Congratulations on registering your Sole Proprietorship on Ownr! We have compiled a quick guide for you to get your business up and running.
1. Open a Bank Account
You can now log into your Ownr account to download your documents and redeem your $89 RBC Refund. To initiate the refund process, you will need to have opened a new and active RBC Business Bank Account. Opening a bank account for your business can help:
Keep your personal and business transactions separate—you’ll save time and simplify the day-to-day management of your business finances.
Start building a credit profile for your business.
Easily make and receive business-related payments.
Learn more: 5 Reasons to Open a Business Bank Account
To request the refund once your RBC Business Bank Account is open, click the "Refund Me" button in the Dashboard (or under Settings) and confirm the last 4 digits of the account number.
2. Identify Your Registration Number and Business Number
A Registration Number is assigned by your provincial registry at the time the company is registered. It is used for filing legal documents. This is found on your registration document from the government and allows individuals to operate a business under a name of their choosing, which is different from the person's legal name. Sole Proprietors generally need this number to obtain a Business Number from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
A Business Number is assigned by the CRA within 1 or 2 business days of registration. This number is used for tax purposes and opening accounts with the CRA. Depending on which province you are registered in, Sole Proprietorships can obtain their Business Numbers on Ownr or directly from the CRA by calling 1-800-959-5525. See more information based on your province below.
Sole Proprietorships registered with Ownr receive a Statement of Registration from the B.C. Registry, which includes a Business Registration Number. The CRA then assigns a Business Number which can be found directly on the Statement of Registration. The Business Number can also be found in the Ownr Dashboard under Organization > Company Info. Sometimes the CRA can be delayed in assigning the Business Number, so if you don’t see it appear in your Dashboard right away, you can check back in a few business days.
Alberta Sole Proprietorships registered with Ownr receive a Trade Name Declaration from the Alberta Registry. The Alberta Registry provides the business number, at which point it is added to the Ownr Dashboard under Organization > Company Info. The number on the Trade Name Declaration is the Registration Number, while you can find the Business Number in the Ownr Dashboard.
If you’re an Alberta Sole Proprietor who has registered a Trade Name in the past, Ownr will receive a notice that you have already been assigned a Business Number by the CRA, and you can continue to use that Business Number. In this case, there may be a delay in adding this to your account and it will show as 000000000 on your account. If you already know the Business Number, you can reach out to our support team to add the number to your Dashboard.
Ontario Sole Proprietorships receive the Business Name Registration for a Sole Proprietorship document, which is proof of business registration with the Ontario government. It contains the Business Identification Number.
The CRA assigns the business number to your company after it is registered.
Ontario Sole Proprietors who register with Ownr must call the CRA at 1-800-959-5525 and provide the Registration Number located on the Business Name Registration for a Sole Proprietorship document to receive the Business Number.
3. Register for CRA Program Accounts
To register for HST/GST, Import/Export or Payroll as a Sole Proprietor, you first need to obtain your Business Number. Once you have your Business Number (a nine-digit number generally with an RT0001 at the end), you can register for other program accounts directly through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You can initiate this process online or at 1-800-959-5525.
Business numbers have a variety of endings and identifiers depending on the account. In each instance, the nine-digit number remains the same, with the program identifier changing. For example:
Income Tax 123456789 RC 0001
Payroll 123456789 RP 0001
HST 123456789 RT 0001
Import 123456789 RM 0001
Export 123456789 RM 0002
4. Making Changes to Your Sole Proprietorship
Typically, the government does not allow sole proprietorships to change business names. To change your business name, you will need to register a new business.
To get started, follow the prompts on our website and select sole proprietorship. Let us know if you have any questions as you go through the process by contacting our support team.
Ownr cannot update the information on your business name registration documents once it has been issued. We recommend verifying that the information on Ownr is correct before submitting.
To change your business name, you will need to create a new business name registration. You can dissolve your Sole Proprietorship after registering a new one. For more information, head over to the B.C. registry website here.
To change your business address, more resources can be found on the B.C. Registry site here, where you can navigate to “Change a business address” for a sole proprietorship.
To change your business name, you will need to create a new business name registration. You can sometimes try amending some information on your registration through Service Ontario by logging in to your online account. The login information is provided in the document Company Key, which can be found in your Ownr Dashboard.
If you do not have this document, follow the link on the page to create a new account with Service Ontario.
To change your business name, you will need to create a new business name registration.
To change your business address, you can navigate to this page and complete a Declaration of Address Change form.
5. Renewing Your Business License
Depending on the province you registered your sole proprietorship in, you may be required to renew your business name and contract every so often. In Ontario, you’ll need to do this every five years, whereas in B.C., your contract will never expire. Check the requirements specific to your province or territory and be sure to mark your renewal date in your calendar—you usually won’t get a reminder to do this. If you choose to change your business’s name or switch ownership, you will be required to re-register irrespective of your jurisdiction.
6. Take advantage of Ownr Perks
Be sure to take advantage of all the perks of being an Ownr customer. Not only do you receive $89 back after opening an RBC Business Bank Account, but you also get to explore discounts on other business services and products here.
7. Incorporating Your Business in the Future
Many entrepreneurs initially choose to structure their business as a Sole Proprietorship because they are simple and less expensive to run, and all profits go directly to the business owner. There are also several advantages to structuring your business as a corporation, and deciding to incorporate your Sole Proprietorship can open up new opportunities such as raising capital, bringing on shareholders or reducing business risk and personal liability.
There is no transition process from a Sole Proprietorship to a corporation as it's a new legal entity. If you already have an Ownr account, you can select 'Add new company' from the dropdown on the top left and then click 'New' instead of 'Existing'. You can dissolve your sole proprietorship directly with the government if you wish.
You can generally choose to use the same name as your sole proprietorship when you incorporate. In order to do so, you will have to sign a consent form.
Follow the steps below when creating the new corporation:
In Step 2 (Name Confirmation) - Click the prompt that says "If you have a NUANS reservation or have previously registered this name, click here."
A window will appear with a dropdown menu, choose "Business under this name".
Sign the Trade Name Consent document.
Once completed, you will have confirmed that you are the current owner of the business name. Your consent will be submitted to Corporations Canada for their review. Please note that the naming rules for corporations are generally more strict than for Sole Proprietorships, so it not guaranteed that you will be able to incorporate with the exact same name.
Our blog has many resources on this. Read our article on “Reasons Why Sole Proprietors Incorporate Their Business” so you can learn more.
If you have any questions or require assistance with any of the above, don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team.