Do you need to do your CIPC annual Return?

When we chat with business owners about their CIPC annual return, we too often get blank stares with a small side of fear.  “Oh no, not another compliance issue we need to take care of” is the reply.

Ok, so let’s put things right here and help lay your fear to rest, a bit.

Yes, every registered business needs to submit an annual return to CIPC. It is not a very tedious task and only takes a few minutes of online work. But it can only be done through a person or business that has a registered account with CIPC.  EM Solutions has such an account.

So, what needs to be done? On or as close to the annual anniversary of the registration of your business a submission needs to be made on the CIPC system detailing your last annual turnover, business email address and telephone number and description of the business.

Payment is scaled according to the turnover and ranges from R100 for turnover less than R1 million to R3000 for a turnover of more than R25 million. There are also late payment fees applicable to anything older than 3 months.

This equates to not a huge amount of money, but by not submitting your annual return could result in your business being listed as deregistered by CIPC. Once this happens, your bank will be notified and soon all your contracts, lease and creditors will become aware of this and you will become personally liable for any outstanding overdraft, accounts payable and surety that has been signed for.

Gulp! So please check when last you submitted your annual return or contact us to check for you directly on CIPC and we will advise you accordingly.

Compliance is just one of those things you need to do to run a sustainable business.

By |2018-06-18T09:12:08+02:00June 18th, 2018|Entrepreneurship, Financial Management, Legal|0 Comments

File Returns or else….

Having received SARS’ current press release declaring non-submission of tax returns a crime, I realised it is quite possible to live an innocent life without stealing from anyone but find oneself at the wrong end of the law. SARS declares that the courts would declare one guilty by omission if they fail to file their tax returns. Unlike Spain, the United States and other nations; South Africa has never had any high-profile cases of non-compliance with local tax laws.

When we think of tax crimes globally, high profile names in sports and the entertainment world come to mind. Like Wesley Snipes, who failed to submit tax returns from 1999 to 2001. This resulted in the fiscus being deprived of US$7m in taxes, resulting in a three-year jail sentence. Other high profile individuals who were convicted for failure to file tax returns are Jeffrey Atkins (famously known as Ja Rule), Joseph Cartagena (Fat Joe), Dolce & Gabanna (exonerated in 2013) e.t.c resulting in huge fines and prison sentences.

In SARS recent press release they explicitly declare the criminality of failing to submit tax returns and that they have engaged the National Prosecuting Authority in order to facilitate the prosecution of would-be offenders. This could be an individual who fails to submit their returns may end in prison or being fined; resulting in a criminal record. This would affect several professionals whose occupations require that they should not have criminal records. SARS also fired warning shots at prominent South Africans who have not filed their tax returns. It is clear that they are not too far from the reach of the long arm of the law.

These far-reaching measures were necessitated by an increase in non-submission of tax returns. At the end of March 2018, SARS’ Outstanding Returns Book showed that 30 million returns were outstanding from active taxpayers. SARS did emphasize that criminal prosecution will be applied as a last resort; after all other measures to ensure compliance have been exhausted. All the individuals who will appear in court have been engaged beforehand and had been issued with final demands. A good example of the conviction of Mr S. Ragunat in Port Shepstone. As a representative of SPS Distributors, he paid an R5,600 fine for the non-submission of 50 tax returns for VAT, PAYE and Corporate Tax. He has since complied.

Going forward, it is prudent to ensure all tax returns are filed on time and to work towards filing any outstanding returns to avoid prosecution. It appears SARS phone calls on outstanding returns and final demand notices can no longer be taken lightly. The grey-area has always been for those below the income tax thresholds and companies registered for PAYE but currently, do not have employees. For the former, it is advisable that you file tax returns regardless of your income to avoid SARS penalties as what happened last year. It will be difficult 3 or 4 years later to prove to SARS that you were below the tax threshold as the documents may no longer be accessible. If the company is registered for PAYE and currently has no employees, it is advisable to continue filing nil returns until the position changes for the company. As for those who chose to bury their heads in the sand and complicit taxpayers, well the whip has been cracked and you may find oneself behind bars.

By |2018-05-10T15:05:41+02:00May 10th, 2018|Legal|0 Comments

An introduction to Patents

This article comes from the website of VonSiedels with their permission

What is a patent?
A patent is a limited monopoly granted by the state to an inventor, or other person entitled to the invention, in exchange for a full disclosure of the invention to the public. This monopoly entitles the patent holder to prevent others from using the invention in any practical manner for the duration of the patent so that only the patent holder enjoys any profit or advantage that the invention affords for the period. After expiry of the period members of the public is free to use the invention.
Is my invention patentable?
To be patentable in South Africa an invention must be new, inventive and useful.
“New” means that the invention has not been made available to the public anywhere in the world – by word of mouth, by use, in any printed publication, or in any other way – before a first application is made for a patent. It is difficult to establish whether an invention is, in fact, new, but novelty may be assessed by carrying out searches through existing printed publications that include previously published patent specifications.
“Inventive” means that the invention must not be obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art to which the invention relates. Put differently, the invention must not be so similar to what was available or used previously that it required little or no ingenuity to make the invention; that is to say, it must involve an inventive step. For example, it would be obvious to make an article that was previously made exclusively of metal in a plastic material, if there were no special and unforeseeable advantages to making it in plastic.
“Useful” means the invention must be capable of being applied in trade, industry or agriculture.
In addition to the above three requirements, there are certain “inventions” which cannot be patented in South Africa. The most important of these are pure business methods and computer programs. This prohibition, however, does not extend to inventions that merely make use of business methods or computer programs, while not constituting business methods or computer programs as such. We urge you to contact us if you are uncertain as to whether an invention constitutes a pure business method or computer program.
Lastly, a method of treatment of the human or animal body by surgery, therapy or diagnosis is not patentable in South Africa.
How long does a patent last?
A South African patent lasts 20 years from the date of application, subject to the payment of annual renewal fees as from the third anniversary of the filing date.
How easily can someone else get around my patent?
The scope of protection afforded by a patent is defined by the patent claims. A well-drafted set of patent claims will prevent others from being able to reverse-engineer the invention by including or excluding inessential features while still using the basic idea of the invention. This is why the use of patent attorneys who are experienced in the drafting of patent specifications is so important.
What can I do with a patent?
A patent is property and may be sold (by way of assignment) or licensed for use by others. Alternatively, a patent can be used defensively to prevent others from exploiting the invention, provided the patent holder exercises with the invention to an adequate extent.
How do I apply for a patent?
A patent application is made by filing a patent specification, together with the necessary forms and government fees, at the Patent Office in Pretoria. The patent specification, which includes a description of the invention as well as any drawings which may be necessary for a clear understanding of the description, may be either a provisional or complete patent specification.
If the invention is not yet in its final form it is preferable to file a provisional patent application first, and then a complete patent application within 12 months, because improvements made to the invention can be incorporated into the complete patent specification. A complete application may be in the first instance if sufficient information about the invention and its implementation are available.
If given a description of the invention, we will prepare the patent specification and the necessary forms and file a patent application on your behalf. All the administrative functions will be carried out by our offices.
How do I get patents in other countries?
A patent application must be filed in each country in which protection is sought. However, in respect of most countries in the world, corresponding foreign patent applications can be filed within 12 months from the first patent application in terms of the Paris Convention.
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) provides a mechanism to delay the filing of individual foreign applications by a further 18 months and also provides a facility for tailoring a patent specification according to the results of an international search and examination. Should you require patent protection in more than 2 or 3 foreign countries, we usually recommend filing a PCT patent application, unless it is essential that granted patents be obtained in the foreign countries as soon as possible.
A PCT application must be filed within 12 months from the date of first filing a patent application, regardless of whether the first patent application is a provisional or complete South African patent application.
What are the costs involved?
The cost involved in preparing and filing a provisional or complete patent application will vary from case to case and will depend on the length of the patent specification and that will, in turn, depend on the technology and the type of invention.

By |2017-11-15T15:36:41+02:00November 15th, 2017|General, Legal|0 Comments

Are you ready for POPI?

POPI or the Protection of Personal Information Act is coming. We are not sure when or how, but coming it is and businesses of all sizes need to be ready and compliant or face the consequences.

Now I am sure that you will join in with the millions of others and just brush it off as yet another Act from the government that will not be implemented and if it is, it will never be enforced. And Yes, I agree with a lot of that, but the POPI act does give us some good guidelines as to how we should be running our businesses and how we need to and should be handling the sensitive data of our staff and clients.

So I would suggest that you either enroll in one of those expensive courses that are currently being run by all sorts of people across the country of doing some research for yourself and find out exactly what you and your firm are in for before you spend any money.

We are on this quest and doing a bunch of reading, listening, and research to find out exactly what small businesses need to do and be to become compliant. This we will share here and on various webinars over the next few months. So you can relax a bit and read these articles or do your own research.

What we have learned so far is this: There is nothing that needs to be done now: so relax. If you are just a normal business with client lists, a mailing list, and some backups: there is very little to do other than firm up your business processes and maybe write a document or two. If you are in the mass market with many different types of lists, marketing platforms or if you manage people’s sensitive information such as financial or health data: then you need to do a whole bunch more.

This serves just as an initial warning to put POPI on your radar for the next 6 months as an investigation then later for some form of implementation.  If you want to add to this or learn more then, please contact us on this website and we would love to engage with you and chat further. POPI goes well with Coffee.

By |2017-08-23T11:07:17+02:00August 23rd, 2017|Legal|0 Comments
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