Monthly Archives: February 2011

What are the steps to register my business in British Columbia Canada?

Step 1: Name Approval Form
The first step in incorporation or registration of firms is the approval of the business name. This process combines the name search and approval. The approval of any name is at the discretion of the Registrar of Companies.

Step 2: Business Name Search
Prior to submitting your name approval form, Small Business BC has microfiche machines that you can access in-person, free of charge, to search that the name you have chosen is available and not being used by another BC Incorporated company.

Step 3: Complete Name Approval Form
It’s best to fill out all 3 name choices to increase chances for approval of desired name.

The Corporate Registry will only examine the request until a name is approved – if your first choice is approved they do not search the remaining two.

Your name must have two components:

  • The first part of your name must start with a distinctive non-descriptive word or phrase. e.g.: a geographical location, your name, a made up word or phrase, or initials.
  • The second part of your name must describe what type of business you are in, e.g.: shoe store, investments, or doggy wash. A name that would meet the criteria would be Joe’s Shoe Store or Vancouver Doggy Wash. Names that would not be approved are The Shoe Store or The Doggy Wash.

Incorporating a company you must add a third component called the corporate designation: e.g. Limited, Ltd., Corporation, Corp., Incorporated, Inc. When registering a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership, a corporate designation is not used.

Step 4 – Submit Your Name Approval Form:
(For Sole Proprietorship or Partnership and Incorporation)

Name approval results within 1-2 business days

Mail to: Names Unit, Registrar of Companies
PO Box 9431 Stn, Prov Govt,
Victoria BC V8W 9V3
Basic Fee: $30 registration (including tax) Accept cheque or money order, made out to the “Minister of Finance”. Please do not send cash in the mail.
Name approval results within 2-4 weeks

Step 5 – Register your Business Name
Once your business name is approved, this name will be reserved for 56 calendar days. During this time you must submit your declaration form for a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership or file your Incorporation papers.

Register your Sole Proprietorship or Partnership business:

    • OneStop Business Registry enables proprietorship and partnership businesses to register online with multiple public sector agencies in one step.
    • Basic Fee: $40 (Registration application process conducted immediately)
  • Register your business by mail:
    • Ministry of Finance, Corporation and Personal Property Registries
    • PO Box 9431 Stn, Prov Govt,
    • Victoria BC V8W 9V3
    • Basic Fee: $40 (including tax) Accept cheque or money order, made out to the “Minister of Finance”. Please do not send cash in the mail.
    • (Registration application process conducted in 2 -3 weeks)

Register your Incorporation business:

Along with registering your business name, you’ll also need to comply with other legal requirements related to provincial and federal taxation, the Worker’s Compensation Board, labour laws, business records and more.

Step 6 – Obtain Your Business Number
Once you have registered for your business you must obtain a Business Number (BN, number) and open all required business accounts with Canada Revenue |Agency for the purpose of:

  • corporate income import/export
  • employee payroll deductions
  • HST Optional until your business revenue exceed $30,000.00

If you conduct business as a proprietorship or a partnership, report your share of gross and net profits (or losses) for business’ fiscal period on your individual tax return (T1).  For an incorporated company, file a corporation tax return within six months of the end of the corporation’s fiscal period.


Dianne Mueller, CPB

Soma Small Business Solutions