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213 Registering a partnership name The law requires that the business name of a partnership be registered unless it is the name of one of the partners. If you do not register the name of your partnership within 60 days of creating your business, you may be fined up to $2000. Once you have chosen a name for your partnership, you should conduct a name search to ensure that the name you want is not being used by another business. After completing your search you can then proceed to register your partnership with the Ministry of Consumer & Business Services. There are several things you must do to register your business name and to keep the registration valid.
To register the business name of a partnership you must obtain an application called a Form 1. This form can be ordered or picked up for free at the Companies Branch of the Ministry of Consumer & Business Services. On the Form 1 you must provide basic information about your business, such as the name of your business, its address, and the names of the partners. You will then submit the completed Form 1 and the application fee of approximately $60-$80 to the Ministry of Consumer & Business Services. If you submit the form in person, the registration can be completed the same day. If you submit the application by mail it will take about a month to be registered. If there is a problem with your application, the Ministry will contact you.
- Expiry of business name registration after 5 yearsOnce a business name is registered, it is added to the public record containing information about all Ontario businesses. A business name registration is only valid for five years. If you plan to use the name for longer than five years then you must renew the registration before the first one expires. You must keep track of the registration date because the Ministry will not give you notice of the expiration.
- Registration of changes to partnership or cancellationIf a change is made to the business, such as a new partner is added, or the address of the business changes, you must file a new Form 1 with the Ministry within 15 days of the change. There is no fee for filing the changes.
If you want to stop doing business under your registered name or want to stop doing business altogether, you should cancel your business name. This is done by filing another Form 1 with the Ministry. There is no fee for filing a cancellation.
If you have a question about registering a business name, you can contact the Companies Branch of the Ministry of Consumer & Business Services. The Ministry can also direct you to your local business self-help office which can also provide you with information.
If you have questions about which form of business is best for you or any other legal questions about your business, contact a lawyer.