Sole proprietorships and partnerships


Sole proprietorships and partnerships have a registered business name for legal and tax purposes.

A sole proprietorship is a business with only one owner.

A sole proprietor is self-employed, performs all business operations and assumes all liabilities.

A partnership company is operated by two or more parties.

In a general partnership, partners are responsible for all aspects of the business, including the debts of the partnership.

A limited partnership (LP) can have general and limited partners. Generally speaking, there's a limit on the liability of a limited partner, while the general partner's liabilities are not limited.

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is has no general partners and all partners have limited liability.

See the Partnership Act

Start a sole proprietorship or partnership

To conduct business as a sole proprietorship or partnership, you need to reserve a business name and register the business.

If you're going to do business under your name, you do not need to request a business name or register the business with the province.


Step 1

OPTIONAL: If you're not sure which business structure you should choose, consider the different business structure options available. You may also want to:


Step 2

Request and reserve a business name online ($30 fee)

Businesses must have their name approved and confirm that it doesn't conflict with a name already being used by a corporation. Only incorporated companies, cooperatives or societies can guarantee exclusive use of their name. Find out how to choose the right name.

If you're unable to submit a request online, complete the Name Request form (PDF, 117KB) and mail it or drop it off at a Service BC location with payment. Make cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance.

It takes about 7 to 14 days to process a name request. Once it's complete, you'll receive a confirmation email and a name request number you can use to register your business. Be sure to complete the registration before the name request expires (56 days after it's approved). If not, you'll need to submit another name request. Request priority service ($100 fee) if you need to have a name approved in 1 to 2 business days.

Register a "doing business as" (DBA) name to operate an existing company under another name (e.g. a numbered company that does business under a DBA name). Any company or organization can use this option except sole proprietorships.

The new registration of a business name will be either a proprietorship or partnership. This option is available to all entity types, except sole proprietorships.


Step 3

Register a sole proprietorship or general partnership online using OneStop ($40 fee). Find out more about OneStop. If you can't register online, complete a paper form:


Register a limited partnership ($165 fee) or limited liability partnership ($275 fee) using one of the following forms. This is a paper filing only.

Limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships can register as an extraprovincial partnership. Companies from, or that plan to do business in, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba can follow the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) process to register.


Submit forms in person at a Service BC location and pay by cash, debit or credit card or submit it by mail using the address on the form. Include a cheque or money order made payable to the Minister of Finance.

It normally takes 5 to 10 working days to process a registration once it's received. When the registration is completed, a copy of the Statement of Registration and business number will be mailed to you. Check current processing times.

"Business registration" with the provincial government is different than getting a "business license." Check with your municipal/local government about how to get a business license in the area where you live or want to do business.


Make changes to a business

Note: Business name changes cannot be completed online.

Step 1: Request and reserve a new business name

Step 2: Submit the Change Proprietorship or Partnership Registration form (PDF, 88KB) and pay the $40 fee.

Submit the form in person at a Service BC location and pay by cash, debit or credit card or submit by mail using the address on the form. Include a cheque or money order made payable to the Minister of Finance.

You must have signing authority to change the location and mailing address of a business and will need your registration number.

There is no fee to make an address change.

Make an address change:

OR

If you're changing the business address location, it must be a physical address and include a postal code. If the location address does not have street names or numbers, provide a description that will readily allow a person to locate you (e.g., the 2nd house on the left side, 4 miles west on Central County Road, Creston, B.C.).

To make this change, you need to register an entirely new business. This means completing the same steps required to start a business.

You'll need to dissolve or end the original business once the new business is registered.

You can request corrections (amendments) to minor mistakes in information like spelling mistakes or typos. Only registry staff can complete amendments - changes cannot be completed online. There is no fee to correct a mistake.

To correct a mistake in a business name, you will need to:

To correct mistakes other than your name or type of ownership, complete one of the following forms:

Once you have printed the form, add the following details in pen:

  • Write “Amendment” on the top of the page under the form title
  • Write the registration number and registration date in the field labelled: “CORPORATE REGISTRY REGISTRATION NUMBER"

Follow instructions on the form to submit and pay fees. You can also drop it off (with appropriate payment) at a Service BC location.

 

Dissolve or end a sole proprietorship or partnership

All information must be up-to-date and correct before dissolving a sole proprietorship or partnership. You cannot file a change to the business and a request to dissolve it at the same time. The request to dissolve must be done separately. The dissolution date must be on or after the registration date.

There is no fee to dissolve a sole proprietorship or partnership. Dissolutions cannot be submitted online.

To dissolve a business, complete one of the following forms and follow instructions on the form to submit it:

Ask for help

Contact the BC Registries helpdesk for help Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The registry does not provide business or legal advice.

Email: BCRegistries@gov.bc.ca
Toll free: 1-877-526-1526
Victoria: 250-387-7848

Support and services

Contact the team at Dye & Durham, our preferred legal service provider, for support filling out forms or filing documents.

Explore business resources and support services from the Small Business Branch or Small Business BC.