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Hong Kong Business Registration Certificate (BRC): Essential Step Before Setting Up Your Business

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Hong Kong Business Registration Certificate

Starting on the entrepreneurial journey in Hong Kong necessitates orderly paperwork and legal formalities to navigate business operations seamlessly. A crucial initial step is acquiring a Hong Kong Business Registration Certificate under the regulatory eye of the Companies Ordinance and the Inland Revenue Department IRD.

Moreover, registering your venture with the Hong Kong Business Registration Office to secure a Business Registration Certificate (BRC) is imperative. This brief guide clarifies the significance of a BRC and outlines the registration method to acquire your certificate.

Hong Kong BRC: How It Empowers Your Business in Hong Kong

The Business Registration Certificate (BRC) is an essential document containing your company’s vital information. Every business must have it to prove its authenticity and registration with the Internal Revenue Service. Typically, this certificate has a one-year validity period and must be renewed every twelve months.

Once your business begins operations, you must obtain your BRC within a 30-day timeframe. Additionally, contacting the Business Registration Office to update your certificate if there are any changes to your business details is crucial.

Hong Kong Business Registration Certificate and Business Registration Number: Key Differences

The Business Registration Certificate (BRC) comes from the Business Registration Office. It includes your company’s information and authorizes your business operations in Hong Kong.

Conversely, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) provides your Hong Kong Business Registration Number (BRN). For tax reasons, this is your exclusive identity.

Components of a Business Registration Certificate

Hong Kong Business Registration Certificate confirms that a business has been registered following the Business Registration Ordinance. The following information is often included on a certificate:

  1. Business Name: The business’ registered name.
  2. Business Registration Number (BRN): A unique identifier for the business.
  3. Nature of Business: A brief description of the main business activities.
  4. Business Address: The registered address where the business operates.
  5. Date of Commencement: The date on which the business began its operations or the date of registration.
  6. Expiry Date: The date on which the current business registration certificate will expire. In Hong Kong, certificates are generally valid for one year, but three-year certificates are also available.
  7. Business Owner’s Name: The proprietor’s name if it’s a sole proprietorship, the names of partners if it’s a partnership, or the company’s name if the business is a corporation.
  8. Hong Kong Identity Card Number / Passport Number (for individuals): Identification detail of the business owner(s) or directors.
  9. Company Registration Number (for incorporated businesses): The number issued by the Companies Registry when a company is incorporated.

When to Apply for a BRC: Key Dates

Upon securing your certificate of incorporation from the Companies Registry for company setup in Hong Kong, proceeding with the application without delay is essential. The Hong Kong government has established a streamlined One-stop Company and Business Registration service that can be accessed through the Companies Registry’s online portal, simplifying the process. Submission of the incorporation paperwork—be it Form NNC1, NNC1G, or NN1—automatically initiates the business registration process alongside optimizing efficiency for those registering new companies.

For those initiating a sole proprietorship, partnership, branch, representative office, or foreign company presence, it is mandatory to register your business within one month from the start date of your operations. This registration must be completed at the business registration office.

Applying for Your Hong Kong Business Registration Certificate: A Step-by-Step Guide

You can get this certificate by completing form IRBR 37 and paying the necessary fee on the registration office’s online portal. The certificate will be ready two days after your company’s incorporation date if registration was done through the company and business registration service and the business information was transferred to the Companies Registry.

Using a service provider to get your business registration certificate is advisable. This choice is better because it simplifies the process, making it easy to manage and cost-effective. With the support of a professional agency, you save on the time and energy that would otherwise be spent on regulatory and administrative tasks.

Failure to Register: Business Penalties Explained

You risk harsh consequences if you miss the deadline to register your company or inform authorities beyond the 30-day window from the business’s start date as mandated by the Companies Ordinance. You could face a penalty of $5,000 and imprisonment for up to a year.

The challenge of submitting your tax returns without the business registration number is even more concerning. Not filing your tax returns and settling the tax owed constitutes a more severe violation than neglecting to register your company.

Suppose you apply for your Hong Kong Business Registration Certificate after the deadline. In that case, you’ll be obligated to cover the costs for all the periods you operate without registration and any late fees.

Renewing Your Business Registration Certificate

After you complete your application and pay the sign-up fee, you can set your Business Registration (BR) for one or three years. A month before your BR’s due date, the Inland Revenue Department will send a bill requiring you to pay the fee to keep your certificate active. If this reminder doesn’t reach you, it’s wise to contact them.

Once you take care of the fee, your paid bill will serve as your updated BR certificate.

The Inland Revenue Department occasionally offers perks, like a waiver of the BR fee. Always refer to their website for the most recent fee details relevant to your business.

Experts for Business Registration and Renewal Assistance

Turning over the whole business registration process to a professional firm can be an excellent and intelligent decision if you want to set up your company in Hong Kong.

By engaging a service provider, they will guide you in assembling all required paperwork and ensure its submission to the Business Registration Office is done correctly. This pivotal step frees you up to dedicate more energy to expanding your business while experts manage the bureaucratic side.

Bringing an agency on board early in your venture provides support through the intricate incorporation steps. As your operations progress, they can also offer help with applications for bank accounts and may even serve as your corporate secretary in Hong Kong.

How Can We Help?

Premia TNC recognizes the importance of a company secretary in meeting the statutory requirements of a Limited Company, as stipulated by the Companies Ordinance. Our seasoned team provides exceptional company secretarial services, combining quality with cost-effectiveness to save your business time and resources. By partnering with us, you ensure your company’s compliance affairs are managed professionally and efficiently.

We offer various Company Secretarial Services Plans to cater to the diverse needs of our clients. These comprehensive services include preparing and filing Annual Returns and renewing Business Registration certificates, ensuring uninterrupted compliance and operation of your business throughout the year.

In addition, we customize minutes for board and shareholder meetings and maintain up-to-date statutory records, such as the Company Register. Our dedicated professionals also prepare all documentation required for the Annual General Meeting, thus streamlining your company’s administrative processes and allowing you to focus on strategic business growth.


Q: What is a Business Registration Certificate in Hong Kong?

A: A Business Registration Certificate (BRC) is a document issued by the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department that verifies the legal registration of a business. It's required for any entity conducting business in Hong Kong.

Q: How do I apply for a Business Registration Certificate?

A: You can apply for a Business Registration Certificate when you register your business with the Hong Kong Companies Registry. The process can be completed online, in person, or via post.

Q: Is there a fee to obtain a Business Registration Certificate?

A: There is a fee for obtaining a Business Registration Certificate in Hong Kong. The fee depends on the registration type and the time for which the certificate is issued (1 year or 3 years).

Q: How long is the Business Registration Certificate valid?

A Business Registration Certificate is typically valid for one year from the issue date. Still, it can also be issued for three years, depending on the option selected during registration or renewal.

Q: Do I need to display my Business Registration Certificate?

Yes, the law requires that your Business Registration Certificate be displayed at your place of business in Hong Kong, where the public and the authorities can easily see it.