Purchase Annual ReturnsAlmost every province and territory in Canada, including the federal jurisdiction, will require a company that is incorporated in that jurisdiction to file annual returns. This is not the same as the company’s tax return. Annual returns are required by the Companies Branches of the provincial and territorial jurisdictions in Canada. Annual returns are forms that request information about the registered office address, the mailing address, the business address, the directors, the officers and occasionally the shareholders of a company. The provincial or territorial governments require companies registered under them to update their information on a yearly basis and most impose a small fee for the filing of these annual returns.  In most cases if these returns are not filed the company will be dissolved.

What is the Consequence of Not Filing An Annual Return for Your Canadian Company

If your company does not file its annual returns within 2 to 3 years your company will be dissolved for non-filing. You would then have to revive your company and this can be expensive.  If you need to revive your company, you will be expected to pay in some cases as much as if you were incorporating the company and as well will be expected to pay for all or at least two years of the outstanding fees for the annual returns that you did not file. This will involve the preparing of a number of documents and you may need to obtain a solicitor to assist you. Each Canadian jurisdiction has a different policy but generally it is a great deal of trouble and extra expense to have to revive your company. Therefore, it is important that you ensure you understand what the legislative requirements are for your company.

Do Sole Proprietorships Have to File Annual Returns

Sole proprietorships in Canada do not have to file annual returns. However, the federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada do expect you to ensure all information about your sole proprietorship is current.  If changes have occurred on your registration such as the address of the business, or your address, ensure that you file an amendment to your registration.

Do Partnerships Have to File An Annual Return

Partnerships in Canada do not have to file annual returns however the federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada expect you to ensure all information about the partnership is current including addresses, the names of the partners, any changes in the partners and their addresses.

Public Information On Annual Returns

The information contained on the annual returns is filed in the public database and updated each year. This means that anyone can order a copy of the record of your company in order to ascertain the registered office address of a companyor who the directors  and officers are. Some provinces honour the privacy legislation and allow you to include an address for service for a director or officer of the company which can be your office address and other provinces and territories are still insisting on home addresses to be included on the form.

Extra-Provincial or Extra-Territorial Company Annual Returns

Every company in Canada who is carrying on business in a province or territory other than the province or territory in which it was incorporated, must also in some cases file annual returns each year. Refer to the section called Extra-Provincial and Extra-Territorial Registrations for more information about these types of registrations and when your company is required to be registered.  Therefore if you are registered in 8 provinces to carry on business you will be required to file 8 annual returns each year.

If you are carrying on business in another province or territory you should review the statute requirement in that province or territory with respect to the definition of “carrying on business” which definition may differ slightly per province or territory. If you need to be registered then you must register as an extra-provincial company or extra-territorial company, as the case may be, and you will in most cases also be required to file an annual return in that jurisdiction as well. The section on Extra-Provincial and Extra-Territory Companies will explain what the requirements are per province or territory.