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Business Registration FAQ

When starting a business everyone knows that you need to “register” your business with the government. But it can get really confusing because there are many different kinds of “registrations” and people or websites don’t always distinguish between them.

What is a Sole Proprietorship?

When talking about a “Business Registrations” we are typically talking about what is called a “sole proprietorship” registration. A sole proprietorship is the simplest form of operating a business that is owned by one individual. The business has no existence apart from the owner. Only one owner is responsible for making all of the business decisions and, therefore, earns all the profits, but also assumes all of the risks and obligations. The owner includes the income and expenses of the business on his or her personal tax return. You always register your sole proprietorship with the provincial government department or agency that handles business registrations in your province.

To find out more about which business structure is best for your click here.

What are the Advantages of Sole Proprietorships?

Most sole proprietorships tend to be small and localized. The advantages commonly associated with carrying on a sole proprietorship are the following:

  • ease in which to start and dissolve the business; and
  • modest start up expenses.
What are the Disadvantages of Sole Proprietorships?

There is, however, a significant disadvantage which may lead you to decide against choosing this business form, namely, unlimited liability. The owner is personally responsible for all of the debts and obligations incurred by the business. The owner is thus liable to the full extent of his/her personal assets for all of the liabilities and losses which are incurred by the business. Also, the owner is liable for the actions of employees in the course of their employment.

What is a Trade Name and “Doing Business As” (DBAs) Registrations? How is it different from a Sole Proprietorship Registration?

Most jurisdictions require that sole proprietorships register with the relevant government department or authority under the business name it is operating under. This is sometimes referred to as a “Business Registration”, “Business Name Registration” “Trade Name” or “Doing business as (DBA)”. Of course, you do have to get the same business licenses and permits as any other company that goes into the same business.

In other words, your sole proprietorship can be in your name or another name you do business under.  For example, you can register as “John Smith Catering”. You can also register as “Niagara Falls Catering”.  This is a trade name that you are doing business under.

Do I need to Name Search before Registering a Sole Proprietorship?

To register your business, a business name search report is generally required by provincial governments. These reports are used to determine the availability of a business name by searching the relevant databases or registries listing any similar or possibly confusing existing business names and trademarks. In other words, you need to make sure that no one else has already registered the business name you would like to use for your business.  We can take care of this at the same time we process your business registration or you can do it before hand by clicking here to order your business name report.

Are Sole Proprietorship Registrations the same as Tax Registration?

Its important to know that when you register your business name with the government’s registration division, you still have to register with the tax department. You may be required to apply for GST/HST and PST and payroll tax numbers (if you have employees) and Import/Export tax numbers.

What are the government fees with a Sole Proprietorship Registration, and how long does it take?
Province of Filing Government Registration Fees Processing Times
Alberta $55 2 business days
British Columbia $40 2 business days
Manitoba $60 10 business days
New Brunswick $112 7 business days
Nova Scotia $66.55 7 business days
Ontario $60 2 business days
Prince Edward Island $90 10 business days
Quebec $34 7 business days *
Saskatchewan $55 7 business days **
Yukon Territory $25 7 business days

* Please be advised that the NEQ (Numero d’entreprise du Québec) is obtained at the time of filing, however, there is a government processing time of approximately 7 business days before the trade name is officially approved.
** Please be advised that the current government delay to obtain a name decision for Saskatchewan is approximately 15 business days. This delay is in addition to the processing times for incorporations and business name registrations.

What is a Partnership Registration?

A general partnership is a legal structure where two or more persons carrying on a business with a view to making a profit. Some individuals choose a partnership as the manner in which to carry on a business because of its ease of formation and dissolution, as well as its overall lack of formalities.  You always register your partnership with the provincial government department or agency that handles business registrations in your province.  It’s similar to a sole proprietorship but has 2 or more owners.

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Each year Corporation Centre helps thousands of Canadian owners and managers to formally register, manage, and grow their businesses from the convenience of their office.

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