So, you’ve got your Eureka moment. You’ve got something that you’d be able to work on for the rest of your life. A business idea that you’re very passionate about. But, where to go from here? How do you make it into a reality? Well, once you’re done checking the business viability, you must legalize your business. This means that you must gather all the legal documents for starting a business in your local area.
But, where to get them? And, what legal documents will you need in particular?
If you’re worried like most other people, don’t be! We’ve listed out a step-by-step process where you can legalize your business with all the legal documents for starting a business!
So, without further ado, let’s get straight into the legal documents needed for a business in Alberta!
Deciding On Business Structure
After you check the viability of your business, and you’re satisfied with your business idea, you must legalize your business before you even start on producing your minimum viable product (MVP).
The first step in legalizing your business is to at first decide on what kind of business structure will your business have. Each business structure has certain implications for liability, taxation, ownership, and planning of succession.
Types of business structure
Whenever you’re trying to decide on the business structure, you’ll most commonly find these choices. In Alberta, you can choose between the following:
These are businesses that are owned by a single individual and may carry a business name or the individual’s own name.
These are businesses that have multiple owners, and the ownership may be divided according to a mutual agreement of percentage.
If you wish to operate the business as a separate legal entity that’s not connected to you as an entrepreneur and your personal assets, you can decide on naming your business as a corporation.
If your customers control most of your business (like, co-operative banks), you can register your business as a co-operative.
If your business has the potentiality to branch out to different locations in the same branding, but with different ownerships, you should register your company as a franchisee.
If you’re not clear about what structure to use for your business, it’s best to talk to a professional business lawyer to help you choose a structure that fits your business model.
Registering Your Business
After you’ve decided on what business structure to use, you must register your business with the government database. To do this, you need to register the name of your business. The proof of registration will help you to open bank accounts, apply to loans, rent facilities, and many other business activities.
To register your business, you must follow a two-step process. The two steps include:
Requesting the business name
Firstly, you must submit your business name to the Alberta Registry Services online or in-person at the Small Business Alberta. Your application will be then reviewed to check if such name exists, and will then be recorded to determine the ownership of the company.
Registering your business
Once the Alberta Registry Office gets back to you telling you that your business name has been approved, you will have 56 days to register your business name. Or else, your business registration process might be rejected.
Acquiring a Business License
Up until now, you’ve already registered your business. Now, in order to operate, you must acquire a business license. Most municipalities won’t ask you for a license, but it’s something that you might need while scaling.
To get a license, you must at first contact your local city hall and the community co-operative to see which legal body permits businesses to operate. In most cases, you might need professional certifications in order to receive such licenses. However, these are mostly needed for medicinal and legal industries.
For more information, you can visit Alberta’s official guide on how to get a business license.
Registering for a GST/HST Account
Another important local documents for starting a business in Alberta include a GST/HST account.
Generally, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will assign your business with a tax number that will assist the government in tracking all your tax payments. This tax number is known as the GST/HST number.
You can get your GST/HST number by one of the three ways:
- Registering online via the Business Registration Online (BRO)
- By calling the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) over the phone
- By downloading the RC-1 Request for a Business Number, filling it out and mailing the form to the CRA
Some Other Documents You May Require…
After you’ve successfully registered your business, acquired a business license, and received your GST/HST number, you must at once file for other documents. You may need these in the future. These include:
- Business Bank Account
- Export or Import License
- Business Income Tax
- Payroll Clearance, etc.
Keeping track will facilitate your business to steer clear of any legal issues that may arise from the legality of the business.
Remember: this won’t validate your business activities; you will still be needing a license.
There’s a lot that goes into starting a business in Alberta. After you’ve tested the feasibility of your business idea, it’s very important that you gather all the legal documents for starting a business needed in your area. Legalizing your business is a must – it’s one of the fundamental things to do before starting the business.
To legalize your business, you must at know which business structure you’d want for your business. Will you be the only owner, or will there be partners? Or, maybe you might have stakeholders who contribute to the funds. Choose the business structure that fits with your business and then get to the next steps.
Next, you must apply for the business name to the local registry office. If your name is approved, you can apply for a business license. Once you’ve received the business license, you can then apply for a GST/HST account that will monitor your tax payments. These are the important legal documents for starting a business that you’d need.
Overall, getting your business legalized can be a very lengthy process. To ensure smooth sailing, you can hire a professional business lawyer in Alberta who can help with all your legal needs. Also, you can read our blogs to get deeper insights into the legal atmosphere in Alberta!