Do You Need To Register Your Business Name?

Nov 8, 2016

You’re getting ready to start your business, maybe it’s a side venture to test the waters and you want to know if you need to register your business.

In most cases the answer is yes, but there is one exception when you are not required to register a business in Ontario.

If you are conducting business under your exact legal name you are not required to formally register the business in Ontario.

This business type is the equivalent of a sole proprietorship without the formal registration. All business income would need to be reported on your personal income tax . This would allow you to conduct business under your own name, accept cheques in your own name and deposit them into your personal bank account.

For example, my name is Jonathan Smith, and if I wanted to conduct business in my own personal name I could do so under the name “Jonathan Smith”. However, if I wanted to conduct business under the name “Jonathan Smith Consulting” this no longer exactly matches my legal name and I would need to formally register this business.

Also, you should know that if you are not registering your business you would not be eligible for a business number or other CRA tax accounts such as a GST/HST Account, if needed. If these accounts are needed you would need to formally register the business.



If you are starting a business and will be operating under your exact legal name you can do so without formally registering the business and you can always register later on. However, you will want to consider what your plans are for the business. If you’re looking to operate as a brand or build a business that will grow and build a reputation, you may want something that’s more memorable, more established and even protected across Canada to make sure you have the rights to use that name as your business grows.

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