7 July 2022

SAICA encourages companies to use the CIPC process to apply for voluntary deregistration

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), published a notice on 22 June 2022 that will allow companies and/or close corporations (CCs) that are classified as “in deregistration”, to transfer their deregistration from 1 July 2022 by the CIPC due to the non-submission of annual returns (AR Deregistration) to “voluntary deregistration”.

Juanita Steenekamp, SAICA Project Director for Governance and Legislation, said that this would be a much quicker route to deregister companies and/or CCs, than the current process where companies and/or CCs that have not submitted their annual returns for a few years, would actually have to submit all outstanding returns, pay all outstanding fees and then apply for voluntary deregistration or wait for the CIPC process to be classified as deregistered.

In order for companies and/or CCs to transfer their deregistration, the following supporting documents must be included: a certified ID copy of the person signing the request; the tax number of the company or CC; a tax clearance certificate or any other written confirmation from SARS that no tax liability is outstanding; a statement confirming that the company or CC is not carrying on business or is dormant and has no assets or because of the inadequacy of its assets, that there is no reasonable probability of the close corporation being liquidated (if a third party, the statement must be supplemented with sufficient documentary proof confirming the statement). If the company or CC submits the request, the letter must be signed by at least 50% of the active directors of the company or members of the CC, or otherwise by the third party who is requesting the deregistration; and if a third party is applying for the deregistration, documentary proof must be submitted, confirming the statement that the company or CC is not carrying on business or is dormant; and that the company or CC has no assets, or because of the inadequacy of its assets, there is no reasonable probability of the company being liquidated (if a third party, the statement must be supplemented with sufficient documentary proof confirming the statement).

Steenekamp says that the process prescribed by the CIPC for companies and/or CCs to be transferred from “AR Deregistration” to “Voluntary Deregistration” requires that the company and/or CC prepare a letter that must be submitted to the CIPC requesting a change to the status from “AR Deregistration” to “Voluntary Deregistration” and a statement on why the company and/or CC did not file its annual returns.

The process to deregister voluntarily should take up to four months but where the company and/or CC is to be deregistered for not submitting annual returns or being inactive, the process can take up to seven years. Various companies and/or CCs that did not submit their annual returns are classified at the CIPC as “in deregistration”.

At present the process to be deregistered by the CIPC where the company and/or CC has not applied for voluntary deregistration and the CIPC identifies a company and/or CC that has not filed an annual return for two years or the company and/or CC was inactive for at least seven years, the CIPC physically posts the notification of pending deregistration to the company’s registered address in which they request confirmation that the company and/or CC is still active and to request that the company and/or CC lodge all outstanding annual returns.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that the addresses are not updated or many of these companies and/or CCs do not actually exist anymore there is no response, and the mail is often returned. The CIPC after a certain period continues to publish the names of the companies and/or CCs that are being deregistered in the Government Gazette. The last gazette was published on 25 October 2021 and included 3 352 pages of names of companies and/or CCs that were deregistered.

The fact that the deregistration process takes a long time has a financial impact on these companies and/or CCs as they still have to submit tax returns to SARS and would still be seen as active employers by the Compensation Fund and UIF. Directors or members also need to take note that they continue to be personally liable for all debts that are incurred during this period, even though the company and/or CC no longer trades.

Voluntarily deregistration normally takes a shorter period and according to the CIPC’s service standards, it takes approximately 10 days to process such a request and a further four months to be completed.

Steenekamp states that this notice and alternative process from CIPC is a positive development and companies and/or CCs must utilise this opportunity to apply for voluntary deregistration, which will be much quicker and more efficient, even though, depending on volume, it might take longer than four months, and it would be less costly than waiting for the AR deregistration process.


The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), South Africa’s pre-eminent accountancy body, is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes. The Institute provides a wide range of support services to more than 50 000 members and associates who are chartered accountants (CAs[SA]), as well as associate general accountants (AGAs[SA]) and accounting technicians (ATs[SA]), who hold positions as CEOs, MDs, board directors, business owners, chief financial officers, auditors and leaders in every sphere of commerce and industry, and who play a significant role in the nation’s highly dynamic business sector and economic development.

Chartered Accountants are highly valued for their versatile skill set and creative lateral thinking, that's why all of the top 100 Global Brands employ Chartered Accountants.

SAICA Media Contacts

Kgauhelo Dioka, ***@saica.co.za

Project Manager: Communications

SAICA Brand Division

Renette Human, ***@saica.co.za

Project Director: Communications

SAICA Brand Division