Business Formats

A business trust as a legal entity

Trusts have been used for many years to protect the assets of its beneficiaries, but it can also be used as a format under which to conduct business. Structured correctly, it can be the most practical and appropriate legal entity for your venture. Choosing to set up your business within the legal framework of a business trust affords certain protections and advantages that other legal entities do not. We look at these very briefly in this article, so it's important to speak to a trust attorney about your specific needs.

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A co-operative as a business entity

A co-operative is an independent association of persons who join forces to meet their specific needs through a jointly owned enterprise. This article explores the concept of co-operatives as business entities by answering some of the following questions: What is a co-operative? What are the characteristics of a co-operative? What are the principles of the co-operatives? What are the benefits? How do you start a co-operative?

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A partnership as a legal entity

You're either about to start your business, have found that being a one-man show doesn't work anymore or some like-minded business people would like to become part of your business. Whatever the reason, you may decide to enter into a Partnership. The basic definition of a Partnership is an association of between two and twenty people who are contractually bound to one another to operate a joint, profit-generating business. This article breaks down what a partnership is and why it may be an ideal business format.

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Advantages and disadvantages of sole proprietorship

When you are deciding what kind of business to open, it's important to have the most appropriate format for practical, legal and tax purposes. Is a sole proprietorship right for you? A sole proprietorship is the simplest kind of independent business, as it doesn't need to be registered as a legal entity. You can only choose this option if you're a single owner, though, whether or not you employ or contract other people during the course of your work. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of sole proprietorship to help you decide.

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Choosing the right business format for your enterprise

Before you jump right into starting your own business, there are many things to consider. One of these, is choosing the most appropriate legal entity under which to register your company. Choosing the right format is an important part of setting up a business, especially since some forms of enterprise must be registered with the Registrar of Companies, and need to meet certain legal requirements. Your business format will depend very much on the nature and size of your business, and should suit your specific needs. Here is a basic guide to the process.

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Close Corporations under the new Companies Act

The new Companies Act of 2008 came into effect on the 1st of May 2011, which also saw the replacement of Cipro with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). This article takes a brief look at certain important aspects worth noting about close corporations (CCs) in light of the Companies Act. Additional information on Close Corporations can be found on the CIPC's website.

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Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)

The CIPC was established by the Companies Act, 2008 (Act No. 71 of 2008) as a juristic person to function as an organ of state within the public administration, but as an institution outside the public service. Its main functions include the registration of Companies, Co-operatives and Intellectual Property Rights (trade marks, patents, designs and copyright) and maintenance thereof as well as the disclosure of Information on its business registers, among others. Find out more in this article.

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Getting expert help to start or run your business

When starting your business, there are certain occasions when it's advisable to get professional advice. A lawyer, for example, can explain the conditions of your loan agreements, contracts and leases. On the other hand, entrepreneurs are at times so intimidated by certain processes that they hire professionals when they can actually do it themselves. So how do you know when it's best to call in an expert and when it's okay to do it yourself?

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Ombudsman for Banking Services

The Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS), also referred to as “the OBS”, resolves individual complaints about banking services and products. We do this in an impartial, independent, confidential and speedy manner. Any bank customer who has a complaint against his or her bank may approach the Ombudsman for Banking Services for assistance. We resolve complaints by investigating matter according to the rules of the OBS. If the matter has not been resolved by negotiation after investigation, a firm decision may be taken. The decision may be in the form of a recommendation or a determination.

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Registering a private company

The Companies Act provides for two categories of companies, namely non-profit and profit companies. Each of the different business entities under these categories has specific requirements in terms of the documentation that is required. There are five types of companies that you can register. However, for the purposes of this article, we will look at how to register a private company (a (Pty) Ltd), which is the most common and simplest form of company to be registered.

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Six ways in which companies should be transparent and accountable

The new Companies Act 71 of 2008 (“the Act”) which came into effect on 1 April 2011, imposes greater transparency and accountability requirements on all companies. Many SMEs ask whether the concept of transparency and accountability apply to them or only to big corporates. The Act applies to all companies regardless of size, and non-compliance may result in penalties. Here are six ways for your company to be more accountable.

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South African Fraud Prevention Services (SAFPS)

The Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) is a proudly South African non profit company committed to combating fraud across the financial services industry by providing a shared database to member organisations as well as offering the South African public a means of protecting themselves against impersonation and identity theft. From an initial membership of only two banks, the SAFPS now provides fraud related data to some 65 trusted brands in the South African economy.

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Statutory requirements to register a business

There seems to be so many legal and statutory requirements when setting up a business that sometimes it's hard to know where to start, and whether or not you're doing everything you're legally obliged to do. With the new Companies Act having come in to play, the rules have changed, so let's look at that and go through the steps to getting your business registered.

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The dangers of co-ownership of assets

Many business people are involved in commercial partnerships, and are familiar with their rights and obligations in relation to their partners.  However, not everyone is familiar with the rights and obligations flowing from co-ownership of an asset, as a recent court case (Claassen v Quenstedt [2014] ZAECPEHC 18) demonstrates. Here is what you should be aware of when considering co-ownership of assets in a commercial property.

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The terms of a shareholders' agreement

In the hype of big brands and big business, many people lose sight of the fact that a company is in essence nothing more than a group of people working together towards the common goal of year-end profit. But it is often this key characteristic of a company that determines its success or failure. Without a properly defined structure regulating the working relationship between shareholders and directors, a business can become weighed down by internal disputes, animosity and deadlock. To ensure your business partnership goes off without a hitch, look at these terms for a shareholders' agreement.

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Tips for choosing the right business partner

It's important to know exactly what you are getting into when choosing a partner to go into business with. There are many things to take into account when choosing a partner for your business, but this article looks at the some of the most important or most common issues people face. In doing so, the article looks at tips on how to find the right business partner, including finding someone with integrity and not wasting your time on anyone who does not share your vision.

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Unlocking the legal issues related to your business

Contracts, tax legislation and other Acts relating to your business can be complicated and getting an attorney to help may be very costly. Of course, there is also the question of whether you even know what your legal obligations are. LawUnlocked provides an online tool that may be able to help you assess what your legal obligations are with regards to various aspects of running your business.

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Women's Legal Centre

The Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) is a non-profit law centre that seeks to achieve equality for women, particularly black women through impact based litigation, the provision of free legal advice, legal support to advocacy campaigns run by other organizations (which fall within the Center’s objectives) and training that ensures people know and understand the impact of judgements of the courts on the subject of women’s rights. The WLC also provides legal advice to the other non-governmental women’s organizations nationally and in Africa. 

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