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Doing Business in Namibia

In Namibia business usually takes on one of the following forms:

  • Individual trader
  • Partnership
  • Close Corporation
  • Proprietary Company
  • Public Company

To a significantly lesser extent, foreign companies register external branches in Namibia or Trusts are used for purposes of conducting business. Section 1 of the Income Tax Act specifically includes Trusts in the definition of a "person". Thus, Trusts are taxed according to the same tax rate and principles that apply to individuals. The salient features of the 5 types listed above are as follows:

  Individual Partnership Close Corporation Proprietary Company Public Company
Ownership Self Partners Members Shareholders Shareholders
Management Self Partners Members Directors Directors
Liability Self Partners jointly & severally Close Corporation Company Company
Max no. of owners 1 20 10 50 Unlimited
Tax Rate 2024/2025 Max 37% on income above N$ 1,500,000 p.a. Max 37% on income above N$ 1,500,000 p.a. 32% 32% 32%
Average days required to get into business 7 7 28 28 28
Foreign Shareholding possible  n/a n/a Yes, natural persons only Yes Yes
Listing on Stock Exchange n/a n/a No No Yes

Restricting factors to consider before opening a business:

  • Unskilled unemployed workforce
  • Government efficiency and timelines
  • Timeframe to register CC / Company / Trust
  • VAT refunds
  • Tax administration / Certificates of good standing
  • Government grants work-permits for foreign persons only in exceptional circumstances
  • High tax rates

Reassuring factors:

  • Good infrastructure roads / rail / air / harbour
  • Political stability
  • Low serious crime rate
  • Geological stability
  • Limited amount of corruption

Registrations required for general businesses:

  • Income Tax
  • Provisional Tax
  • Value-Added Tax
  • Value-Added Tax on Imports
  • Pay-as-you-earn (PAYE)
  • Social Security
  • Workmen’s Compensation
  • Municipal registration
  • Employment Equity registration
  • Vocational Education Levy (VET) for Employers with an annual payroll above N$1, million
  • Specific licenses

Generally, as many submissions are still done manually, it is recommended that stamped proof of submission of the application for any registration is kept by the applicant. Unfortunately some applications disappear mysteriously and without proof of submission of any application, penalties may be levied by the authorities.