Area of Law: Business Law
Answer # 209
How to register a business nameRegion: Ontario Answer # 209
Registering a business name
If you operate your sole proprietorship under a name other than your own name, the law requires that you register the business name. After you conduct a name search to ensure that the name you want is not being used, you can then register your business with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.
Once you have registered your business name, you will receive a Master Business Licence, commonly known as the MBL. The MBL can be used as proof of business name registration at financial institutions and to conduct other business-related transactions with the Ontario government, such as business licence acquisitions.
To register the business name of a sole proprietorship, you must file an application, called a Form 1. This Form requires you to provide basic information about your business, such as the name of your business, its address, and what your business does. After completing this form, you must submit it together with a nominal fee to the Ministry.
Renewing a business name
When a business name is registered, it is added to the public record of 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 it is advisable that you renew your registration before the first one expires. The registration can be renewed by completing the renewal form and paying a small fee. Although it is best to submit the renewal before the name expires, a renewal may be submitted within 60 days after the expiration of the name. The Ministry will not notify you when your business name expires. It is your responsibility to record the date for renewal.
Registration of changes, or cancellation
If a change is made to the business, such as the address of the business changes, you must file an amended registration with the Ministry within 15 days of the change. There is no fee for filing these changes. However, if a new owner takes over operation of the business, or you wish to change the business name, you must file a new Form 1 and pay the government fee.
If you want to stop doing business under your registered name or you want to stop doing business altogether, you should cancel your business name. This is also done by filing another Form 1 with the Ministry. There is no fee for filing a cancellation.
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