Registering a Foreign Business in British Columbia


If you wish to register a foreign company in British Columbia you will need to complete an application.  There are some particular things to consider prior to registering.

 

Name Clearance Report

The first step for a foreign entity registering in British Columbia as an extra-provincial company is to apply for a name approval.  The name must be the foreign company’s own name as registered in its home jurisdiction.  If the British Columbia government will not accept the name because of a conflict the foreign company will be able to adopt an assumed name for use in B.C.

 

What Constitutes Carrying on Business in British Columbia

The Business Corporations Act (British Columbia) governs foreign companies carrying on business in British Columbia.  Sections 375 (1), (2) and (3) describe what constitutes the necessity to register a foreign business in British Columbia: “(1) A foreign entity must register as an extraprovincial company in accordance with this Act within 2 months after the foreign entity begins to carry on business in British Columbia.  (2) For the purposes of this Act and subject to subsection (3), a foreign entity is deemed to carry on business in British Columbia if (a) its name, or any name under which it carries on business, is listed in a telephone directory (i) for any part of British Columbia, and (ii) in which an address or telephone number in British Columbia is given for the foreign entity, (b) its name, or any name under which it carries on business, appears or is announced in any advertisement in wich an address or telephone number in British Columbia is given for the foreign entity, (c) a resident agent, or (ii) a warehouse, office or place of business, or (d) it otherwise carries on business in British Columbia. (3) A foreign entity does not carry on business in British Columbia (a) if it is a bank, (b) if its only business in British Columbia is constructing and operating a railway, or (c) merely because it has an interest as a limited partner in a limited partnership carrying on business in British Columbia.  (4) A foreign entity need not be registered under this Act or comply with this Part other than subsection (5) [relates to agent or representative] of this section, and may carry on business in British Columbia as if it were registered under this Act, if (a) the principal business of the foreign entity consists of the operation of one or more ships, and (b) the foreign entity does not maintain in British Columbia a warehouse, office or place of business under its own control or under the control of a person on behalf of the foreign entity.”

 

Certificate of Status

In order for the foreign company (formed outside of Canada) to register in BC, it will also be expected to provide a certificate of status from its home jurisdiction in order to prove its valid existence in that country.  We will assist you with how to obtain the certificate of status  as part of our service.

 

Federal Business Number

All companies registered in Canada must also apply for a Federal Business Number.  This is a 9-digit number issued by the Revenue Canada Agency and this number will be used when filing tax returns in Canada.  The foreign company may be required to file a T2 Corporations Return each year.  For more information about this refer to the Revenue Canada Agency website.

 

Goods and Services Tax Account/Harmonized Sales Tax Account

All companies registered in Canada must charge goods and services tax or harmonized sales tax (whichever is applicable in the province that you are registered) if the company’s worldwide sales are more than $30,000.  Even if the sales are under $30,000 in Canada, but over $30,000 worldwide, the company must charge GST or HST on any sales in Canada.  Each province has its own percentage they wish you to charge.  The GST/HST is an account that is connected to your Federal Business Number.  The company will be required to remit the GST/HST it had charged (minus any GST/HST it had to pay for its own supplies) to Revenue Canada each year.

 

Importing and Exporting Account

If the company intends to import or export goods to Canada, it will be required to obtain an import/export account.  The company will be required to report on these matters by filing annual returns.

Written by: Holly Crosgrey