In Ghana , depending on the type of business you are involved in and there are 6 main business entities you can chose from.
The body responsible for business entity registration in Ghana is known as the Registrar General’s Department (RGD).
Please find below the types of business entities you can chose from;
- A sole proprietorship: This is an unincorporated business exclusively owned by an individual who is entitled to all the profits of the business and personally responsible for all liabilities of the business. In Ghana such entities are not required to be registered at the Registrar General’s Department (RGD). If the owner of this entity would like to operate under a business name, it is however required to register such business name at the RGD. A sole proprietor is NOT allowed to participate in the Finance, Banking or Communications sectors. This is the most popular business entity registered in Ghana
- A company limited by shares: This is a business entity registered at the RGD comprising at least two individuals acting as directors of the company and at least one person (company or individual) acting as a shareholder in the entity with objects which are (usually) for the generation of profit. The liability of the members of this entity are limited by the value of their shares. This is the 2nd most popular business entity registered in Ghana.
- A company limited by guarantee: This company structure is best suited for Not-For-Profit Organisations. This is because the objects of a company limited by guarantee cannot include any for the generation of profit. As such these company’s are exempt from corporate tax (although the organisation will have to pay income tax on behalf of any its salaried employees). Yes, this company type is allowed to employ salaried workers, not everyone working here must be a volunteer. The liability of its members are limited to the total amount they guaranteed to pay at its incorporation, hence its name.
- A company unlimited by shares; This is a business entity registered at the RGD comprising at least two individuals acting as directors of the company and at least one person (company or individual) acting as a shareholder in the entity with objects which are (usually) for the generation of profit. This entity is similar to a company limited by shares in all aspects except that in this entity, the liability of the members of this entity are not limited by the value of their shares and can extend to their personal property. Its is typically used for entities that give professional advice and services such as law firms.
- An incorporated partnership; Where two or more people (up to a maximum of 20) decide to go into business for the generation of profit together , they may decide to do so through an incorporated partnership registered at the RGD. The liability of the “partners” is not limited, therefore, there is no protection of a partners personal assets in an incorporated partnership. The acts of one partner binds the whole partnership. The terms and conditions that bind the partners must be documented in a partnership agreement, which is also registered at the RGD.
- An external company; An external company is a corporate body incorporated outside of Ghana which has a registered place of business in Ghana. Although an external company is subject to Ghanaian tax laws (income & corporate tax), such a company is internally regulated by the laws of the country in which it was originally incorporated in. After it has been registered in Ghana, Ghanaians may buy and sell shares in an external company as if the company had been incorporated in Ghana.