Frequently Asked Questions

Should I incorporate provincially or federally?

Should I incorporate provincially or federally?

Lawnch offers incorporations in two jurisdictions, federal and Alberta. Unless you intend to operate internationally (there is some perception that a federal company offers more “prestige” especially when dealing on the international stage) or you are trying to secure nation-wide name protection, an Alberta corporation may be all you need, especially if you intend to only operate in Alberta. If you are looking to set up a Professional Corporation or an Unlimited Liability Corporation, the decision has been made for you as these two special purpose entities are not offered at the federal level.

The main advantage with a federal incorporation revolves around corporate naming rights. Incorporating federally allows you to conduct business across Canada using the same corporate name. The same cannot be said for provincial incorporations. If you were to establish an Alberta corporation, your corporate name protection is limited to operations within Alberta, unless you take the additional step of extra-provincially registering the company in other provinces.

Additionally, there are those that consider a federal corporation more prestigious than its provincial counterpart and where status is important (possibly when dealing at an international level), often a federal corporation is preferred for that reason alone.

So why would you choose to incorporate provincially? One reason may be that you are looking to incorporate a Professional Corporation or an Unlimited Liability Corporation. These two special purpose entities are not offered at the federal level. Secondly, depending on the nature of your business, often Alberta corporations are less work and less expensive to operate. Reason being, if you choose to incorporate federally, you must also extra-provincially register your business in any province or territory where you carry on business. This adds an extra layer of cost.

By way of example, lets suppose you incorporate federally for a business you intend to operate in Alberta. You would have to pay the fees to incorporate and maintain your federal corporation AND pay fees associated with extra-provincially registering your federal corporation to carry on business in Alberta. By simply incorporating in Alberta, you only have the costs of incorporating and maintaining your corporation. There is no need to “extra-provincially” register your Alberta corporation in order to carry on business in Alberta.

Unless you intend to operate internationally or you are trying to secure nation-wide name protection, an Alberta corporation may be all you need, especially if you intend to only operate in Alberta. If your business expands to other provinces, you will always be able to extra-provincially register your Alberta corporation in those provinces.

If you are unsure which route (federal vs. Alberta) you want to go, please contact us. If you ultimately choose to incorporate federally and you are looking to extra-provincially register your federal corporation in the province of Alberta, Lawnch can assist on that front as well.

The content on this website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion of any kind. Users of this website are advised to seek legal advice by contacting Lawnch (or other legal counsel) directly to discuss any specific legal issues.

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Annual Returns Reminder Service

We will contact you each year, by way of email, to attend to your corporation’s annual return filing.

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