its equivalent in your currency. Read more about foreign business or company registration in Ghana: Here

READ ALSO: How Foreign Investors Can Register a Business with the GIPC

EXTERNAL COMPANY: This type of company is usually registered by the local manager on behalf of the company. An external company exists outside the jurisdiction of Ghana. Businesses that engage in such transactions are owned by a company interested in branching out to have their businesses outside their local. The local manager (Ghana) of an external company is required to be a citizen of the country. Read more 

 How to register your business in Ghana (external company)

  • An applicant must download or purchase FORMS 20 and 21
  • Provide a CTC certified true copy of the memorandum and articles of the association of the company registering outside in-country (should be in English)
  • Provide a certified true copy of the certificate of incorporation, the constitutions of the external company, and a power of attorney of the local manager; this is to be endorsed by the Ghana Mission in the country or one in the nearest company.
  • Ghana mission in that original country or the nearest access to one.
  • Submit the completed forms at any GRD office or online and pay the prescribed processing fee of US$1200 or in its Cedi equivalent
  • Filing of annual returns each year at US$600 or Cedi equivalent with Group Account
  • The applicant needs to visit the GRA Head office in Accra to complete this process. 

BIZACCESS is an amazing platform where one can conveniently and remotely access the services they need; on this platform, you can find the assistance you need to help your company meet their regulator compliance.

We hope this article has been of great help, so now with some knowledge on how to register your business in Ghana you can launch your business franchise; with some help from Bizaccess, you have no excuse to hold off on your goals of starting any type of business or fulfil your dream of becoming an authentic business in Ghana. Download our business registration app or contact us to have your business registered the right way without any queues and setbacks. Biz Access has a team of lawyers and auditors who can perform the tedious task of business registration in Ghana on your behalf.

DISCLAIMER:

BIZACCESS is a Corporate Secretarial Services & Consultancy Firm specialised in the provision of Business Regulatory Compliance Support in Ghana. In an attempt to serve our growing customer base and international clients, we launched this platform to conveniently and remotely serve our customers in regards to registering a business in Ghana.

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