How to Start a Business in Kerala

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Starting a business in Kerala follows the same process as setting up a business anywhere else in India. One of the advantages of setting up a business in Kerala, India has the highest literacy rate of individuals in the state. This guarantees you an affordable, competent work force. The state of Kerala has been encouraging more direct investment and a free market. Some of the industries in Kerala include the manufacturing industry, banking, public administration, finance and tourism.

Register the company name with the Registrar of Companies (ROC). This can be done online. You can submit a maximum of six company names. The ROC will ascertain whether the business names are available according to the General Rules and Forms. You will be required to pay a fee of Rs 500 as of 2010.

Submit company documents to ROC. Present three printed copies of the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association to the ROC after they have been signed by at least two people and have been stamped. Also fill out form 1, 18 and 32 in duplicate. In addition, submit the name availability letter that was issued to you by the ROC. You will be issued with a certificate of incorporation.

Get a Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN). This is a 10-digit number which is allocated by the Income Tax Department. Get an application form, which is form 49B, from the Tax Information Facilitation Centers. Fill out the forms and return them with fee of Rs. 55. The application can be carried out online.

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Get a tax certificate. Get and fill out form 1A from the Value Added Tax (VAT) office in duplicate. Submit the form together with your photograph and the required documents as indicated in the form. These include certified copies of the memorandum and articles of association, passport-sized photograph of the applicant and a tax assessment form. Submit the form to the local VAT officer. Pay the required fee. If your application is approved, you will get a tax certificate and an 11-digit password. Also, apply for the service tax and professional tax. The company documents need to be stamped at the State Treasury or a certified private bank. You need to pay a stamp duty for this. The stamp duty varies depending on the amount of share capital.

Register as an employer with the Employment Services Department of Kerala. This will give you online access to employer services. This will enable you to post any job vacancies for your business free of charge.


  • You will be required to display the photocopies of your business registration documents on your business premise.

    Though a company seal is not a compulsory legal requirement for the business to be registered, you will need a company seal to seal official documents such as the company's share certificates before issuance. It costs Rs. 350 to make a seal.