Sole proprietorships and partnerships

Last updated on February 14, 2024

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.

December 8, 2023 update:

The new BC Registries Card is now available to qualifying sole proprietors. This new digital credential will help business owners prove their business ownership to participating parties. Learn more.

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.


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


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.

Check current processing time. 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.


Register a sole proprietorship or general partnership using one of the following options.

  • Online using the BC Business Registry ($40 fee)
  • You will need a basic or premium BC Registry account to register your business online
  • In person at a Service BC location ($40 fee)
  • Payment options
  •  Cash or debit
  •  Visa or MasterCard
  •  Cheque or money order payable to the Ministry of Finance

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.

Check processing times. When the registration is completed, a copy of the Statement of Registration and business number will be mailed to you. 

"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.


Register with government partners

View the Small Business Resource Handout for information on how to register with local, provincial and federal partners.

Make changes to a business


Change a business name / business information / dissolve 

Change business name: Request and reserve a new business name

Option 1 - Changes to sole proprietorships and general partnerships can be completed online

Option 2 -  To submit a change request

  • At a Service BC location 
    • Payment options
      • Cash or debit
      • Cheque or money order payable to the Ministry of Finance
      •  Visa or MasterCard
  • Request over the phone
    • Small Business BC  (Office hours: Monday-Friday 10am:5pm PST)
      • ​​1-800-667-2272
      • 604-775-5525

Changes to limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships cannot be completed online. **This is a paper filing only.**


Change to or from a sole proprietorship or partnership

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.


Correct a mistake in your business registration 

You can request corrections 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

To correct mistakes other than your name or type of ownership

Option 1 - Corrections to sole proprietorships and general partnerships can be completed online
Option 2 - Submit a corrections request at a Service BC location  


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.

Toll free: 1-877-526-1526
Victoria: 250-387-7848

Support and services

For additional support with BC Registries filings, visit a Service BC location or call 1-877-370-1033.  Visit Support with BC Registries filings for your service options. Please note that Service BC does not provide legal or financial advice.

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