Philippines

Starting a Business in

Cebu City - Philippines

Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles an entrepreneur must overcome in order to incorporate and register a new firm, along with their associated time and set-up costs. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with up to 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

The information appearing on this page was collected as part of the Doing Business subnational project in Philippines. Download this Doing Business report or explore other cities and topics.

No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Verify and reserve the company name with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The company can verify the availability of the company name online. Verification is free but reservation of the name, once approved by the SEC, costs PHP 40 for the first 30 days. The company name can be reserved for a maximum of 120 days for a fee of PHP 120, which is renewable upon expiration of the period.
1 day PHP 40
2 Deposit paid-up capital in the Authorized Agent Bank (AAB) and obtain bank certificate of deposit

The company is required by law to deposit paid-up capital amounting to at least 6.25% of the authorized capital stock of the corporation. This paid-up capital must not be less than PHP 5,000.

Some banks charge a fee for issuance of the certificate of deposit.

1 day No cost
3 Notarize articles of incorporation and treasurer's affidavit at the notary

According to Sections 14 and 15 of the Corporation Code, articles of incorporation should be notarized before filing with the SEC.
1 day PHP 500
4 Register the company with the SEC

The company can register online through SEC i-Register but must pay on site at the SEC. The following documents are required for SEC registration:

a. Company name verification slip;
b. Articles of incorporation (notarized) and by-laws;
c. Treasurer's affidavit (notarized);
d. Statement of assets and liabilities;
e. Bank certificate of deposit of the paid-in capital;
f. Authority to verify the bank account;
g. Registration data sheet with particulars on directors, officers, stockholders, and so forth;
h. Written undertaking to comply with SEC reporting requirements (notarized); and
i. Written undertaking to change corporate name (notarized).

The SEC Extension Office charges a handling fee of PHP 30 to cover the cost of transmitting the documents to the SEC Head Office in Metro Manila.

5 days PHP 2,695 (PHP 1,667.99 filing fee equivalent to 1/5 of 1% of the authorized capital stock or the subscription price of the subscribed capital stock, whichever is higher but not less than PHP 1,000 + PHP 16.68 legal research fee (LRF) equivalent to 1% of filing fee but not less than PHP 10 + PHP 500 By-laws + PHP 150 for registration of stock and transfer book (STB) required for new corporations + PHP 320 STB + PHP 10 registration for SEC bulletin + PHP 30 handling fee)
5 Obtain the business permit application form and community tax certificate (CTC) from the Cebu City Hall representative at DTI National Economic Research and Business Action Center (NERBAC)

The NERBAC has been operational in Cebu City since May 2008 and has greatly facilitated the business permit application process. Personnel from the City Treasurer’s Office assigned at the NERBAC office process requests for business permit application forms and issue CTCs to applicants. After the application form is notarized, the applicant submits this to the NERBAC for verification, assessment and payment of the business permit fees and taxes.
1 day PHP 500 (cost of community tax certificate)
6 Notarize the business permit application form at the notary


1 day PHP 20
7 Obtain the Business Tax Payment Certificate (BTPC) from the Cebu City Hall representative at DTI NERBAC

Once the BTPC is issued, the company can already operate while it is given 60 days to comply with other legal requirements such as barangay clearance and SSS, PhilHealth, and BIR registration, and to submit itself to the required inspections. For purposes of this study, the cost of the barangay clearance has been included in the total cost for the business permit even though this is paid to the barangay separately after the issuance of the BTPC.

The city has a joint inspection team (JIT) consisting of representatives from the Zoning Department, Office of the Building Official, City Health Department, Bureau of Fire Protection and the Office of the Mayor. Inspections are conducted within sixty (60) days from issuance of the BTPC.

3 days PHP 9,195 (PHP 417 business tax (1/20 of 1% of capitalization) + PHP 1667.98 mayor’s permit fee (1/5 of 1% of capitalization) + PHP 500 zoning fee + PHP 5,000 garbage fee + PHP 50 health certificate + PHP 480 building fees + PHP 100 signboard fee + PHP 779.80 FSIC (10% of all regulatory fees) + PHP 200 barangay clearance)
8 Buy special books of account at bookstore

Special books of accounts are required for registering with the BIR. The books of accounts are sold at bookstores nationwide. One set of journals consisting of four books (cash receipts account, disbursements account, ledger, general journal) costs about PHP 400.

If the company has a computerized accounting system (CAS), it may opt to register its CAS under the procedures laid out in BIR Revenue Memorandum Order Nos. 21-2000 and 29-2002. The BIR Computerized System Evaluation Team is required to inspect and evaluate the company’s CAS within 30 days from receipt of the application form (BIR Form No. 1900) and complete documentary requirements.

1 day PHP 400
9 Apply for Certificate of Registration (COR) and Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)

The company must register each type of internal revenue tax for which it is obligated by filing BIR Form No. 0605 and paying the annual registration fee of PHP 500. Upon registration, the BIR will issue to the company the certificate of registration—BIR Form No. 2303.

To obtain the TIN, the company has to file:
a. Barangay clearance;
b. Mayor's permit; and
c. Copy of its SEC registration.

For company registrations filed with the SEC Head Office in Metro Manila, the BIR confirms the pre-registered TIN issued by the SEC.

New taxpayers are required to attend a seminar.

2 days PHP 115 (PHP 100 certification fee + PHP 15 documentary stamp tax)
10 Pay the registration fee and documentary stamp taxes (DST) at the AAB

The company must pay DST on the original issuance of shares of stock. The rate is PHP 1 on each PHP 200 or a fractional part thereof, of the par value of such shares of stock. This payment with the BIR should be made on the 5th of the month following registration with the SEC.

The COR will be released only after all the DSTs are paid.

The company must also pay DST on its lease contract at the rate of PHP 3 for the first PHP 2,000 or fractional part thereof, and an additional PHP 1 for every PHP 1,000 or fractional part thereof in excess of the first PHP 2,000 for each year of the lease as stated in the contract.

1 day PHP 4,670 (PHP 500 registration fee + PHP 4,169.97 DST on original issuance of shares of stock. DST on the lease contract is not included in the computation of the cost)
11 Obtain the authority to print receipts and invoices from the BIR

The authority to print receipts and invoices must be secured before the sales receipts and invoices may be printed. The company can ask any authorized printing company to print its official forms, or it can print its own forms (i.e., it uses its computers to print loose-leaf invoice forms) after obtaining a permit from BIR for this purpose. To obtain the authority to print receipts and invoices from the BIR, the company must submit the following documents to the Revenue District Office (RDO):

a. Duly completed application for authority to print receipts and invoices (BIR Form No. 1906);
b. Job order;
c. Final and clear sample of receipts and invoices (machine-printed);
d. Application for registration (BIR Form No. 1903); and
e. Proof of payment of annual registration fee (BIR Form No. 0605).

1 day No cost (fees included in procedure 10)
12 Print receipts and invoices at the print shops

The cost is based on the following specifications of the official receipt: 1/2 bond paper (8 ½ x 5 ½ cm) in duplicate, black print, carbonless for 10 booklets.
7 days PHP 2,500 (between PHP 2,500 – PHP 3,000)
13 Have books of accounts and Printer’s Certificate of Delivery (PCD) stamped by the BIR

After the printing of receipts and invoices, the printer issues a Printer’s Certificate of Delivery of Receipts and Invoices (PCD) to the company, which must submit this to the appropriate BIR RDO (i.e., the RDO which has jurisdiction over the company’s principal place of business) for registration and stamping within thirty (30) days from issuance. The company must also submit the following documents:

a. All required books of accounts;
b. VAT registration certificate;
c. SEC registration;
d. BIR Form W-5;
e. Certified photocopy of the ATP; and
f. Notarized taxpayer-user’s sworn statement enumerating the responsibilities and commitments of the taxpayer-user.

The company must also submit a copy of the PCD to the BIR RDO having jurisdiction over the printer’s principal place of business.

1 day No cost
14 Register with the Social Security System (SSS)

To register with the SSS, the company must submit the following documents:
a. Employer registration form (Form R-1);
b. Employment report (Form R-1A);
c. List of employees, specifying their birth dates, positions, monthly salary and date of employment; and
d. Articles of incorporation, by-laws and SEC registration.

Upon submission of the required documents, the SSS employer and employee numbers will be released. The employees may attend an SSS training seminar after registration. SSS prefers that all members go through such training so that each member is aware of their rights and obligations.

4 days No cost
15 Register with the Philippine Health Insurance Company (PhilHealth)

To register with PhilHealth, the company must submit the following documents:
a. Employer data record (Form ER1);
b. Report of employee-members (Form ER2);
c. SEC registration;
d. BIR registration; and
e. Copy of business permit.

Upon submission of the required documents, the company shall get the receiving copy of all the forms as proof of membership until PhilHealth releases the employer and employee numbers within three months.

1 day No cost

Data snapshots