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Guide to Business Registration Certificates (BRC) in Hong Kong

6 minute read

When starting a new business in Hong Kong, you should have your documentation and legal paperwork in place in order to operate smoothly.

One of your first activities should be to establish your company in compliance with the Companies Ordinance and the requirements of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). You must also register your new company with the Hong Kong Business Registration Office and obtain a certificate of registration (BRC).

In this article, we will help you to understand what is a Business Registration Certificate is, why it matters, and walk you through the process of how to register for your certificate.

Overview:

What is a Business Registration Certificate (BRC)?

Image source: IRD

The Business Registration Certificate (BRC) is a document that has a business’s details. This documentation is required for your company. It shows that the business is legitimate and is registered with the Internal Revenue Service. The certificate usually has a one-year expiration date, and needs to be renewed yearly.

You are expected to apply for and receive your BRC within 30 days of starting business operations. You would also need contact the Business Registration Office and file for an updated certificate whenever your business information changes.

The following are the details that are included on your certificate:

  • Name of your company
  • Your company’s type
  • Your company’s address
  • Company’s nature
  • Starting date of your business operations
  • Expiration date of your BRC
  • Unique number of your BRC

What’s the difference between the Business Registration Certificate and Business Registration Number?

There’s some confusion around this, so let’s compare the two.

  • The BRC is issued by the Business Registration Office, and has your company’s details and your legality to conduct business in Hong Kong.
  • A Hong Kong Business Registration Number (BRN), on the other hand, is issued by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), and is your tax identification number.

Is there a penalty for non-compliance?

If you don’t comply and fail to file for a Company Registration Certificate, you would be fined steep fines or may even incur jail time.

If you are late in requesting for your certificate, you would need to pay the current renewal cost, as well as any fees for the years in which you have failed to comply, and additional penalties.

Do take note that this might lead to other issues, such as timely filing of tax returns, which is an issue with the IRD as well.

As a result, you should apply for your certificate as soon as possible to ensure that your business activities run smoothly.

How do I apply for my Business Registration Certificate?

You can apply for this certificate by filling out form IRBR 37 and paying the required amount on the registration office’s website. The certificate will be available two days following the date of incorporation if the company was registered using the company and business registration service and the business details were copied to the Companies Registry.

We recommend working with a service provider to obtain your business registration certificate as the better option. This makes this entire process simple, straightforward, and inexpensive. Working with an agency helps you to remove time and effort wasted on compliance and administration.

Sleek can be your Hong Kong company secretary and help you to apply for such paperwork. Find out more by speaking to our expert team today.

When should you apply for a BRC?

It is stipulated by law that a business has to file for its BRC within the first 30 days of starting its operations.

When filing for a business registration certificate, it’s common to do it at the same time as registering for company incorporation. If you complete both of these at the same time, you will receive both documents in a timely manner to start operations.

Should I outsource my Business Registration?

Outsourcing the entire business registration process may be the best and wisest thing to do if you need to incorporate in Hong Kong.

Firstly, when you hire a company, they will assist you in preparing all of the necessary documents and submitting them to the Business Registration Office. This is critical since it allows you to focus on growing your business while specialists handle the registration process.

When you hire an agency early enough, they can aid you with the time-consuming process of incorporation. Later on, the agency may assist you with such applications, bank account opening, and even function as your Hong Kong company secretary.

As these partners have been in business for a long time, they are familiar with the market’s dynamics and can assist you in making the best choices. Saving time on these process will help you to accelerate your company’s growth.

Outsourcing your administrative tasks will make the process of applying for the certificate as well as other processes as simple as possible.

Displaying your BRC for inspection

Once you have received your Hong Kong business registration certificate, you must display it in its original format, prominently in your place of business for compliance reasons.

These are more added benefits of displaying the certificate:

  • Clients will see that your business has complied with all regulations and, as a result, is ready to offer the best services.
  • Business partners who are interested in working with you will see that you are a law-abiding investment, building credibility.
  • It’s a terrific method to show your company’s employees that you’re trustworthy.

Other business licenses you might need

As the BRC is just one of the prerequisites for conducting business in Hong Kong, you would need other licenses for your operations.

For instance, businesses in the following industries need additional licenses:

  • Telecoms
  • Finances
  • Hospitality and catering
  • Manufacturing
  • Tech and app development

You may look for all of the permits, licenses, approvals, and certificates you’ll need to run your business in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department.

Wrap up

Hopefully, you are now aware of what BRN and BRC stand for and how they differ from one another. Definitely consider outsourcing this process if you’re able. We can help to apply for certification, nominate directors and shareholders, and complete your entire incorporation process.

If you have any further questions, contact us to get started today.

Start a business in less than 3 hours with us. Talk to our experts today.

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