Legal Requirements for Trade Name Registrations in Alberta
An Alberta sole proprietorship registration is covered by the Alberta Partnership Act.
The statute says that any person who
(1) is engaged in business for trade, manufacturing, contract or mining purposes; and
(2) is not associated with any other person or persons and uses as a company name a name or designation other than that of the person, or the person’s own name with the addition of “and company” or another word or another sense, the declaration of several members in a firm, must
submit a written statement of the fact to the Alberta Registrar.
This means that if you use a name other than your own in Alberta and you are not working with anyone else, you must register a certificate of trade name in order to do business in Alberta as a sole proprietor.
A sole proprietorship trade name statement must be filed under a name other than your own within six months of starting the business.
You do not need to submit an Alberta NUANS report to register a sole proprietorship in AB. The Partnership Act (Alberta) does not require an Alberta trade name, Alberta partnership, or Alberta name of a sole proprietor to be unique. Any corporation, sole proprietorship, or partnership can register the same business name in Alberta at the same time. This doesn’t mean you should just go ahead and register whatever name you want. It is important that you make every effort to have a separate name for an Alberta registration that is very different from all other names. The best way to make sure of this is to look up a provisional name in the Alberta Registry before registering your sole proprietorship.
To be clear, Alberta company names are unique and no one can register a company with the exact same name as another company. If a company conducts business under a company name other than its own name (sometimes referred to as an Alberta trade name), there is no protection for the name. An Alberta registration such as an Alberta partnership, an Alberta trade name, or an Alberta sole proprietorship has no protection for their names in Alberta. It is advisable to request a NUANS name search report in Alberta to ensure that the name is not being used by another company, as it could conflict with your company if you are using a similar name.
You cannot register an Alberta trade name or a sole proprietorship in Alberta yourself. You must ask a provider to help you with the registration. The information that you must provide to the provider is your full name, your residential address, a description of the business you will be operating, the city in which the business will be conducted, the name of the business, the date the business was first started, your profession, and proof of identity. You must have a driver’s licence number, birth certificate number, passport number, or health card number. The form does not need to be signed in the original. The identification gives the government your true identity. The identification is included as part of the registration process for an Alberta registration.
The form to be filed for an Alberta registration, such as an Alberta sole proprietorship or an Alberta trade name, is called a “Trade Name Declaration” in accordance with the Partnership Act (Alberta). A service provider will help you fill in the form.
If the sole proprietor’s residential address changes, the sole proprietor has 30 days to change its address. He or she must submit an Alberta Declaration of Address Change that includes the new address.
To terminate your Alberta sole proprietorship, you must file a business termination notice under the trade name.
You cannot change the name of a sole proprietorship or trade name. If you wish, you can dissolve an existing sole proprietorship and register a new sole proprietorship in Alberta under the new name. You would transfer the assets from one to another. However, it is not considered a name change. You would register a new sole proprietorship in Alberta.
Sole proprietorships are issued by the federal government with federal company numbers. The numbers have extension numbers for adding the GST number, import-export number, and payroll number. If you do not employ any staff, you do not need the wage number. If you don’t import-export, you don’t need that number. If you don’t make more than $30,000, you don’t need a GST number, although you can register voluntarily.
If you own more than one sole proprietorship in Alberta, the federal government will provide you with one business number for both owners. All you need to do is notify the government of any additional properties you register. If desired, you can have a separate GST number, a separate payroll number, and/or a separate import/export number for each sole proprietorship. You might have one number for one thing but not another.You can track the GST for both sole proprietorships under one GST number if you wish. You just need to provide the federal government with this information. For example, you might want to track GST for both owners separately so that you have a separate number for each.
Alberta registrations, Alberta sole proprietorships, or Alberta trade names are perpetual. This means that they will remain until you unregister.
Each province and territory has its own statute that governs doing business in that province. You should review that statute to see what that province or territory has defined as doing business. If you do that kind of business, you need to register. It’s a good idea to get advice from a lawyer about this, as it may seem like you need to register, but in reality you don’t have to. If you do business in a number of provinces and territories, it can get extremely expensive to register and maintain those records, so you’ll want to know ahead of time if it’s absolutely necessary.
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