Is your business registered? TRICK QUESTION! Your response should be "it depends; registered with who?"
Many Provinces require a business to register with the province in order to operate as a business in that province. For example, in Ontario, if you are going to run the business under a business name other than your own personal name, you will need to register your business name with the Province of Ontario and get a business license to operate under that name in Ontario. It’s pretty quick'n easy. It includes a name search to make sure no one else is operating under that name in Ontario, and only costs $60. If you do this, they will give you a Business License to operate under that name, and Business Identification Number. This is NOT the same thing as a Business Number, which is a federal thing.
You do not have to register your business with the Federal Government until there is a reason to do so. There are various federal agencies, but two come to mind for business registration: Service Canada & Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You do not have to register with Service Canada unless you hire employees (at which point, you will need to be able to issue ROEs via Service Canada’s ROE Web, and you will need to be registered with CRA before you create an account with Service Canada). You do not have to register with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and get a Federal Business Number unless any one of these things occur:
When any one of these things occur, you create a Business Account with CRA and you are issued a Business Number. It is nine digits long, and I sometimes refer to it as the SIN number of the business. That is because it is basically a way for the CRA to track how much you owe them! Let's pretend the CRA Business Number you are issued is 1234 56789...
The real business hack is understanding how to pay to the correct business program account, and also to the correct period! Paying to the incorrect period causes wasted time and money! More than you realize! Yes, it can be fixed, but to sort it out can take more time than you may think. Paying on time and to the correct program and period will help you to not give CRA more money than you have to!
Stay Tuned for next month's blog post; When does a business HAVE to register for GST/HST, and why would a business WANT to register for GST/HST before they have to!?!
If you have any specific questions you want addressed in that post, feel free to email me!