Starting a business can be an overwhelming process. But it doesn’t have to be. To help you out with your new entrepreneurial journey, here is a guide on how to register your business in Alberta.
The first step in registering your business is to decide on a business structure. The most common types of business structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to pick the one that makes the most sense for your business.
The process for registering your business can differ depending on the type of business structure you choose for your business.
Sole Proprietorship or Partnership
If you are starting a sole proprietorship and will be conducting business under a name other than your own or if you are starting a partnership, you must register a business name with the Government of Alberta.
1. Choose a Business Name
Your business name does not have to be unique and duplicate names may exist. But if the name you choose for your sole proprietorship or partnership is the same or similar to another business/corporation name or trademark, you could be sued and you may have to change your business name or pay damages.
You cannot use words such as “limited,” “incorporated,” or “corporation” or abbreviations of these words (i.e. Ltd., Inc., Corp.) in your business name because this would signal to the public that you are running a corporation rather than a sole proprietorship or partnership.
If you are registering a limited liability partnership, you must include “limited liability partnership” or its abbreviation “LLP” at the end of your business name.
2. Get a Business Name Report (recommended but not required)
A Business Name Report contains the names of businesses, corporations, and trademarks that are similar to the business name you have chosen for your sole proprietorship or partnership. You can obtain a Report from a NUANS service provider.
Follow this link to search for authorized NUANS members by region.
3. Fill Out the Necessary Forms
To register a sole proprietorship, fill out the Declaration of Trade Name form.
To register a general partnership, fill out the Declaration of Partnership form.
To register a limited partnership, fill out the Application for Alberta/Extra-Provincial Limited Partnership.
To register a limited liability partnership, fill out the Application for Alberta/Extra-Provincial Limited Liability Partnership.
If you intend to have another person register the Partnership on your behalf, you will also be required to complete the Special Authority to Execute a Registration form.
All of these forms can be found on the Government of Alberta website.
If you are registering a limited partnership, you are free to prepare your own documents so long as you include the same information contained in the Alberta/Extra-Provincial Limited Partnership form. If you are registering a limited liability partnership, you may also prepare your own documents containing all of the required information. You must also obtain a professional endorsement that certifies your profession is eligible to register as a limited liability partnership.
4. Submit Your Application Package
Bring the application package to a registry agent or authorized Alberta service provider. You must bring your business name information, the business name report (if you used one), your completed forms/documents, a valid ID, and money to pay the applicable fee. At the time this article was written, the applicable fee includes a government fee of $10 for a general partnership or $50 for a limited partnership/limited liability partnership + a service fee that is determined by the registry agent).
Registering your corporation in Alberta means it will be a provincial corporation that can only conduct business within the province. To conduct business in another province, you must register your business in that province as well. If you are looking to conduct business in multiple provinces, consider incorporating your business federally instead.
Related: How to Incorporate Your Business Federally
1. Choose a Name for Your Corporation
You can submit a custom word name or get a numbered name assigned to you by the Government of Alberta. The custom name for your corporation must have:
- a distinctive element – makes your name unique, such as a family name.
- a descriptive element – describes what your corporation does.
- a legal element – tells the public that your business is incorporated and must be a word such as “limited,” “incorporated,” etc.
If you decide to use a custom word name, you have to complete a NUANS Report. Unlike in a sole proprietorship or partnership, this step is not optional.
2. Prepare the Necessary Documents
Create your articles of incorporation. These documents will set out the rules of management for your corporation.
3. Record the Address of the Corporation
Provide an address for your corporation in Alberta to receive written correspondence.
4. Elect a Director
Elect or appoint at least one director for your corporation and have them complete
the Notice of Director form.
5. Appoint an Agent for Service
An agent for service is an individual located in Alberta who can accept notices and documents in person or by mail on behalf of the corporation. The agent for service does not need to be a lawyer.
Templates for Articles of Incorporation, Notice of Address, Notice of Director and Notice of Agent for Service can be found here.
6. Submit Your Application Package
Bring the application package to a registry agent or authorized Alberta service provider. You must bring your business name information and a copy of your NUANS Report if you are using a custom word name, a valid ID, and money to pay the applicable fee. At the time this article was written, the applicable fee is $275.
Disclaimer: Please do your own research to determine the applicable fee for the registration of your business. It may have changed from the time this article was written. Best of luck with your new business!
To wrap up, registering a business in Alberta, whether it’s a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, involves a series of important steps. Choosing the right business structure, selecting a suitable business name, obtaining necessary reports, completing specific forms, and submitting your application package are all crucial aspects of this process. Each business structure has its unique requirements and processes, and it’s essential to understand these differences to ensure a smooth registration. Additionally, the costs associated with registering your business may vary, so it’s advisable to conduct thorough research to stay updated on the latest fees and requirements. By following the guidelines provided in this article, you can navigate the registration process more effectively, laying a solid foundation for your entrepreneurial journey in Alberta. Remember, proper preparation and understanding of the legal requirements are key to successfully establishing and running your business.