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Business Registration in Alberta

Part 2: Registering a Business Name in Alberta

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In Alberta,registering a business name is necessary if you will be operating a sole proprietorship under any name other than your own, or operating a partnership, a limited partnership or a limited liability partnership (LLP). (Only those practising particular professions, such as lawyers, accountants and dentists, can form and register an LLP type of partnership.)And of course business registration is necessary for corporations.

Note that registering the business name doesn’t give you any right of ownership of the name; in fact, several other businesses may be operating under the trade name you choose, as there's no legal requirement for trade names or partnership names to be unique. (The names of LLPs are an exception; if you’re registering a business name for an LLP in Alberta, the name has to be unique.) It’s a good idea to have a search done before registering a business name anyhow, though, to avoid potential trademark and other legal issues down the line.

Registering a business name in Alberta doesn't require filling out a form because all corporate registry information is keyed directly into the Corporate Registry computer system (CORES). But if you want to see the form to make sure you have all the information you’ll need to present to your authorized service provider, you can download the Declaration of Trade Name form from the Alberta Corporate Registry site.

Many of the province’s Corporate Registry services have been contracted out to private sector firms; because of this, you need to be sure the authorized service provider can provide the Corporate Registry service you need, and will want to shop around to get the best price for the service, as fees are not government regulated and may vary from office to office.

A declaration of a trade name is classed as a basic service, so any authorized service provider should be able to do this for you. Search for a Registry Agent, near you online or download the Registry Agent Product Catalogue for descriptions of services and fees. The Alberta Business Service Centre lists $40 to $50 as a sample fee for a trade name declaration.

Choosing and registering a business name for a corporation is slightly more complicated, because corporate names must include a legal element (such as Ltd. or Inc.) and because corporate names are only granted once. So if you’re going to form an incorporated company with a "named” name (rather than a "numbered" name), you must also get a NUANS Report, which is required to make sure that no one else has the identical name. If you are forming a corporation with a “named” name, you might also choose to form a Professional Corporation, if you practice one of the professions this designation applies to.

Assuming your name “passes”, you’ll need to present either an original or a carbon copy of the NUANS Report to the accredited service provider at the time of incorporation. The Report must be less than 91 days old when you submit it.

Now that you have your business name, you're ready to register your business. The next page of this article explains the Alberta business registration procedure. Click to continue reading...

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