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People used to buy shelf companies for a number of reasons:

  • They needed a company urgently and couldn’t wait while CIPC went through the tedious registration process.
    • It now takes about a day to register a new company at CIPC.
  • They wanted to back-date the sale of the company (for R100) to their trust followed by backdated donations to the company.
    • It is now compulsory to submit a Beneficial Ownership Return to CIPC and also in the company’s Annual Tax Return to SARS. This discloses who the shareholders are, so the change of shareholding can no longer be backdated.
  • They wanted to back-date some other transaction or transactions.
    • The compulsory Beneficial Ownership Returns have put a stop to this.
  • They wanted an old registration number so that it appeared that they had been in business for a few years.
    • This is still a valid reason for buying an old shelf trust.
  • They urgently needed a company that had an import or export licence.
    • And this is now the main reason, so we are registering several of our old shelf companies some for Import, some for Export and some for both.


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