How to Register a Business in BC in 2024

How to Register a Business in BC in 2024

You must first grasp how to register a business in BC if you’re a British Columbian entrepreneur with significant business aspirations. This straightforward step is the starting point for any entrepreneur with enormous ideas who wants to build their dream business.

Registering a business in British Columbia involves seeking business name approval and paying for the business registration.

While the amount to register a business varies depending on the type of business, the business name approval form costs $30. You can form a sole proprietorship, partnership, incorporated company, society, or cooperative in British Columbia.

You can follow the numerous steps in this guide to register a business in British Columbia. You’ll also learn about the next steps to take after registering your business in British Columbia.

What does it mean to register a business?

The act of registering a business serves to identify the owner to the general public. A business owner registers their company with the Canadian Registrar of Companies.

Even though this step is optional, it is necessary if you manage a partnership in the trading, manufacturing, or mining sectors.

Registering a business is also compulsory if you use another name other than your own in doing business. So, entrepreneurs in BC register a business if they are in select industries or if they wish to operate under a different name.

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Why should you register a business?

The Canadian government doesn’t make business registration compulsory for no reason. Registering your business makes it a legal entity separate from the owner. The business receives rights, liabilities, and other qualities that are better explained below.

The Business Gains Legal Recognition

A business that has been registered can now enter into contracts, obtain loans, and be sued as an independent entity. When you wish to keep your personal and professional matters separate, this is crucial. In the event that things go wrong, the business is held responsible since you’re separate from it.

The Business Becomes Credible

A registered business is a necessity when you want to conduct business with big customers. This shows that your firm is credible, legitimate, and professional, all of which are important for making a good first impression. A registered enterprise also makes it easier to foster trust among business partners.

Business Expansion Becomes Easier

To expand a business, you’ll need to build new branches, enter partnerships, or even franchise the business. One of the basic requirements for any of these steps is a registered business. So, registering your business beforehand makes it easier to expand when the time comes.

Benefits of registering a business

The journey of learning how to register a business in BC isn’t an unrewarding one. The importance of going through this process was discussed above, and now we’ll show you how you stand to benefit.

You Can Own Business Accounts

A business account is a bank account where you can receive proceeds or payments from your partners or anyone at all. It projects a professional image for a business owner and also keeps business proceeds separate from the owners. To open such an account, however, you’ll need to provide proof that you own a registered business.

It’s Easier to Apply for Loans

If you want to collect business loans, you’ll need to own a registered business. This is one of the requirements that many Canadian lenders require to approve a business loan. You’ll also need proof that you own a business when you apply for a business credit card.

Hiring Employees Becomes Easier

Hiring competent employees can be rather difficult on short notice. However, this is different for a registered establishment, as it’s given free access to Canada’s Job Bank. This job bank is a register that contains a record of the most employable individuals in Canada.

Types of businesses you can register in BC

Understanding the kinds of businesses you can establish is the next step in this guide on how to register a business in BC.

There are different prerequisites and costs associated with different kinds of businesses when it comes to getting them registered. So, you can read through this section to understand what type of business your establishment falls under.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is a company that is owned and operated by just one person. All of the earnings generated by this business go to the owner, and it is simple to start up with little capital. For this simple type of business, the owner assumes all the risk and pays all the taxes involved.

Partnerships

A partnership is a company run and owned by two or more people. Such firms are similarly simple to start, and sharing responsibilities is made simpler by shared ownership. Decision-making procedures are also improved because there are more decision-making authorities at the top of the business.

You must also consider interpartner conflict when building a partnership. If one of the partners leaves in this scenario, the business might not succeed.

Incorporated Companies

A business that’s been registered as a separate legal entity and currently exists apart from its owners is known as an incorporated company. Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP), Private Limited Liability Companies, and Public Limited Liability Companies are examples of incorporations.

Investors view corporations as being more reliable, and raising funds is simpler for them. But establishing a corporation is an expensive and difficult process.

Cooperatives

A group of people with similar interests came together to start this business in order to achieve a shared economic or social objective. The individuals that form this cooperative also use the products of their company. Cooperatives are taxed less, and their members get easy access to their products.

Societies

These organizations, which are not for profit, have been created to further the public’s overall interests. They create their bylaws and constitutions in accordance with the Societies Act to help them run their organization. Societies are also exempt from income tax in Canada.

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Requirements for registering a business in BC

If you wish to register a business in British Columbia, you must be an owner or have employees. Additionally, you need to provide a few details, like:

  • Your last name
  • Date of birth
  • Personal postal code
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Business name and business number (if there’s one)
  • Type of business (i.e. sole proprietorship, partnership, etc)
  • The establishment’s street and postal addresses
  • Description of the business
  • Name and SIN of all business owners

Registering a business in BC involves two basic procedures:

  • Getting a business name approved and reserved
  • Filing a Statement of Registration

Each of these processes consists of several steps and also requires separate fees. Don’t take these fees lightly, as most business registrations in British Columbia fail because the merchant paid incorrect fees. All business registration fees are paid to the Minister of Finance by cheque, bank draft, cash, or money order.

The basic fees involved in registering different businesses in BC include:

Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships

Here, you’ll need to pay $40 for the registration fee and $30 to approve and reserve a business name. So, you’ll be paying $70 in all.

Incorporated Companies

For limited companies, you’ll need to pay $30 for name approval and $350 to register the company. An unlimited liability company, however, pays $30 for name approval and $1000 for registration.

Cooperatives

These organizations pay $30 for name approvals and $250 as a basic registration fee.

Societies

These organizations pay $30 for name approvals and $100 as a basic registration fee.

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Step-by-step buide: registering a business in BC

If you meet the prerequisites, we’ll now show you how to register a business in BC. All partnerships, sole proprietorships, and other unincorporated enterprises in British Columbia are required to register as businesses. However, there is a different registration procedure that must be followed by incorporations.

Simply follow the instructions below to register a business in BC (including sole proprietorships and partnerships):

  1. Download the Name Approval Request form from www.bcregistrynames.gov.bc.ca.
  2. You’ll provide your personal information, business information, and the names of the partners (if it’s a partnership).
  3. You’ll also need to provide three different business names, pay the $30 fee, and wait for approval. The registrar always chooses the first business name that doesn’t conflict with an already-existing company.
  4. Your Name Approval Request form can be submitted via mail, at a Service BC centre, or online at www.bcregistrynames.gov.bc.ca. You must pay both the approval fee and a $1.50 internet fee when submitting your form online. At the Service BC Centre, you’ll pay the approval fee and whatever service fees they charge.
  5. If you’re sending mail, submit your approval form with a cheque or money order for $30. Send it to the Corporate Registry, PO Box 9431 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria BC V8W 9V3.
  6. If all the submitted names conflict with those of an existing company, your form will be returned for you to change them. If they don’t, the business name will be reserved for your establishment for 56 days. So, you’ll need to register your business during this period.
  7. Visit https://www.bcregistry.ca/business/ to register your company online and pay the registration fee with a credit card. You also have the option to download the form and manually fill it out with the appropriate details. After which, you can send it through the Service BC Centre or by mail with the required payment.
  8. If your business registration is successful, you’ll receive a registration acknowledgment that will show your registration number and date.

How to Incorporate a Business

In this section, we’ll be showing you how to incorporate a business in BC. Although the process of incorporation is more complex than normal business registration, it still starts the same way. That is, you’ll need to provide your business name first before you get started.

Below is a detailed guide you can follow on how to incorporate in BC.

  1. The first step in incorporating a company is to reserve a business name. To do this, you’ll have to follow the steps shown above to reserve a name and get it approved. You’ll also have to pay $30 for name approval.

Unlike sole proprietorships and partnerships, incorporated businesses require a name that’s different from others. This isn’t for any intellectual property rights protection, however; it’s just to prevent the public from being misled by companies with similar names.

Take note that all incorporated business names must contain a “distinctive element,” “a descriptive element,” and a “legal ending.” For instance, Randy Motors Inc.: “Randy” is distinct, “Motors” describes the business, and “Inc” is a legal ending.

  1. You can submit the Name Approval Request online at www.bcregistrynames.gov.bc.ca, at your local Service BC Centre, or by mail.
  2. When the name is approved, it’s reserved for 56 days, during which you’ll have to register the incorporation.
  3. The next step is to establish the articles of your company. These articles are the rules that govern the conduct of the directors, the shareholders, and the company as a whole.
  4. Each incorporator will need to sign the incorporation agreement that you’ve prepared.
  5. The next step is to file an incorporation application with the Canadian Corporate Registry. This application is submitted online with a $350 registration fee and an extra $1.50 online service fee.
  6. If the application is successful, your company will be incorporated, and you’ll receive an incorporation number. The Corporate Registry will also send you the original certificate of incorporation and a certified copy of the Notice of Articles. They’ll also send you a certified copy of the incorporation application, and all these documents are to be kept as your company’s records.

Registering a business name in BC

A business name is the legal identity of the business. It’s always approved before business registration to prevent confusion from businesses with similar names. No business can register with a name that resembles or looks similar to that of an incorporation in British Columbia.

When choosing a business, three names are always given. The registrar will always choose the first name that has no issues. This means that if the first name is good enough, it’ll be chosen; if not, the second, and if not, the third.

Where to register a business in BC

When it comes to the choice of where to register a business BC, there are three options you can choose from:

  • Online: To register online, you’ll have to visit www.bcregistrynames.gov.bc.ca and fill out your form there. Apart from the normal name approval fee, you’ll also have to pay an online fee of $1.50.
  • In Person: This is when you visit the local Service BC Centre near you. Here, you’ll be provided with a Name Approval Request form to fill out, and you’ll pay the normal fee and other extra charges.
  • Mail: Here, you’ll send a mail to the Corporate Registry at PO Box 9431 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria BC V8W 9V3. This mail will contain your Name Approval Request Form and a cheque or money order for $30, payable to the Minister of Finance.

Registering a business in Vancouver, BC: any differences?

Vancouver is a city in British Columbia, so all the business registration steps for BC also apply to it. So, you can just follow the business registration procedures shown above.

Post-registration: what comes after registering your business in BC?

Now that you’ve learned about how to register a business in BC, there’s the question of what happens after it. Once you’re done registering your business, there are quite a few things that you can do, such as:

  • Publishing a notice of the incorporation in local newspapers
  • Issuing stocks to the shareholders of the business
  • Getting the company a Tax Identification Number (TIN)
  • Opening a business account
  • Obtaining the business licences related to the business
  • Creating bylaws for the business

How to register a business in BC conclusion

Registering a business in BC is very straightforward and requires you to register the business name and the business itself. Registering a business allows it to assume a legal identity, and it’s compulsory for businesses in the trading, mining, and manufacturing industries.

Take note that incorporating a business in BC is not the same as incorporating it in Canada. Incorporating in BC only offers your incorporation rights for BC and no other province. If you want to enjoy incorporation rights in all provinces across Canada, you’ll need to incorporate your business in Canada.

This is a basic guide on how to register a business in BC; for the greatest results, you should speak with an expert.

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FAQs about how to register a business in BC

What sets registering a business name apart from registering a company?

A business name is just an identity officially used to recognize a company. However, once a company is officially registered, it has become a separate legal entity from its owner. It’s necessary to register a corporation, but not unincorporated enterprises such as sole proprietorships or partnerships.

Are there any businesses that I don’t have to register in BC?

Yes, if you’re a sole proprietor operating in industries outside manufacturing, trading, and mining, you don’t need to register your business. You don’t need to register the business either if you’re using your name when transacting with others. To get a business license, however, you may still need to register with the municipal authorities in BC.

How long does it take for my business to get registered in BC?

Getting a name approved takes 1-3 days, while business registration can take days for sole proprietorships and partnerships and weeks for incorporations. However, you can enjoy same-day business registration if you pay an extra $100 with your filing fee for priority registration.

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June 25, 2023
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