Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Company in the Philippines

Aerial view of skyscrapers in the city during daytime

Searching for the sector in which you are involved

It is important to recognize certain businesses that are not open to foreigners, so before registering a new company, it is best to visit government agencies responsible for registering companies in the Philippines to make your enquiries.

Choose and register a business name

In various departments of states in the Philippines, registration of proposed business names is carried out and is based on the type of business you choose to register and there are various business models and investors can choose from and it will be to your advantage to review the administrative and related requirements. If you are not familiar with the business climate in the Philippines, you can build your business on different types of business structures or legal entities.

DTI logo

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for a sole proprietorship

Sole Proprietorship – In the Philippines, a sole proprietor is someone who is personally liable for any liabilities incurred in the company. Nevertheless, they also get full advantage of any benefit incurred by the company. Business and personal interests are, in practice, treated as a single body.

SEC logo

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a business or partnership firm

Partnership – A different legal entity is this partnership corporate arrangement. You have the possibility to select a corporate arrangement with restricted or limitless liabilities through a partnership. You need to register your interests with the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to have a greater relationship in the Philippines.

Corporation – In the Philippines, a corporation must have at least five shareholders with a minimum capital stake. The liability of the shareholders, however, is then capped at the cumulative amount of their money invested. The investor has to register his company with the Commission on Securities and Trade.

CDA logo

Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) for a cooperative business

Cooperatives – Cooperatives are democratically governed by their members, with a single vote in the election of the board of directors for each member. Cooperatives can include: companies owned and operated by organizations run by individuals who use their services (a customer cooperative) (worker cooperatives)

SEC logo

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a branch office or representative office

Branch Office – A branch in the Philippines is an extension of a foreign company carrying the same activities as the parent company. Here, the only difference is the business is carried out in a different country following the rules and regulations of that country.

Representative Office – In the Philippines, a representative office is a business that is primarily set up to promote the parent company. Only the legislation requires them to conduct market analysis, study customers and other related inquiries. The law does not authorize them in the country to conduct buying and selling activities.

Choose an office address

In various departments of states in the Philippines, registration of proposed business names is carried out and it is based on the type of business you want to register.

The cities listed below were ranked based on the number of procedures, days to process, and the cost of the processing.

  1. City of Manila
  2. City of Makati
  3. General Santos City
  4. Davao City
  5. Taguig City
  6. Valenzuela City
  7. Cebu City
  8. Marikina City
  9. Mandaluyong City
  10. Pasay City

Apply and secure the needed clearance and business permits

You are required to obtain all the permits, licenses, tax requirements and clearances needed to start your business operations as a new business entity in the Philippines. In addition to what was listed above, you should also consult with the local area where your company is based to understand additional specifications required.

If you have been able to fulfill all the required requirements successfully, you can now open your doors and start welcoming clients to your business.

Legal documents you need to run a business in Philippines

  • SEC registration – For registering as a partnership or corporation
  • DTI registration – For registering your business trade name (BTR)
  • Mayor’s business permit – Secure the license to operate in the city or municipality and payment of your local business taxes.
  • BIR registration – Tax Identification Number (TIN for business), official receipts and invoices, register your books of accounts, and pay your national internal revenue taxes (Income tax, VAT or Percentage Tax, Withholding Taxes, etc.).
  • SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG Fund registration – Register yourself or the company as an employer and remit your employees’ contribution together with your employer’s share.

Usually, the BIR and the City/Municipality Office require the certificates of registration with the SEC or DTI before a business can be registered with them. Thus, you need to register through those offices to start commencing your business.

Open a bank account and make the minimum deposit payable

In the Philippines, part of the registration criteria for a new company is that the business owner must open a bank account and deposit a minimum amount of PHP 10,000 ($200) along with other requirements such as incorporation documents and identity documents.

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