If you own and run a business alone in Quebec, your business is recognized as a sole proprietorship. Under certain circumstances, you may need to register your sole proprietorship business with the Quebec government through the Registraire des Entreprises Québec (REQ) or Quebec Enterprise Register. Also, to set up a business that is not a sole proprietorship in Quebec, you need to register it with the REQ and file a declaration of registration.
Why do you need to this? The Quebec government requires you to register your business information as this is important for other businesses, individuals, and government agencies that carry out business transactions with your business. If you need to register a business in Quebec, this guide provides everything you need to know, plus business credit cards that can help you operate your business effectively.
- What businesses need to register with the REQ?
- Register a business in Quebec
- Here’s how to register your business as a sole proprietor or natural person
- How much does it cost to register a business in Quebec?
- What happens after you submit a business registration request?
- Managing the life span of your business
- When to submit a business registration
- Can a sole proprietorship business registration get refused?
- Do you need to register your business to open a business bank account?
- How to get a business credit card for your new business
- American Express Corporate Platinum Credit Card
- American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
- American Express Business Edge Credit Card
- Desjardins Visa Business Card
- Frequently asked questions about registering a business in Quebec
What businesses need to register with the REQ?
The various legal forms of businesses you can register in Quebec. These include a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, not-for-profit organization, joint venture, trust, syndicate, or cooperative. Each type has different structures and responsibilities.
Sole proprietorships and the owner’s names
If you own and operate your business as a sole proprietorship, the Quebec government generally refers to you as a natural person who is not legally separate from the operations of your business. It is not mandatory to register your sole proprietorship business if you operate it under your first and last names.
However, if you run a tobacco retail outlet or a tanning salon business, that is a different situation. In that case, you have to register your company in Quebec, whether you operate it under a name that includes your first and last names or not. If your sole proprietorship business operates under a different name from yours, you will need to register your business with the REQ.
Aside from sole proprietorships, in general, businesses with separate legal entities that have not been constituted in Quebec or under the Quebec law but are domiciled and carry on an activity in the province must register. This usually includes business corporations, partnerships, syndicates of co-ownership, and commercial enterprise trusts. Note that your business carries on an activity in Quebec if the company or its representative has an address, post office box, or telephone line in the province or carries out operations for profit.
What are the exceptions?
Some businesses are not required to register. Still, it might be a good idea. That said, it is voluntary for enterprises such as public bodies and municipalities, joint ventures or undeclared partnerships, associations, and other groups of persons to register with the REQ.
Register a business in Quebec
When you register a business in Quebec, the REQ gives your company a Québec enterprise number (NEQ). The NEQ is a unique identifier for your business. The Quebec government allows you to register through an online platform that is in French. However, you can use Google Translate to translate the entire page to English.The process to register your business may differ depending on your business’s legal structure. You can submit a declaration of registration of a legal person, natural person, partnership, or group of persons.
Here’s how to register your business as a sole proprietor or natural person
First, you need to select if you are carrying out a registration or a re-registration. If you have registered your business previously, you will need to choose a re-registration and provide your NEQ. The NEQ is linked to you and your business for life, even if your business activities change.
Next, you will need to provide details of the person or company registering the business, such as your name and address or your representative’s name and address.
After validating your name and address or your representative’s, you will need to provide the registered name for your business if you are using a name that is not your first and last name.
The site will prompt you to provide a home address. This address will be the same as the address provided earlier in the application process if you are doing the registration yourself. If a representative registers the business for you, this address will be your address. The registration process requires you to provide contact details for the people who will receive your company’s documents and the address to send such documents. This can be your address or the address of a company you have elected to receive the documents.
Specifying your business activities
After choosing an address, which can be called a domicile, you will be asked to specify your business activities and the number of employees eomployed. In this case, as a sole proprietor, the number of employees will be the ‘From 1 to 5’ selection.To add business activities to your registration, you will need to provide economic activity codes or code d’activité économique (CAE) that describe the main sectors of your business’s activities. The Quebec government provides a list of business activities and related sector codes for you to choose from. After providing the codes, you have the option to provide more details about the nature of your business.
When you have specified your business activities codes, you will be asked to provide details of your establishments and indicate if your business is a tobacco retail outlet or offers artificial tanning services. If your business has an administrator of property or proxy, you will also be required to provide the details in a separate section.
Providing contact details to the REQ
Next, you will need to provide contact details for when the REQ needs to communicate regarding the registration application process. You can opt to receive priority processing for an additional fee if your need your application processed quicker. As of 2022, the priority application fee is $18.50 CAN.
The final step is to verify the details you have provided in the registration application forms. In this section, you confirm your business name, address, economic activity codes, and invoice amount.
After verifying your information, you will attest to your registration declaration, submit the registration, and pay the applicable fees.
In summary, the information you need to provide when registering your sole proprietorship business in Quebec includes:
- The name and address of the person registering the business. This is you or a representative
- Your first and last name
- Any other name that you use and identify yourself with when you carry out your business activities in Québec, if applicable
- Your home address
- The address of the elected domicile and the name of the person you authorize to receive your business registration documents
- The two main activities your business operates
- The number of your employees who work in Québec
- The name and address of your company’s establishments located in Québec, as well as the activities carried out in the province
- Details of an administrator where applicable, including the name and address of the administrator, the function of the administrator, and the term of the mandate
- The name and address of your attorney, where applicable
- The details of a contact person that the Registraire des Entreprises can reach out to if they need additional information to process your business registration request.
How much does it cost to register a business in Quebec?
For sole proprietors, the business registration fee is $37 for a Standard application and $55 for a Priority application. Other business types fees are shown below:
- Association and other groups of people:
- Standard fee is $37
- Priority fee is $55
- Standard fee is $56
- Priority is $84
- Foreign corporation or legal person and business trust:
- Standard fee is $356
- Priority fee is $534
- Foreign non-profit legal person and syndicate of co-ownership:
- Standard fee is $37
- Priority fee is $55
- Standard fee is $37
- Priority fee is $55
- Non-profit legal person:
- Standard incorporation fee is $179
- Priority fee is $268.50
The REQ provides a comprehensive list of business registration and other related costs on their website. The fees depend on our business type. The fees are updated annually, and you need to confirm which fees apply to your business before you make payments.
Sole proprietorship and income taxes
As a sole proprietorship, if your income tax return and the annual updating declaration are combined, you must pay your annual registration fees when filing your income tax returns. To complete your declaration of registration, you must pay the required fees within ten days after submitting your business registration request. If you do not make the registration payments within this period, your registration may be cancelled.
Paying to register a business in Quebec
After submitting your business registration through the online service, you can pay the required fees via a credit card payment on the acknowledgment page. You can also use the ”Make a payment service” by providing the reference number of your declaration of registration request. Alternatively, you can pay for your business registration by sending a payment slip and a cheque or money order via mail or in-person at the Services Québec offices in Quebec or Montreal.
What happens after you submit a business registration request?
When you submit your business registration request in Quebec, the REQ records your application’s date and review it. If you use any other name that is not your first and last name to register the business, the REQ will examine it to ensure your business name meets the business name requirements in Quebec. If your application is complete and meets all the requirements, and you have paid the required fees, your business will be registered accordingly. The REQ will assign you a NEQ, and your declaration of registration will be filed in the register using this NEQ.
Managing the life span of your business
After registering your business, you must meet the required legal obligations throughout the lifespan of your business. One of the business registration requirements in Quebec is to update your business’s information using a current update statement and an annual update statement. Failure to update the REQ on any business changes can lead to penalties. Additionally, your business registration can risk being cancelled.
If you indicate on your tax return that your business information in the register is up to date and correct, the annual update declaration is filed automatically. On the other hand, you will need to file a separate annual updating declaration if there are any changes to your business registration information. The period to file your annual updating declaration starts on January 1st and ends on June 15. You do not need to submit an annual updating declaration in the year that you register your business.
If you choose to stop operating your business in Quebec, you must cancel your business registration by filing a declaration of cancellation online. There is no charge to submit a declaration of cancellation; it is free. However, if you need your request prioritized, you will need to pay a priority fee.
When to submit a business registration
You must submit a declaration of registration to the REQ not more than 60 days after the date you are required to register. As stated earlier, you are not required to register a sole proprietorship company if you carry out your business activities using your first name and last name. A declaration of registration will be voluntary. If you operate a retail tobacco outlet or an artificial tanning salon, you must file the declaration within 30 days from when you start your business operations.
Can a sole proprietorship business registration get refused?
The REQ can refuse your business registration if one or more of the following situations occur:
- The name of your business is different from your name or does not conform to the business ”other name” requirements in Quebec
- Your declaration of registration is incomplete or inaccurate
- You failed to sign your application appropriately
- Failure to pay the applicable duties and fees for your registration
- You did not conform to the terms and conditions required for the declaration of registration.
Do you need to register your business to open a business bank account?
If you operate your business as a sole proprietorship in Quebec under your first name and last name, and you do not carry out activities of a retail tobacco outlet or an artificial tanning salon, you do not need to register your business to open a business bank account. However, it may be beneficial to have a business bank account regardless of whether you register a company in Quebec or not. A business bank account allows you to separate your personal expenses from business expenses and access business loans and credit cards.
How to get a business credit card for your new business
You can open a business account with a financial institution after providing the required documents showing proof of your identity, business declaration of registration where applicable, and business activities. Registering your business can help you qualify for a business credit card because you can validate your business operations with your NEQ, a CAE, and business registration certificate.
Several financial institutions provide business credit cards that allow you to access funds for business operations.
Here are the best business credit cards in Canada
Depending on your business size and operations, you one of these credit cards is a good tool to have handy. One corporate card might be enough but don’t be surprised if you need different credit cards for different business reasons. The best choice is always up to you.
American Express Corporate Platinum Credit Card
Annual fee: $499/potentially tax deductible
Supplementary cards: Platinum $199, Gold $50
Interest rate: 19.99%
The AMEX Corporate Platinum Credit Card has no pre-set spending limit. That is a great thing considering the number of transactions a business does every month. Plus you can join American Express’s Rewards Program for free and earn 1.25 Rewards points on every $1 spent on the card. You can exchnage points for travel or statement credits. You get up to 55 interest-free days to pay your balance. Plus, the travel services and perks you get when you use the AMEX Corporate Platinum Card are astounding. You are automatically enrolled in tier 1 of the Marriott Bonvoy program. Another travel perk is a priority pass at Toronto’s Pearson Airport as well as lounge access in different airports.
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
Annual fee: $199/potentially tax deductible
Supplementary cards: $50 each
Interest rate: 19.99%
The AMEX Corporate Gold Credit Card has a lower annual fee than the Platinum Card. There is still no spending limit which remains a valuable benefit. However, there is a $199 fee, plus tax, to join the Rewards Program. You can exchnage points for travel or statement credits. Your Reward point earn rate is 1 point per $1 spent on the Card. Do not overlook that Rewards Program; it is great! You get up to 55 interest-free days to pay your balance.
American Express Business Edge Credit Card
Annual fee: $99
Supplementary cards: $0
Interest rate: 19.99% on purchases/21.99% on funds advances
The AMEX Business Edge Credit Card is a great business credit card. You still earn Membership Rewards but the earn rate is different. Using your card, you earn 3 times the points when you buy eligible business essentials like office supplies, electronics, transport, gas, dining, and 1 times the points on everything else. You can exchange the points for travel or amazon purchases too.
Desjardins Visa Business Card
Annual fee: $60 each for 1 to 4 cards/$40 each for 5 or more cards
Interest rate: Prime rate + 8.5%
The Desjardins Visa Business Card is good for self-employed or very small businesses. It has lower annual fees and with Prime rate at 3.20%, its annual percentage rates comes out to a low 11.8%. The credit limit is tailored your needs. The card offers 1% cash back with a maximum cash back of $4,880 that is deposited to your business account annually. You get 21-day grace period to pay your balance.
These are not the only business credit cards on the market. An online credit card comparison tool can help you find the best one for your business. It is very fast and easy.
Frequently asked questions about registering a business in Quebec
These are the different ways you can register a business in Quebec:
1. Registration as a legal person
2. Registration as a natural person operating a sole proprietorship
3. Registration as a partnership
4. Registration as an association or group of persons
The registration you choose will depend on the legal form of your business and the activities you plan to carry out. The REQ has details ofall of the legal business structures.
If you intend to carry out business operations across several provinces in Canada, you may consider incorporating your business at the federal level. However, if you own a small business with activities in only your province, it may be more cost-effective to register your business in only your province.
Incorporating a business at the federal level protects your business trade name across Canada.
If you choose federal incorporation for your company, you will still need to incorporate in Quebec at the provincial level if you intend to carry out operations in the province.