Registering a Sole Proprietorship in Ontario
No one likes paperwork — especially official government paperwork. But if you’ve been putting off registering your business in fear that it will require the help of a lawyer, a dictionary, and a fortune teller, just to submit the application — you should know there’s help and you’ve come to the right place!
Registering a business might be stressful, time consuming, and confusing, but it’s also necessary. I should know — I’ve registered two businesses and both times it was painful, unpleasant, and caused me to fall down a Google black hole trying to ensure I was doing it right.
The good news is: if you’re registering a sole proprietorship in Ontario, Ownr is an extremely affordable service to help you register your business quickly and easily online.
Here is a simple breakdown of how you can register your business:
Is a sole proprietorship right for you?
Sole proprietorship can be perfect if you’re running a small business by yourself and don’t want to have to worry about complex corporate paperwork or big corporate accounting fees. You can also file your small business income as part of your personal taxes.
If you have a partner, you’ll have to file for a partnership rather than a sole proprietorship, and if you’re worried about potentially being sued or held liable in the future, you might want to look into a corporation instead.
Register your business name
When it comes to running a sole proprietorship, you’re in luck — it can be easier to set up than any other kind of company! If you plan to run a tutoring or even a plumbing business under your own name, then you don’t have to register, but if you want to use a unique name like, “John Plum’s Plumbers,” then you’ll have to register your name. Not doing so could result in serious fines. Yikes!
Before you decide on a name, you might want to look into whether the domain name for your choice is available online. Your name might be Jane Kaplan, but you don’t want to call your business “Kaplan Tutoring” because you might not be able to get the URL — and you would also likely be infringing on an existing trademark.
After that, you’ll need to conduct a search to make sure that the name you’ve chosen hasn’t been taken already. Ownr provides you with up to 10 free searches (they usually cost $5 to $12 each) just in case you want to try a few different options.
Fill out the paperwork
Now comes the part everyone loves – the forms. You just need to know a few details — like what type of business you’re opening, your name and home address, as well as an address for your business. You can register your business name in person, by mail,— or you can simply use Ownr and it does it all for you.
Ownr also keeps all your business info in one place so you don’t have to tear your hair out wondering where the file is with your business registration information when you’re hiring a team member, opening a business bank account, or applying for a business loan or credit card.
Register for a GST or HST number
Finished registering your business? Don’t pat yourself on the back for a job well done just yet — there are a few more things to do! You’ll likely need to register for a tax ID via the Canadian Revenue Services since you’ll need it if you have to register for GST or HST, payroll deductions, corporate income taxes, or import/export licenses.
If you make more than $30,000, you’ll also need to register for a GST or HST number and charge and remit sales taxes. Even if you don’t make over $30,000, you might still want to do so, since registering for GST and HST will allow you to claim input tax credits against your business income. Essentially, you’ll get to deduct the GST or HST from things you buy for your business.
Depending on your province, you might also need to register for a PST number, but each province has different guidelines around who has to charge PST and exemptions based on your revenue.
Pro tip: You’ll also need to register other licences or certifications necessary for your business, like plumbing certifications or health and safety permits required to run your business by the health department. BizPal is a government service that can help you figure out what licences and permits you may need.
Ready to get started? There’s no time like the present — especially when registering your business is so quick and easy. With Ownr, you can get it done and get on with building your company.