Entrepreneur Centre

Frequent Business Question

Q:Do I need to register to do import business?

You need to register for a Business Number Import/Export account with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You can register for the number by contacting tax services offices by telephone, fax, mail, or in person.

Q:Do I need to complete any forms for exporting commercial goods?

You have to report almost all goods you export other than to the United States . Form B-13A, Export Declaration has to be completed. You have to keep a record of your exports for a period of six years.

Q:How taxes are paid on businesses?

A sole proprietorship pays taxes by reporting income or loss from business on a personal tax return on calendar year basis.

A partnership by itself does not pay income tax on its operating results and does not file an annual income tax return. Instead, each partner includes a share of the partnership income or loss on a personal, corporation, or trust income tax return.

A corporation must file a corporation income tax return within six months of the fiscal year-end.

Q:When I need to pay corporation tax installments?

Generally speaking, you need to pay federal corporation tax installments if the total tax owing of the preceding taxation year was more than $1,000.

You need to pay Ontario corporation tax installments if the total tax owing of the preceding taxation year was more than $2,000.

Interest will be charged on insufficient tax installments.

Q:When are the deadlines for filing Corporation tax returns and taxes balance?

Corporation tax returns have to be filed within six months after fiscal year end. However, if there is tax owing on filing tax returns, the tax owing has to be paid within three months after fiscal year end for corporations eligible for small business deduction. For large corporations and investment corporations, tax balance has to be paid within two months after fiscal year end.

Q:Is it better to lease or finance a car for my business? Why? What are the tax benefits?

Either leasing or buying a car can give you tax deductibility benefit as long as it is for the genuine conduction of your business. When you buy a car, you can use depreciation, i.e., capital cost allowance for tax deduction. When you lease a car, there is limitation for the amount of lease payment to be tax deductible. You may want to look at the related interest rates for cost comparison as well as cash flow requirement for your operating decision.

Q:When employers need to pay Employer Health Tax (EHT)?

Employers need to pay Employer Heath Tax when the total gross payroll for a calendar year is more than $400,000.

Q:Where can I get sample Business Plans?

There are many places where you can obtain samples. Each of the four Enterprise Toronto resource centres carry business plan guides. The internet provides an unlimited wealth of plans. Your local library and book stores should carry publications as well.

Q:Can I operate my business from home?

Many entrepreneurs start their businesses from home because it offers low-cost office space, as well as giving you the freedom and flexibility to work the hours you want. Whether you choose to do this or not depends on your business. If you're operating dangerous equipment or doing things that conflict with residential zoning laws, you'll have to locate your business in a commercial or industrial area.

Q:What government financing is available for a business?

There are several government financing programs for business targeted to specific industries, geographical areas or particular groups of entrepreneurs. Almost all of these financing programs consist of loans. There are very few grants available, but they do exist for certain groups and industry sectors. For information on government financing programs for business contact the Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre(COBSC) at 1 (800) 567-2345 or visit their web site: www.cbsc.org/ontario. You can also visit Industry Canada 's web site Strategis for sources of financing at http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/sources.

Q:How many types of business that I can start?

There are three types of businesses: sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations.

Q:What is the difference between a partnership and a joint venture?

A joint venture is not considered a "person" for registration purposes, whereas a partnership is. Therefore, a partnership can have a BN; a joint venture cannot. A joint venture is limited in scope; a partnership is generally an ongoing business relationship that exists between persons carrying on common business.

Q:How do I get background information on a specific company?

You can contact Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services, Companies Branch - company registration / profile at 416-314-8880, Toll free ( Ontario ) 800-361-3223.

$12 fee for a company profile by mail. Profile includes the company address; date established; officers and directors; their home addresses.

$40-$50 fee for the same profile electronically.

Q:What government programs are available to help establish and operate a business?

You can contact

Canada Ontario Business Service Centre
home: 416-954-4636, provides excellent business assistance by telephone

Enterprise Toronto www.enterprisetoronto.com Business self-help centres:
City Hall 416-392-6646
North York 416-395-7434
Scarborough 416-396-7169

Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance
Phone: 416-360-7320

Q:How do I obtain market research for a specific country and/or product /service?

The International Marketing Consultants at Ontario Exports Inc. can provide valuable and comprehensive information sources on international trade, economic information and market research from a variety of domestic and foreign sources.

For more information please contact:


Tel: (416) 314-8200

Fax: (416) 314-8222

Q:What is the difference between a BN and a BIN?

The Business Number (BN) is a 9-digit federal client identification number to which businesses can register program accounts. This number should be used when communicating with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) about accounts you have or wish to create. For example, if you would like to discuss your GST/HST account or you would like to create a payroll account, you should quote your existing BN.

The Business Identification Number (BIN) is also a 9-digit number used by the Ontario government to identify provincial business accounts. It also appears on the Ontario Master Business License and should be used for communications with the Ontario government about your business.

Q:Once my business name is registered, am I registered across Canada ?

No. Your business name is registered only in Ontario . If you are interested in doing business in other provinces, you need to register in those provinces.

Q:Do I have to carry workers compensation?

Most businesses who employ workers, even on a casual basis, must register with the Workers Compensation Board and provide coverage for their workers.

Q:Must employees produce a doctor's note if asked for one by their employer?

Under Employment Standards Act, an employer is allowed to ask an employee to provide evidence that he or she is eligible for an emergency leave of absence. The employee is required to provide evidence that is reasonable in the circumstances.

Q:What does the law say about coffee breaks?

An employee must not work for more than five hours in a row without getting a 30-minute eating period (meal break) free from work. The law does not require an employer to provide any breaks in addition to this eating period. However, if the employer does provide another type of a break, such as a coffee break, and the employee must remain at his or her workplace during the break, the employee must be paid at least the minimum wage for that time.

Q:Do I need to see employees' Social Insurance (SIN) card?

As an employer, you must ask to see the SIN card of all new employees when they are hired, and the employee must show it to you within three days following the start date of employment.

Q:Who requires a Vendor Permit (PST)?

You must obtain an RST Vendor Permit if:

you regularly sell taxable goods;

  • you regularly provide taxable services;
  • you charge more than $4 admission to a place of amusement;
  • you are a manufacturing contractor, that is, the manufactured cost of goods you use in real property contracts is more than $50,000 in any fiscal year; you are a non-resident contractor doing business in Ontario ;
  • you sell taxable goods or services at flea markets, fairs or exhibitions;
  • you regularly import taxable goods or taxable services into Ontario for your own use;
  • you purchase goods exempt from RST that you plan to resell, but later take these goods from inventory for your own use.

You must register for a Vendor Permit even if your sales are small - there is no minimum.

You must keep a copy of your Vendor Permit at each business location and let anyone see it on request.

Q:Who does not require a Vendor Permit (PST)?

You do not need a Vendor Permit if:

  • you sell only tax-exempt goods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables at a roadside stand;
  • you provide only non-taxable services, such as dry cleaning;
  • you are a wholesaler or manufacturer and do not make retail sales.

Q:What is the RST (PST) rate and how is it calculated?

The general RST rate in Ontario is 8%. The other RST rates for certain goods and services are:

  • accommodation for less than one month: 5% ;
  • admission of more than $4 to a place of amusement: 10% ;
  • alcoholic beverages sold through licensed establishments: 10% ;
  • alcoholic beverages sold through retail stores: 12% ;
  • alcoholic beverages taken from your inventory for your own use or provided free of charge: 12% .

Q:Do I need a GST registration number?

A business requires a GST number if it sells taxable goods or services. A GST number becomes mandatory once your revenues exceed $30,000. However, if your revenues are less than $30,000, obtaining a GST number is voluntary. You can register for your GST (Business Number - BN) by calling: Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-5525.




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