People have gone into business with fake companies and have lost their money. And if you engage in financial transactions with an unregistered company, you will be in a risky position of being defrauded.
It is difficult to determine if the company is real or fake if you do not verify its validity. It is, therefore, advisable that before you engage in any business or transaction with any company, make sure the company or business is legally recognized by the corporate affairs commission (CAC).
In Nigeria, all companies and businesses are mandated to be registered under the corporate affairs commission. The Corporate affairs commission (CAC) was founded in 1990 under the companies and allied matters ACT. The commission was created to regulate how companies in Nigeria are formed and managed.
Many companies operate in Nigeria. A lot of these companies are registered while others are not registered.
In this article, you will learn how to verify if a company is registered in Nigeria or not. Additionally, this process is helpful when you want to name your new company. You can type in the name you have in mind to know if someone has already chosen the name.
To completely register your company, you have to fulfill all the requirements stated by the corporate affairs commission. By providing details of the company such as; company name, shareholding formula, registered address, the number of shareholders, directors, etc. Also, you must have paid the required fees to the commission.
In the past, this was difficult to do because you’d have to go to CAC’s office to verify. Today, things are easier. Recently, Corporate Affairs Commission launched a public search portal on its website. People can now check if a company is registered in Nigeria via the search portal.
Steps To Checking If a Company is Duly Registered
Upon registering the company’s name, and after all the requirements have been fulfilled, Corporate Affairs Commission will issue a certificate of incorporation which contains the name of the company, status (a private or public company), and an RC number peculiar to the company. The RC number can be used to verify the validity of the company as an incorporated entity. It also shows the date and the seal of the registrar-General of the commission.
To check the registration status of a company, follow these easy steps:
- Log on to the corporate affairs commission’s website and choose the “public search” on the landing page.
- You will be directed to the search page.
- Enter the name of the company into the search box with the heading “search record by the name” (but without “plc”, ”limited” or ”ltd”).
- Click on the square box of the search engine to verify you are not a robot.
- Then click on Search.
A result will be shown detailing the RC Number, company name, registered address, and date of registration.
If the company is still undergoing registration, the RC number and address result will be different. You will see undergoing registration under the date of registration column and not yet assign to the RC number column.
But if the company is not yet registered, the result will come out empty.
If you can’t find the company’s name on CAC’s list, then you have to be very careful in dealing with such a company. When such a result occurs, it is probably because the company is yet to register or the company is a fraud. I advise you to take extra caution and make the necessary findings in such a case.
How to Check a Company’s Registration Status with FIRS
The FIRS (Federal Inland Revenue Service) is the institution saddled with the responsibilities of collation and payment of federal government taxes in Nigeria. After getting the company’s RC number using the above-listed steps, you can check TIN and registration status on the FIRS website using the following steps.
- Visit the FIRS official TIN verification page
- Scroll down to the search form
- Select the CAC registration number in the search criteria drop-down list.
- Input the CAC registration number preceded in the corresponding alphabets; RC for corporate entities (public/limited company) and BN for enterprises (sole proprietorship or partnership) in the search value field./
- Type the correct captcha image text and click on the search button. If the number is correct the name of the company will be displayed in detail.
You will also see other companies with similar names listed. But, the one you are looking for will be listed first. You will see the company’s name but without the company’s location and RC number.
As seen above, the process to check if a company is registered is very easy and fast, without any payment or fee attached. Additionally, you can check the result by requesting to see the certificate of incorporation of the company and then confirm or verify the information contained therein with the ones obtained from the CAC’s portal.
For a company to enjoy legal backing, it must be duly registered by the corporate affairs commission (CAC). It is important to conduct due diligence before engaging the service or transacting with the company to prevent being scammed. If a company is not registered, upon search, the result will come out empty. At that point, you should know that such a company is bogus.
However, the corporate affairs commission CAC’s online check will only display if the company is duly registered with the commission or not. It won’t indicate the names or particulars of the directors and information concerning the shareholders of the company.