So, you are in the process of starting a business… congratulations on this endeavor! You have also settled on a name for the business, but have you checked to see if you can use it and register it? The name of a business and what it represents is a huge factor when operating a business. Obtaining a master business licence is a key step if you plan on using a business name other than your personal name or a corporation name.
Before you register, it may be a good idea to do an enhanced business name search via Service Ontario’s website. You can check multiple variations of your business name to ensure that it is not registered in Ontario. It literally only takes a few minutes to complete and is inexpensive.
There are a few questions that you will need to answer when filling out the online application. A couple important questions asked are with respect to workers compensation and the employer health tax (EHT). If you have payroll over $450,000 in a year, you are required to pay EHT in Ontario. You may be required to pay workers compensation depending on your industry. It will also ask if you are operating as a partnership, and if yes, list the names and contact information of the partners.
Lastly, a business licence is good for 5 years and the cost is $60. This licence is also important if you are opening a business bank account as the bank will ask for a copy. As I have expressed previously, you want to keep your personal affairs separate from your business. I highly recommend getting a business bank account and credit card.