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Your SME checklist – what you need to comply

When you start your small business, it is important to consider what legislature you need to comply with to be a valid business. Here are six points to consider.

Registering your business

You can run your business as a sole proprietorship but then you could be held personally liable if things go badly with your company. Therefore, it is a good idea to consider registering your business. If you live in South Africa, you can contact the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) to register your business.

Register for tax

Whatever type of business you wish to register you need to pay tax. If you register your company through the CIPC, you will automatically be registered with the South African Revenue service (SARS). SARS has a special section for small business which means you may qualify for some tax rebates. Remember if you are a sole proprietorship or a partner you will need to register for provisional tax with SARS directly.

If your business’ sales turnover is more than R1 million per year you should register as a VAT vendor. It is advised to use an accountant to assist with the requirements for VAT payments which you would need to make during the year.

Learn about the labour law

It is very important to familiarise yourself with the labour laws of a country. In South Africa, many small businesses have suffered due to not being aware of labour laws. Do your research. The most important labour law information that every business needs to know about is the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. This Act covers working hours, payments, leave, deductions, notice periods, administration and the prohibition of victimisation and exploitation of workers by the employer and co-workers.

Learn about the Consumer Protection Act

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) was put into effect on the 24 October 2010. This Act was created to ensure the fair treatment of consumers by their suppliers. All commercial transactions are effected by the CPA. It is important for small business to know what is involved in this Act and ensure they are duly protected. You can learn more about the CPA by following this link: https://www.thedti.gov.za/business_regulation/acts/CP_Brochure.pdf

Learn about health and safety

You are responsible for the health and safety of your employees. You need to know who is in your office and ensure that they are protected from any hazardous substance which could cause harm to them. It is your responsibility to make sure that your employees have access to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations, the health and safety rules and procedures of the workplace, and the health and safety standards which the employer must keep at the workplace. You can learn more about the Occupational Health and Safety Act by following this link: http://www.labourguide.co.za/health-and-safety/739-what-every-worker-and-employer-should-know-about.

Municipal by-laws

It is important to look at the by-laws of your municipal area. These laws govern zoning, noise levels, and hygiene to name few. They will affect how your small business operates in certain areas so it is important to look at the by-laws before you establish your business in an area.

When you have covered these aspects you will be well on your way to complying with the laws of South Africa.

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