A quick look at the numbers is convincing enough for anyone to start a micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) today. According to 2018 data from the Department of Trade and Industry, the MSME sector makes up 99.6 percent of all registered business in the Philippines, and employs over 60 percent of the country’s workforce.

If you’ve got a unique business idea or want to capitalize on your existing assets or skills, now is the perfect time to make your dream business come true. Wouldn’t you want a piece of the pie by putting up your own MSME?

But first things first.

In order to make sure your business operates within the bounds of the law, it is a must to register your business with various government agencies. There are several business registration requirements in the Philippines, and knowing what to do, where to go, and what documents to prepare will help you complete the steps in the shortest time possible. Take note also of the validity and renewal deadlines for government-issued permits and licenses so that your business keeps running smoothly.

Consider this your comprehensive guide on how to register your business in the Philippines.

Step 1: Determine the type of business entity you’d like to set up.

Are you registering a sole proprietorship? This means the business will be owned and run by one person, and that person is personally responsible for all of the obligations of the business. A sole proprietorship has to be registered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).A partnership, on the other hand, has two or more owners, and responsibilities and profits are spread among them. Another type of business entity is the corporation, which makes the business a separate entity from its owners. Setting up a corporation is a viable option when you have plans of scaling up the company in the future. Both partnerships and corporations are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

An MSME is defined as any of the types mentioned above, as long as its asset size stays within the P100 million mark.

Step 2: Register your business name with DTI or SEC.

Here’s how to register your business in DTI:First, register your business name online at the new Business Name Registration System (BNRS) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Prepare at least three (3) business names, in case there are existing ones similar to yours. You will be asked to identify the scope of your business with corresponding registration fees: barangay (P200), municipal (P500), regional (P1,000), and national (P2,000). Once you have a valid business name, provide details such as your business address and residence address, as well as optional data like your TIN, partner agencies, and LGU details. You can pay conveniently for your DTI registration through GCash.

After you’re registered, you can download your Official Receipt and the Business Name Registration Certificate.

The DTI Certificate of Registration is valid for five (5) years.

On the other hand, partnerships and corporations need to obtain an SEC Registration Certificate, which is valid for 50 years. For partnerships, the requirements are:

Stock and Non-Stock Corporations are required to submit the following:

Take note that if your business is a remittance and transfer company, money exchange, or foreign exchange dealer, you will need to secure prior approval from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas before you can obtain your Certificate of Registration.

Step 3: Obtain a Mayor’s Permit from the local government office.

Once you have your Certificate of Business Registration from DTI or SEC, you will need a barangay clearance and a business permit from the mayor’s office. Remember that the barangay clearance is a requirement for filing your application for Mayor’s Permit, so don’t skip this important step.

Submit the following when you apply for barangay clearance:

Now, you’re ready to file your application for Mayor’s Permit. This will be valid for one year. Have the following requirements ready:

Take note that for this particular step, you may need to get sector-specific clearances depending on the product or service you offer. For instance, a travel agency will need to secure clearance from the Department of Tourism; a learning center will need to do so from the Department of Education, and so on. These are business registration legal requirements so any business owner must comply.

Step 4: Register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Being able to issue an official receipt and paying the required taxes is a must for any business. When you register your business with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), you will be able to do just that.

Go to the BIR Provincial Office or BIR Revenue District Office to apply for a Tax Identification Number (TIN) and Authority to Print Invoice and Book of Journal. You will need to renew this every year.

Here are the requirements:

Step 5: Register your business with other government agencies to comply with existing regulations.

These government agencies include the Social Security System (SSS), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), PhilHealth, and PAG-IBIG Fund. Find the procedures and requirements below.

SSS Certificate

Go to the SSS Provincial Office where your business is located, and bring the following requirements:

PhilHealth Membership

You also need to register your business with PhilHealth. PhilHealth membership ensures that all workers in your employ can enjoy the medicare benefits of the government insurance program. As an employer, you are required to submit the following at the nearest PhilHealth office before you can be given a PhilHealth Employer Number (PEN) and Certificate of Registration (COR):

Your employees will be required to submit their own set of requirements. They can file their SSS application online.

Pag-IBIG Fund Membership

The Pag-IBIG Fund is a national savings program which provides affordable shelter financing for Filipino workers. Membership is mandatory for all employees covered by the SSS, earning at least P4,000 monthly. When you register your businesswith Pag-IBIG Fund and file your application at the Pag-IBIG Fund office, remember to bring original copies of the following documents for authentication purposes:

DOLE Permit

The purpose of the DOLE permit is to ensure that as an employer, you abide by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards. To register your business with DOLE, bring three (3) copies of the DOLE-BWC-IP-3 registration form to the Regional Labor Office. Attach a white or blue print layout of every floor of the place of work, showing all physical features including storage, exits, aisles, and emergency devices, among others.

Once you’ve completed the steps on how to register your business in the Philippines, you can now be open for business!

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