Registering a General Partnership in Ontario

business partnership

A Firm Name For a General Partnership, General Partnership or GP as commonly called are a business registration form available in Ontario.  The General Partnership is available as a Business Name Registration, the same as Sole Proprietorships and Trade names.  These forms of registration are also known as a Proprietorship or Partnership.  Unlike a Sole Proprietor which is a business operated by a single owner, the General Partnership is operated by 2 or more.

If you would like to register a General Partnership where two or more people want to start a business together, I am here to help answer as many questions as I can related to completing a General Partnership in Ontario easily and quickly.

A General Partnership is the legal document required under the Ontario Business Names Act for a business operating in Ontario with multiple owners as a registered business whether those business owners are individuals or corporations.

Who Can Register a General Partnership in Ontario?

A General Partnership A.K.A. GP Can Be Registered By the Following Individuals

  • Persons who are or who are not Canadian Citizens
  • Persons who are or who are not Permanent Residents to Canada
  • Individuals who are 18 years or older
  • Landed Immigrants
  • Foreign individuals having a business in Ontario
  • 18 years or older
  • Having no criminal record

A General Partnership A.K.A. GP Can be registered by the following corporation

A General Partnership can be registered by two or more corporations or a combination of individuals and corporations as long as there are a minimum of of two The corporations must

  • Be incorporated or have a branch office in Ontario with an Ontario Corporate Number (OCN)
  • The corporations must be active
  • A director of each corporation must provide authorization

Does a General Partnership Need to Register in Ontario?

Yes, the General Partnership, whether created by two or more individuals, corporations or a combination between the two is required to register as the business starts according to government regulations.

start a general partnership

Does the GP Need a Business Number?

The BN number is now automatically set up by the Canada Revenue Agency for registrations when set up  by two or more individuals.  The BN number is sent by mail to the business address by the Canada Revenue Agency.  This has been a new introduction by CRA in 2022 and on occasion the BN number is not being sent to the General Partnership.

Corporate entities registering a General Partnership already have a BN number for their corporation and a new BN number will be generated for the partnership.  If after registration,  you don’t receive the BN number within a few weeks of registration, it is best to contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)  to inquire regarding delays at 1-800-959-5525.

To Register a General Partnership in Ontario, What is Required?

  • The Name of the General Partnership
  • Physical and mailing address of business
  • Description of business
  • Selection of industry from the Naics Code
  • Individual owners names or corporate and directors names and addresses
  • Personal authorizing General Partnership registration
  • Official Email address connected to individual overseeing registration account
  • Name, address and billing information of credit card holder

How to Add a Trade Name to a General Partnership 

With the introduction of the Ontario Business Registry in October of 2021, an existing General Partnership can now register a second business under that registration as a trade name.  This allows not only for a general partnership to operate bringing more than two people or corporations together in a joint venture but it also allows that General Partnership to expand its business with new branding, services or products under that General Partnership entity.  There is no limit to how many trade names can operate under the GP as you can add the trade name as soon as the General Partnership is created throughout the lifetime of the registration.

Do General Partnerships Need to be Renewed?

Yes, a General Partnership is registered under the Business Names Act in Ontario as a Business Name Registration island is required to be renewed every 5 years.  The province provides a 60 day window past the expiry date to renew the business.  If the date is missed, a new registration is required and the history of the original registration will be lost.

How to Choose a Business Name?

In the overall marketplace, every business is pushing to gain those few seconds of eyes and mind to highlight their business.  It has never been as important to select a business name that resonates with your clientele than today.

We have helped hundreds of thousands of people register and incorporate their businesses and from over 30 years in business, you know when someone has provided a business name that is going to work and a name that isn’t.  Take time and consider what you most want to convey to the consumer.  It is an emotion, accuracy, speed, professionalism that you want to convey?

Name Search the Business – Name Generator

We have introduced a number of tools to help you find that perfect name.  One item we really put forward is to check on a number of name generator businesses.  If nothing else, this will help you creatively and may assist you in finding that perfect name for your business.  If you find a name you like, it is typically not recommended to purchase the name as the name generators are American domains and logo designs.  This tool is just to assist you in finding a name.

NUANS Preliminary and NUANS Report

It is not mandatory to complete a NUANS report when registering a General Partnership but it is well worth the small amount of cost to search the preliminary search database within the NUANS system to see if your selected name has any competition.  Ontario Business Central introduced immediate preliminary search results in early 2022 where now you can search a business name yourself and have the results of whether that business name has any conflicts to existing registered, incorporated or trademarked businesses so you can either register to lock down that name or move to a new business name choice in seconds.

Searching Domain Name Availability

Since every business now has a web presence, finding out if your business name is also available as a domain name to establish a website has never been more valuable.  You can search the domain name with us as you search the business name simultaneously as you register the General Partnership or you can search the domain name separately easily and quickly through our online domain registration portal.

What is an example of a General Partnership?

For example, John and Jason want to open a garage for fixing cars.  Both have different skill sets and the idea of them coming together in unison provides additional value to both business owners and  to customers.  They decided to name the business J&J Garage.  When the business is registered, it is registered by the two individuals under one business roof as a General Partnership.  Another example is two corporations decide that together there is a joint venture where both corporations provide assets to a new entity and together each corporation could flourish.  A General Partnership is also available and advantageous in this circumstance.

What is the Purpose of a General Partnership?

The purpose of a General Partnership is for two or more individuals or two or more corporations engaging in a business venture for both joint venture and prosperity.  Each individual partner has unlimited liability to his or herself as well as the unlimited liability of each additional partner in the business.  With respect to corporations that engage in a General Partnership, unlike individual partners, the corporate partners do have limited liability for the acts of the business.

What Are the advantages of a General Partnership?

  • Easy to establish
  • Leadership roles between different individuals or entities
  • Advantageous skill sets brough to the partnership by each partner
  • Percentage owned by each partner can vary
  • Shared responsibility
  • Easy to cancel

What Are the Disadvantages of a General Partnership?

  • Personal liability risk by each partner to each partner unless incorporated
  • Business name is not protected
  • Shared business success or failure with others
  • Personal tax implications under business unless incorporated
  • Personal tax obligations fully by business revenues
  • Limited availability for change
  • Difficulty obtaining credit without personal guarantees
  • Requires renewal every 5 years

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What is the Difference Between a General Partnership and a Limited Partnership?

A Limited Partnership has a different balance between the individuals involved in the operation.  A General Partner  in  a Limited Partnership has much more risk, and therefore control within the partnership.  The Limited Partners have much less liability for the business operation and are typically investors not involved in the day to day operation of the business.

What is the Difference Between a General Partnership and a Corporation?

A corporation can have multiple owners the same as a General Partnership however the corporation offers many items that the General Partnership does not.  These include liability protection for the owners or shareholders of the corporation.  Personal assets of each business owner are at arms length from the risk of the corporation.  It is much harder to sue individuals under a corporation than it is to sue individuals of a General Partnership for damages caused from the business activity.  An incorporation has business name protection within the jurisdiction the business incorporated within.

Do General Partners Share the Profits?

Yes, it is important to determine the percentage for each partner before the business begins so that each owner understands their personal share of the business.  This can be determined by the amount of money invested in the business, the qualifications of each partner or the overall equality within the business.  It is always recommended that before the General Partnership is established that the business owners complete a partnership agreement.  This will not only determine the shared profits but also the losses, the options available to a partner leaving the business or the parameters around bringing a new partner, removal of a partner, the demise of a partner and many other items.  There are a number of online partnerships available to fill in and download.  We recommend spending time, money and effort with a lawyer who specializes in partnership agreements.

How Does Taxation Work For a General Partnership?

When you register the business, the tax implications depend on the structure for your business. If the business operates as a partnership between two or more individuals, each individual is obligated to pay personal tax on the revenues after the business expenses to the percentage agreed to by the partnership.  If the partnership consists of two or more business corporations, the revenues from the General Partnership will be listed under each corporation by percentage after business expenses.

As for other taxes such as HST, Payroll and Import and Export tax, these are applicable to the General Partnerships with individuals the same as Sole Proprietorships.  When the business earns $30,000.00 in revenue, the General Partnership must apply for HST.  When the business employs employees, the payroll tax must be added and if the partnership imports or exports items into or outside of Canada, the import and export license is required to be added.  There may also be municipal licensing requirements in Ontario.  Bizpal can assist any business owner across Canada to determine and apply for any municipal license requirements.

If the business structure is for two or more corporations, the General Partnership may need to apply for a new HST, payroll and or import and export license regardless of having any of these accounts already set up by the corporate partners.  The General Partnership is a new entity unto itself and may have separate tax accounts.

What Are the Costs to Start a General Partnership?

The costs to register a General Partnership is $60.00 plus a handling fee of $16.00 and a $60.00 government fee.  To start your business with Ontario Business Central, we offer access to register online with processing times of the same day with a rush service fee.  For a lower fee you can opt for the  3 to 7 business days turnaround time.  We also include great additional features to get your General Partnership not only up and running but also giving you resources above and beyond including domain name search and registration, tax account set up including HST, payroll and import and export licensing.

Our staff are here to help you live with any assistance you may have.  We don’t use bots to answer general questions. Our live team is available to assist you with any questions related to starting your business. Monday Through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ETA.  If you want to ask a question outside of business hours. That isn’t a problem, drop us an email, chat or call and we will get back to you.

Ontario Business Central has been assisting clients for over 25 years with all their incorporation and registration needs.
Toll-Free: 1-800-280-1913
Local: 1-416-599-9009
Fax: 1-866-294-4363
Office Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Monday – Friday E.S.T.

Ontario Business Central Inc. is not a law firm and cannot provide a legal opinion or advice. This information is to assist you in understanding the requirements of registration within the chosen jurisdiction. It is always recommended, when you have legal or accounting questions, that you speak to a qualified professional.

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