How to incorporate your business

Here are a couple ways to incorporate your business, both with advantages and disadvantages. Read on to learn how to get’r done.

Option 1: DIY

You can use a service like lawdepot.ca to incorporate your business or go straight to the source and incorporate yourself in BC via the BC corporate registry services, here. For this article we will assume you need some hand-holding and will use a service. Lawdepot is online service that takes you down a garden path to incorporate your business.

Advantages:

  • The form to fill out is really straightforward

  • The $99 fee is pretty darn cheap

  • You can add a minute book ($59 for a digital copy) to keep the cost of keeping your corporate records low

  • The process takes about 10 minutes

  • They include 3 different classes of shares, good for standard ownership and tax planning

  • There are easy to read educational articles

Disadvantages:

  • The information is generic in nature and may not apply specifically to your situation

  • If you have more than one shareholder, it glosses over the importance of a shareholder agreement

  • Limited tax planning opportunities without amending the articles of incorporation

Overall, this is a great option if you want to incorporate at a low cost and you have a simple share structure. This may break down when you have many shareholders and require a shareholder agreement, or have special incorporation requirements due to standards of your industry or profession.

Option 2: Hire a Professional

In this case, your professional is a lawyer. Fun Party Fact*: Chartered Professional Accountants are prohibited from incorporating companies for their clients.

Advantages:

  • A lawyer will ask you questions regarding your specific situation and adapt your incorporation to fit

  • A lawyer will often consult an accountant on the best share structure for tax planning purposes

  • You can have peace of mind that the incorporation was done correctly

Disadvantages:

  • It costs more: in addition to any filing fees, you are likely looking at $1000 and up for the lawyer's time

Hiring a lawyer is a good call if you have a more complicated share structure in mind. This can also be a really good option if you are the type of person who needs to talk through your situation and have someone else take care of the details.

Summary

What option should you choose? How long is a piece of string? It depends!

You will need to factor in whether you are the type of person that wants some professional reflection to avoid pitfalls or are happy to do some of your own research. You should also consider the complexity of your ownership structure. As with most things in business, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Not sure whether you should even incorporate in the first place, check out our article on that very topic.

*Disclaimer: "Fun Party Facts" are not actually fun party facts.