How to Register Your Business in the Philippines

How to register business in the Philippines? Business startup includes the process of registration with the right government agencies and authorities. This is an important step that must not be missed by any business, whether it is a small, medium or large enterprise. This is also the process that will make your company legitimate and duly registered. You can either register your business as a single proprietorship, partnership or corporation. Furthermore, special type of organization can also be registered as an association or a cooperative. The following are guidelines to help you register your business or organization in the Philippines.

Registering your business name (DTI)

The first step in registering your business is to register your business name. Your trade name is a vital part of your brand. That is why it is very important that you must duly register that name with the proper authorities to protect it and claim the legal rights to use and operate your business under that name.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is the Philippine government agency that governs the registration of business names in the Philippines.  If you’re business is in the form of single proprietorship, a DTI registered business name is one of the important requirement to be able to register your business with the Mayor’s Office and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

For corporations and partnership form of businesses, their Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration is already sufficient for their trade name. However, many incorporators and partners are still registering their trade name with the DTI to ensure that their names will not be used by others.

You can register your business name online by going to the DTI’s Business Name Registration System (BNRS) website (take note that you should be at least 18 years of age to qualify).

To use and avail of their online services, such as application of new business names, renewing expiring certificates and online payment of fees, you must register first in their website for an account. There, you can also check the availability of your desire name by searching it in their database of registered names. Alternatively, you can also go directly to their regional office where you’re business is located if you prefer to register offline.

You may read the detailed article on How to Register Business Name with DTI Philippines.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

If you’re registering a corporation or a partnership, you must register your business with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC is the government agency that is responsible for securities laws and regulating the securities industry in the Philippines. The commission has the jurisdiction and supervision over all corporations, partnerships or association who are grantees of primary franchises and or a license or permit by the Government.

A corporation or partnership must secure a certificate of registration with the SEC in order to have the license to operate a business. That certificate is also required by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Mayor’s office to get registration and license from them.

You may read a detailed article on how to register a stock corporation with the Philippines SEC.

Local Barangay Office

As required by the Local Government Code, all businesses must obtain a Barangay Clearance from the local Barangay Office where their businesses are located. A clearance assures that your business is a community friendly establishment and conforms to the standards of the Barangay. Fee in securing a clearance is minimal but may vary depending on the size of your business or the district where the Barangay is located.

Social Security System (SSS)

Companies hire employees to run their business. Employers should also register their businesses and employees with the SSS. An employer who does not report employees, temporary or provisional employees is violating the Social Security (SS) Law. Registering employees ensures that, as an employer, you are lawfully remitting your employer’s contribution to the agency for the benefits of your employees. SS benefits include disability pension, retirement, funeral benefit, sickness allowance, loans and other benefits.

Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth)

As required by the new National Health Insurance Act (RA 7875 / RA 9241), all employers are required to register their employees with PhilHealth and remit to the agency their share of contribution. Aside from being mandatory, this is also to ensure that employees are adequately covered by health insurance that will aid them in hospitalization costs and other health care needs.

Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund)

By virtue of RA 7742, SSS members earning at least 4,000 Philippine Pesos a month must be registered with HDMF (the agency that administers the Pag-Ibig Fund). Like SSS and PhilHealth, employers must also register their business and remit their employers’ share of contribution for employees to the agency. HDMF works towards providing Fund members with adequate housing through an effective saving scheme.

Mayor’s Office

After securing a DTI certificate of registration for your trade name (single proprietorship), SEC certificate of registration (corporations and partnerships), Barangay clearance, and registration with SSS, Philhealth and HDMF, your next step is to register and obtain a permit with the Municipality or City Mayor’s Office. The permit affirms that your business is in compliance to the municipality or City’s ordinances and standards such as sanitary, fire and safety and other clearances. Fees for new applications may depend on their initial capital while fees for renewals depend on the applicant’s prior year gross revenues or sales.

Here is a more detailed article on how to get a Mayor’s Business Permit in the Philippines.

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)

When you’re done with the Mayor’s permit, you can now register your business with the Bureau of Internal Revenue to secure a BIR Certificate of Registration. Mayor’s Permit or application for Mayor’s Permit is to be submitted prior to the issuance of the BIR Certificate of Registration. Registering with the BIR will give you an authorization to print official receipts, register books of accounts and obtain a separate Tax Identification Number (for partnerships and corporations). BIR registration fee is 500 pesos annually. The BIR certificate of registration shows your trade name, Tax Identification Number (TIN), line of business, and taxes that you must file or remit to the BIR (e.g., annual registration  fee, annual and quarterly income tax, withholding taxes, monthly and quarterly Value Added Tax or monthly Percentage Tax, etc.,).

Other Government Agencies

Other types of businesses may also be required by the government to secure special or secondary licenses to operate. The following agencies require special or secondary licenses for special types of business and companies.

1. Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) – for cooperatives
2. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) – for banks, pawnshops and money changers
3. Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) – for businesses related in grain-rice farming and trading
4. Fiber Industry Development Authorit (FIDA) – for business related in fiber producing products.
5. Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) – for business related in fishing and aquatics products
6. Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) – for business related to animals
7. Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) – for business related to plants and vegetable crops
8. Forest Management Bureau (FMB) – for business related in lumber, logs, and other wood product.
9. National Tobacco Administration (NTA) – for business related to tobacco products
10. Insurance Commission (IC) – for insurance and other IC regulated entities
11. Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) – for business related in the manufacturing, trading, repacking, importing, exporting, distributing of any products  related to food and drugs
12. Intellectual Patent Office (IPO) – for registering your trademarks, logos, slogans, processes and secret formulas
13. Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Department of Education (DepEd) – for entities involved in providing education
14. Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) – for institutions involve in technical education and skills development
15. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – Business establishments with five or more employees are encouraged to register with the DOLE for the purpose of monitoring the firms’ compliance with labor regulations.  Registration is required for firms with 50 or more workers.

The DTI website has published a step by step guidelines on registering your business with the different government agencies in the Philippines.  This PDF file includes a list of documents usually required by government agencies. To download the file, please click here.

Victorino Abrugar is a retired CPA practitioner, a blogger, speaker, and an entrepreneur. He's the President of Optixor, Inc., a digital marketing company based in the Philippines. Follow him on Twitter at @viclogic.


  1. says

    Thanks for your post. I’m very interested in business and I want to know more about the company registration in the Philippines. I’m glad to know that the process of registration with the right government agencies and authorities are being practice.

    • says

      Hi Ms. Sarah. Just a drop of note. Within SEC perimeter, you will encounter some who is willing to assist you in the registration – a fixer or a professional. Fixer only knew of the process and less of the technicalities, while professionals knows both of them, expectedly. Fixers charges only a minimal amount with the risk of going to and pro for technicalities, while a professionals charges a bit more for a peace of mind and a quality service. Outside the perimeter there are also lots practicing those.

      For a wider understanding of how to register a corporation with the SEC, we are developing a seminar program for technicalities in the registration so one could either do it themselves or can reasonably estimate fees on having them handled by another.

  2. says

    What if there are only two (me and my partner) in the brgy micro-business (there are no other employees)? Do we still need to register with sss, hdmf, philhealth? We are just putting up an online shop.

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