June 12, 2023

How to set up a corporation

Incorporating a business in Alberta involves a few key steps:

  1. Choose a name: You can choose a unique name for your corporation that is not already in use by another business. Many people choose to use a number company (i.e. 1234567 Alberta Ltd.).
  2. Choose a corporate structure: Consider the corporate structure that works best for you. This includes the number of directors, shareholders, and the type of shares that will be issued.
  3. File articles of incorporation: You will need to file Articles of Incorporation with the appropriate provincial or territorial government agency, along with a registration fee. You can do this through a license center yourself or through a lawyer.
  4. Obtain a business number: You will need to obtain a business number and register for any relevant provincial or federal taxes, such GST & Payroll. You can do this online or by calling the CRA.
  5. Sign up for CRA online: You’ll want to be able to access your online CRA account. This is where you can access your GST, payroll and corporate filings, amounts owing and other important information. This is also where you’ll add your accountant and bookkeeper as authorized representatives. This gives them access to your online CRA account and allows them to call the CRA on your behalf regarding your corporate accounts.
  6. Keep corporate records: It is important to keep accurate corporate records, such as shareholder and director resolutions, as well as other legal documents in a safe place.
  7. Obtain any applicable licenses, insurance and permits: Depending on the type of business you are operating, you may need to obtain additional licenses and permits.
  8. Set up a business bank account: You’ll want any business expenses or income going through the business account and not a personal account as expenses can get missed. You can also set up corporate tax payment through your business bank account which makes making payments to the CRA easier.
  9. Lastly, you’ll want to find a bookkeeper and accountant that fits your business needs. Some accounting firms offer both, like Simplify! We offer monthly plans that cover your business from start to finish. The bookkeeping to the corporate tax return at year-end. You can find out more here.

It is always recommended to consult with a lawyer and/or an accountant to ensure all necessary steps are taken to properly incorporate a business, but following these steps, you’ll be headed in the right direction!

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