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Searching For a Business Name in Calgary: A Comprehensive Guide

Calgary, known as the heart of Canada’s energy industry, is a hub for entrepreneurs and established businesses alike. If you’re considering starting or expanding your business in Calgary, one of the first steps you’ll need to take is searching for and registering your business name. This ensures that your business name is unique and isn’t already in use. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to search for a business name in Calgary, what you’ll need, and why Ontario Business Central is your ideal partner for this endeavour.

Searching The Business Name For Availability in Alberta

1. The Importance of Business Name Searches

Before you can register your business, you must ensure that its name isn’t already in use. This prevents any legal disputes or confusion for your clients. A business name search helps:

  • Validate originality: Ensuring your business name is unique is crucial for branding.
  • Avoid legal issues: Operating under a name already registered can result in legal consequences.
  • Lay the foundation: A unique name is the first step towards establishing your business identity.

2. Information Required For the Search

To conduct a business name search in Calgary, you’ll need:

  • Proposed Business Name: Have a few variations in case your first choice is taken.
  • Nature of Business: This helps in classifying your business under the right category.
  • Applicant’s Full Name and Address: This will be for the person or entity conducting the search.

3.  The Importance of Business Name Searches and Nuans

Before you can register your business, you must ensure that its name isn’t already in use. This prevents any legal disputes or confusion for your clients. A business name search, especially using the Nuans system, helps:

  • A NUANS preliminary is recommended for all business entity starts in Calgary
  • A NUANS report is required when you are starting an incorporated business

3. Duration of the Search

The length of time a business name search takes can vary. Typically, if you’re doing an online search, results are often instantaneous. However, some searches might require a more thorough review, especially if potential name conflicts arise. On average, be prepared for the process to take anywhere from a few minutes to receiving information on a same day basis.  You can use our instant results for both the preliminary and NUANS reports or you can  our agent requested results where our team searches the proposed business name for you as part of our expert services.

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What Type of Business to Start in Alberta?

Incorporating a Business in Alberta: Key Considerations

Incorporating a business in Alberta offers numerous advantages, from limited liability protection to potential tax benefits. But, the process requires a detailed understanding of the regulatory landscape. Let’s delve into the specifics of incorporating in Alberta and the considerations you should be aware of.

1. Advantages of Incorporation in Alberta

  • Limited Liability: One of the primary reasons businesses incorporate is to limit the personal liability of its shareholders. In an incorporated entity, shareholders are typically only liable up to the amount they’ve invested in the company.
  • Tax Benefits: Incorporated businesses in Alberta may have access to certain tax advantages and deductions that aren’t available to sole proprietorships or partnerships.
  • Continuity: Corporations have an indefinite lifespan. Even if the founder or key stakeholders pass away, the corporation continues to exist.

2. Steps to Incorporate in Alberta

  • 1.  Complete a numbered or named corporation.
  • Name Your Corporation: As discussed earlier, conducting a business name search, especially using the Nuans system, is essential to ensure the name’s uniqueness. Your corporate name typically ends with a legal element like “Ltd.”, “Inc.”, or “Corp.”.
  • 2.  Prepare Articles of Incorporation: These are documents that set the foundation of your corporation. They detail the types of shares the corporation can issue, the rights of shareholders, and more.
  • To make things easy, we provide our online portal for you to incorporate your Alberta Incorporation within minutes and leave process in our hands.  Alternatively, you can complete the incorporation filing    
  •  with Alberta Corporate Registry: You can either file online or use paper forms. There is a filing fee associated with incorporation which varies based on the method you choose.
  • 3.  Establish Bylaws and Organizational Resolutions: Bylaws govern the corporation’s internal affairs, while organizational resolutions record initial corporate decisions, like appointing directors.
  • Get Required Licenses and Permits: Depending on your business type, you may need additional permits or licenses to operate legally in Alberta.
  • 4.  Stay Compliant: Remember to file annual returns, update the registry with any changes, and maintain accurate corporate records.

3. Post-Incorporation: Ongoing Requirements

Once incorporated, there are several ongoing requirements to maintain the corporation’s status in Alberta:

  • Annual Returns: As previously mentioned, corporations need to submit annual returns to remain compliant.
  • Maintain Corporate Records: Corporations must keep accurate and up-to-date records of their activities. This includes meeting minutes, shareholder decisions, and financial records.
  • Revivals: If a corporation is struck off the register due to non-compliance, it can undergo a revival process to be reinstated.

Registering a Sole Proprietorship in Alberta:  Key Considerations

Starting a business in Alberta and considering a Sole Proprietorship? This structure is a popular choice for many entrepreneurs due to its simplicity and direct control. Unlike corporations, a Sole Proprietorship is not a separate legal entity; instead, the business and the owner are legally the same. This has both benefits and implications, which we’ll delve into. Here’s your guide to registering a Sole Proprietorship in Alberta.

1. Advantages of a Sole Proprietorship in Alberta

  • Simplicity: One of the primary reasons individuals opt for a sole proprietorship is the ease of setup. There are fewer bureaucratic hurdles compared to corporations.
  • Direct Control: As a sole proprietor, you have complete control over your business operations, decisions, and profits.
  • Taxation: All business income is considered your personal income, which can be simpler come tax season. Any business losses can be deducted from other sources of personal income, potentially reducing your overall tax liability.

2. Steps to Register a Sole Proprietorship in Alberta

  • Choose a Business Name: Your business name should be unique to prevent confusion with other entities. Conduct a business name search, preferably using the Nuans system, to ensure your desired name is available.
  • Register with us by completing the simple online portal to register a small business in Alberta or with Alberta Corporate Registry: 
  • You will be asked to provide basic details about your business, including the business name, nature of the business, and your personal details.
  • Pay the Required Fee: 

3. Responsibilities and Implications

  • Personal Liability: Unlike corporations, where liability is limited to the company, sole proprietors are personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business. This means your personal assets, such as your home or car, could be at risk if your business incurs debt or faces legal issues.
  • Renewal and Updates: You must renew your trade name registration every five years. Additionally, if there are changes to your business, such as an address change, you should notify the Alberta Corporate Registry.
  • Taxation: Sole proprietors should be diligent in keeping financial records, as personal and business incomes are intertwined. This can affect your tax bracket and liabilities.

Additional Requirements For Both Incorporation and Registration

Municipal Licencing

Depending on the business you intend to operate, you may require specific municipal licencing in Alberta to operate legally,  BizPal Alberta is a province wide directory  of any required additional licencing for your specific area.  Simply click on your area to find if anything additionally is required.

Alberta Business Tax Accounts 

Registering GST/HST in Alberta

Register for GST: If your business has revenues exceeding $30,000 in a calendar quarter or over four consecutive calendar quarters, you’ll need to register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) with the Canada Revenue Agency.

If you wish, we can take care of the tax setups for your business quickly and easily including the GST/HST, Import/Export Registration and Payroll. 

While it’s possible to navigate the incorporation and registration process on your own, many entrepreneurs opt for professional assistance. Firms like Ontario Business Central can guide you through the intricacies, ensure that you meet all regulatory requirements, and even handle filings on your behalf.

 Choosing Ontario Business Central as Your Trusted Partner

While the search process might seem straightforward, navigating the intricacies of business registration and ensuring full compliance can be challenging. This is where Ontario Business Central comes into play.

  • Experience: With years of experience in helping businesses get established, Ontario Business Central understands the nuances of name searches and registration.
  • Convenience: Instead of navigating the process yourself, Ontario Business Central offers a simplified, streamlined service.
  • Quick Turnaround: Ontario Business Central prides itself on its swift service, ensuring your business name search and registration are completed promptly.
  • Expert Guidance: From offering advice on name choices to ensuring all paperwork is in order, Ontario Business Central is there to guide you every step of the way.