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Starting a Business In Fiji

Complete Guide to Setting Up a Sole Proprietorship in Fiji

Fiji has a small and sustainable economy that can deliver good investment returns in the manufacturing and services sectors. The tourism industry is the backbone of all development and economic growth in the Fijian islands. 

The country offers easy accessibility to the Australian and New Zealand market. Companies can benefit from its good literacy and competence in English. The nation also offers excellent infrastructure and international connectivity. Fiji’s economy is expected to grow by 8.5% in 2023 and around 7.7% in 2024.

In 2021, Fiji passed the Investment Act that introduced a wider range of treatments plus protection guarantees for foreign investors. Currently, around 17 activities stand fully reserved for Fijian citizens, and some eight sectors stand as restricted. 

As per the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report 2020, the country ranks 102 out of 190 economies in terms of starting a business, registering property, and paying taxes. Companies planning to expand globally can establish a business entity in the country. Setting up a sole proprietorship in Fiji can be beneficial to expand your business globally.

Read up on ways to register a sole proprietorship in Fiji and the related considerations. 

Who can be a Sole Proprietor in Fiji? 

A sole proprietorship is a one-person company. It is a basic structure for business activities from an individual standpoint, but it can employ others to back its activities.

It is a simple form of doing business in the island country. Anyone can set up a sole proprietorship in Fiji, irrespective of nationality. Earlier, there were specific investment markups for foreigners to engage in business in the country, but these are no longer valid. Foreign citizens may also opt to establish a sole proprietorship. 

The most popular form registered for businesses in Fiji is that of the sole proprietor since individual and business liability is the same in this context. However, such business owners must be open to seeking approval for any ownership-related changes from the authorities in Fiji.

Benefits of Sole Proprietorship in Fiji

Setting up a sole proprietorship in Fiji comes with many benefits for an entrepreneur, listed as follows:

  • Sole proprietorships are subject to any double taxation system.
  • Setting up sole proprietorship in Fiji provides maximum privacy to single owners. 
  • Unlike limited liability companies or private limited companies, sole proprietorships in Fiji do not have an initial investment or even a minimum investment markup.
  • An individual enjoys all profits thanks to zero legal separation of proprietorships from the individual.

Documents Required for Registering Your Business in Fiji

The documents you need to register a sole proprietorship in Fiji are listed below-

  • For foreign individuals – passports, proof of address 
  • Work permit from the immigration
  • Tax Identification Number or TIN
  • Certificate for foreign investment registration 
  • Business license
  • Bank account registration
  • Registration with authorities for VAT and Provident Fund

Processing times for registrations are usually long, and you must be prepared to shell out money for the several processing levels.

Other Criteria for Registering a Sole Proprietorship in Fiji

To establish a sole proprietorship in Fiji, you must follow certain steps and complete relevant formalities. 

  • There are no specifics about what capital or payment applies to such a business
  • The proprietorship is founded just as you begin a business activity.
  • Make sure you complete all compulsory registrations. The documents you need to have in this context are-
  • Business name
  • Local council registration document
  • Personal proofs of identity 
  • Registration with the tax authorities

Post-registration compliances 

  • The investor must open a company Fiji dollar account in the bank right after establishing the sole proprietorship.
  • Ensure approval from the Registrar of Companies.
  • Ensure approval from the Fiji Revenue & Customs Services.
  • Ensure approval from the Reserve Bank of Fiji.
  • Keep an investor permit approval from the Fijian Immigration Department handy. This is not a mandatory document, though.

Taxation

  • Sole traders don’t need to pay corporate taxes. A company owner pays income tax on individual profits per relevant tax slabs.
  • Personal income tax stands assessed as per taxable income. If the taxable income of the resident is above FJD 50,000, the tax payable is FJD 3,600 in addition to 20% for upward of FJD 50,000. 
  • In the case of non-residents, the tax is 20% of taxable income.
  • In addition to the income tax, social responsibility tax and environment and climate adaptation levy are imposed on the taxable income.

How to Register a Sole Proprietorship Firm in Fiji?

If you want to consider Fiji as a new business or investment destination, you must first engage in research. It takes time to obtain a work permit and start a sole proprietorship (or any business type).

  • The main assistive node in this regard is the Foreign Trade and Investment Bureau or FTIB. It aims to streamline the processes for foreign investors to overcome bureaucratic processes. 
  • FTIB’s website has extensive information about the procedures for starting businesses and restricted areas related to trade in Fiji. 
  • Setting guidelines via which any foreign investor may invest in Fiji are The Foreign Investment Act of 1999 and the Foreign Investment (Amendment) Act of 2004. These may be obtained straight from the office of the FTIB.

An easier and more successful attempt has been to start a business as a sole proprietor. Here is how to register a sole proprietorship in Fiji:

  • Businesses can conduct company name research via the Registrar of Companies Office, located at Level 2 of the Suvavou House Victoria Parade in Suva. You can also visit the official website – egov.gov.fj.  
  • The company’s name will not have “Fiji”. 
  • The process takes about a week and costs approximately 12 FJD. This lets you get approval on the business name.

Step 2: Register the Business Name

  • The next step is visiting the Registrar of Companies and registering the business name. 
  • Upon business name approval, you will get a certificate of registration. This costs approx. 20 FJD.

Step 3: Obtain the TIN for the business and then register for VAT when applicable

  • Apply for TIN and VAT registration at Revenue and Customs in the province of Suva.

Step 5: Bank account

  • Open a local bank account. No remittances are needed anymore.
  • You can use this bank account to pay the employees you hire later in company expansion. 

Step 6: Licensing

  • Obtain a business license from local authority in place of business.
  • The ‘Business License’ must be registered at a particular address.

For foreign investors:

Apart from these steps, foreign investors planning to establish a sole proprietorship in Fiji must fulfill these additional steps:

Obtain the Foreign Investment Registration Certificate from Investment Fiji

  • Apply for a permit to the Investment Fiji (IF) using an application form for a foreign investment certificate for registration. 
  • Sole proprietors must make a business plan and attach it to the application. 
  • Indicate what type of business the proprietorship will intend to engage in. 
  • Track the type of activity that is restricted. 
  • The associated fee is 2700 FJD.

It takes around 2 weeks to receive this certificate. This will stay valid for a year and is subject to renewal, post-meeting all applicable regulations.

Apply to the immigration authority for a work permit

Once you receive the certificate, apply to the immigration authority for a work permit. The supporting documentation you need herein are- 

  • Fijian Police Clearance or reports from the police authority where you spent the maximum of the prior year.
  • Medical report from the MIOT Private Hospital.  
  • You need to pay a fee of 500 FJD and a bond deposit of 1000 to 1500 FJD.
  • The entire process might take up to three weeks.

How can Multiplier help you

A sole proprietorship in Fiji has very few requirements and ample incentives from the government. As you operate and engage in hiring in Fiji, payroll management and managing freelancers could be complex. In this context, Multiplier is the right bet for sole proprietors. 

Multiplier is an employment solution for companies planning to expand their business globally. It offers EOR solutions to ease the management hassles for international employee management. You can utilize the payroll services and manage payments with a click.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, there is no compulsion to have an agent set up a proprietorship in Fiji. Setting up a sole proprietorship in Fiji is straightforward and easy. It requires minimal documentation.

No, there are no such requirements. You need a resident director if you set up a full-fledged company.

Yes, you may register a proprietorship anywhere in Fiji, irrespective of nationality.

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