Budding entrepreneurs wanting to setting up a small business (or becoming self employed), either on a full time or part time basis, are often not sure where to start. The process of registering a business in Quebec, depending on your circumstances, can actually be quite straightforward . Below we look at the questions that you need answer to determine your business registration obligations:
Do you want to sell your products or services in your own name?
If you want to start an unincorporated business, whereby you use your own first and last name to invoice and transact with your customers, then technically no registration is required. This is can apply to a diverse range of business owners/self employed individuals including artists, writers and eBay sellers, who do not really need a business name.
Do you want to sell your products or services under a business name that is not your own name?
If you decide that you want to have a business name that is even slightly different from your own name, then you are required to register. The registration process is explained at the Quebec Enterprise Register which is also where the registration process is initiated.
Are you a Partnership or Corporation?
If you are setting up a general or limited liability partnership or a corporation then you must register at the Quebec Enterprise Register
The following Registration procedures page provides you with links to the forms that are available online based on the type of business structure that you select. Alternatively you can ask that the forms be mailed to you by contacting Revenue Quebec or you can go in person to one of their offices (They can be found at Complexe Desjardins in Montreal)
What about Registering for Payroll and GST/QST?
Regardless of whether you register your business with the Quebec Enterprise register, you must evaluate whether you need to register for GST/QST and payroll. For GST/QST (among other considerations) you must determine if your annual sales will exceed $30,000. If this is the case, then you are required to register separately using the form LM-1-V. Similarly, if you intend to hire employees you must register for deductions at source using the same form.
Are there any other considerations?
Even if you are not required to register Revenue Quebec advises:
You can register voluntarily to make public the existence of your enterprise. You will then have the same rights and obligations as an enterprise that is legally bound to register.
Keep in mind that there are some exceptions which should be reviewed at the Enterprise Register website notably those that intend to sell tobacco products and Not For Profit businesses must register
Regardless of whether you register, or how much revenue you generate, you are required to include all sales of goods and services, both on your Federal and Quebec tax return, and reflect it as business income. Any expenses incurred to generate business income are then deductible.
As long as you are aware of your obligations, registering a business in Quebec is a fairly straightforward process and much of it can be accomplished somewhat painlessly online. Once set up, it is important to ensure that you maintain adequate records of revenues and expenses and file the necessary government returns thus ensuring that you can attend to the business of running your business.