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A Helpful Checklist for New Small Businesses in Canada

By Jake Nordquist   |    September 26, 2018   |    11:50 PM

Starting a Small Business in Canada

Congratulations, you’re starting a new small business! It’s an exciting time, and you want to make sure you get things right the first time around. From the required paperwork to considerations around .ca domains, here are some of the things new small business owners in Canada need to know to get started.

Choose a business structure

Your business can be structured as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. The structure you choose impacts how income is reported, what type of tax returns you file each year, and much more.

Because each business type is so different, and there are so many small details to consider, working with an accountant or attorney is often the quickest and easiest way to make sure everything is in order.

Will you have employees?

In Canada, employers are required to complete certain payroll requirements. You are generally considered an employer if you:

  • Pay salaries, wages, bonuses, vacation pay, or tips to employees, or;
  • Provide certain taxable benefits, such an automobile or allowances, to employees.

Register for a business number and CRA program account

These nine-digit business numbers are used when working with the federal government, provincial governments, and even municipal jurisdictions. However, not all businesses are required to have a business number.

You may also need a Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) program account to meet some tax obligations and receive certain benefits, refunds, rebates, and more. Here’s an example where a CRA account is not required:

  • You start a new business, but do not want to hire employees. After researching further, you learn that it’s not necessary to register for GST/HST. A business number is also not needed.

Now, let’s assume your business has grown, and you must now register for GST/HST. You’ll register for the accounts and receive a business number. If you later decide to hire employees, you’ll have to register for a payroll deductions program account (which will be attached to the existing business number).

Create a records-keeping system (that you’ll actually use)

You must maintain records of all important business-related documents. Whether you use apps, an old-fashioned paper filing system, or a folder in your inbox, keeping everything organized and accessible will make tax-time much easier.

Register for a website with .ca domain

Nowadays, all small businesses need a web presence, and you may want to consider purchasing a .ca domain instead of a .com domain. According to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, 77% of Canadian consumers prefer to use websites with .ca.

A Canadian domain can also give your company an organic, local SEO boost, because there are fewer domains to compete with, plus location is also considered in rankings.

Find a place to work

You could work from a home office or coffee shop, but there are better options that can elevate the professionalism of your small business. Virtual offices are a great solution, and you can choose from coworking spaces, private offices, and more. To check out some of Intelligent Office’s Canadian locations, visit this page.