The Ontario government implemented a new online business registry on October 19, 2021. This new Ontario Business Registry is intended to offer simple, fast and convenient access for businesses and not-for-profit organizations who are registered, incorporated or licensed to carry on business in Ontario. The new online registry is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is designed to allow for easy access for a wide range of transactions, including registering a business or dissolving an existing one.
It is the responsibility of the business to keep its information on the public record accurate and up to date. All information filed on the registry will be placed on the public record and available for searches under the business statuses. However, administrative information such as contact and email information are not shown on the public record.
> To access your entity’s profile in the new registry, you will need to obtain your company key. The company key is like a banking personal identification number (PIN). To submit a request for your company key, click on the “Get your company key” button on the new Ontario Business Registry site and follow the instructions.
> The province will allow registered businesses and not-for-profit corporations to complete more than 90 transactions through this new registry for more efficient, faster and convenient services.
> The Canada Revenue Agency stopped accepting Ontario corporations’ annual returns on behalf of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, commencing on May 15, 2021. Corporations whose annual returns were due to be filed from May 15 to October 18, 2021, were exempt from filling an annual return for 2021. Corporations with an annual return due on or after October 19, 2021, must file their annual returns directly online using the new registry.
> The Ontario Business Registry is publicly available, such that anyone can search the registry to get general information on all registered businesses or not-for-profit corporations, which includes the location of the head office. While this information was always publicly available it was more difficult to access, usually via mail and/or through private firms that charged a fee for the service.
> With easier access to this general information, there may be a concern for incorporated professionals and other business owners regarding their safety and the safety of their families, particularly for medical professionals who may be using their personal address as their head office. Any concerned owners may consider changing the corporation’s address listed in the registry. However, note that such an address change must also be made with the Canada Revenue Agency and any professional regulating bodies. For example, incorporated medical professionals will need to update their address with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
> Consider the following when updating the head office address:
~The address must be in Ontario
~A P.O. Box is not acceptable as a head office address
~The address must be connected to the business
~Some business owners may choose to use their primary business address for their head office (e.g. medical professionals may choose to use their hospital/office/clinic address for their head office)
~Who else will have access to your mail at the business location (e.g. hospital mailroom), as sensitive information may be delivered (e.g. tax documents from the Canada Revenue Agency)
> We recommend contacting your legal advisor to ensure that the appropriate corporate resolutions are passed in accordance with any corporation’s by-laws to change the head office address.
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At Valente CPAs, we believe in the value of relationships. As your strategic business advisors, we strive to exceed expectations with a service model that goes beyond being your external accountants. With a host of accounting and tax skill sets, our team of dedicated professionals take a fulsome approach to providing advisory services. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we couple our technical expertise with our varied business experiences so that our advice is strategic, proactive and reasoned. This is what makes us different from the rest.
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