Everything you need to know about having Goodlawyer file your Annual Corporate Return through one of our subscription plans.
- What is an Annual Corporate Return?
- Pricing and Scope
- Frequent Asked Questions
- Sign up for an Annual Corporate Return
What is an Annual Corporate Return?
Your Annual Corporate Return is not related to your taxes. It is completely separate from any filing obligations you may have with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
An Annual Corporate Return is required each year for every federal, provincial and territorial corporation in Canada. Federally registered corporations must file one federal and at least one extra-provincial Annual Corporate Return each year. These Returns are required by law in order to keep your corporation in good standing under the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA). Missing your deadline can have serious impacts to your corporation.
It’s a legal requirement for corporations in Canada because the information you provide on the Annual Return keeps the database of your governing Corporate Regulatory Agency up to date. They in turn, make this information available to the public to let investors, consumers, financial institutions and many others make informed decisions about your corporation.
Pricing and Scope
You can get Goodlawyer's Annual Corporate Return plan in two ways: a Basic Corporate Return plan that only covers the scope of filing your Return; and Goodlawyer Pro which includes the Corporate Return Plan and loads more. Read on.
Basic Annual Corporate Return Plan
$199 + tax per year
Goodlawyer’s Annual Corporate Return Plan is designed for private Canadian companies that are incorporated either federally or provincially and are in good standing under all applicable governing corporate law statutes.
Additional government fees and charges may apply to Annual Returns completed for:
Goodlawyer’s Annual Corporate Return Plan is not applicable to sole proprietors, partnerships, not-for-profit entities or publicly traded (distributing) companies. The Annual Corporate Return Plan does not include minute book reconciliation or maintenance if your corporate documents have not been kept up to date.
$100 + tax per year
For any corporations that have missed previous years' filings, there will be an additional $100 + tax for each outstanding year that needs to be filed in order to get your corporation up to date. If your corporation has any registrations in a province outside of AB , BC, and ON, there will also be additional government filing fees, which vary by province.
$599 + tax per year
Goodlawyer Pro is for startups and business owners looking for a trusted legal partner to help them grow.
Goodlawyer Pro includes the Basic Annual Corporate Return Plan outlined above, and:
Frequently Asked Questions
What information does Goodlawyer need to complete my Return?
To complete your Annual Corporate Return, Goodlawyer needs various pieces of information, including:
- Corporation name, number, jurisdiction, and registered address
- Any extra-provincial registrations with their respective numbers, jurisdictions, and any Agents for service
- Date of your last annual meeting
- Any applicable Corporate Access Numbers or Passwords
- Date your corporation was incorporated, amalgamated or continued
- Information regarding your Directors, Officers and Shareholders
- Information regarding your appointment of an Auditor and Accountant
This information can be found in your corporation’s minute book, and for federal corporations, much of it can be found on the Corporations Canada website.
For a comprehensive breakdown of the information required, visit our ACR Completion Guide.
What's the difference between a corporate return and a tax return?
Your corporate return and tax return are not the same thing. Although both are legally required for corporations in Canada, they report on different things to different government bodies. Goodlawyer DOES NOT file your tax returns, we DO file your corporate returns.
✘ Your tax return:
- Reports the corporation's finances, like revenue, profit, expenses, etc.
- Filed with the Canada Revenue Agency
- Comes with a balance to be paid that will vary depending on your company’s financial declaration and the amount of collected sales tax to be remitted
- Payment is usually due 2 months after the corporation’s fiscal year end
✔ Your corporate return:
- Reports on the corporation’s information, like directors, shareholders, officers, registered offices, etc.
- Filed with the respective corporate registry for your corporation (ex. Corporations Canada for federal incorporations, Ontario Business Registry for ON corporations and extra-provincial registrations, etc.)
- Each jurisdiction has a set filing fee ranging from $10 - $500 depending on the province.
- Corporate returns are usually due within 30 days of your corporation’s anniversary date (a corporate return filing is not required in your corporation’s first year)
Which corporations have to file an Annual Corporate Return?
You must file an Annual Return if your corporation's legal status is "active" (that is not dissolved, discontinued or amalgamated with another corporation). Federally registered corporations can check their status on the Corporations Canada website. If your corporation is provincially registered, book a free Legal Concierge™ service to check its status, or use one of many paid search services available online and through your local registry.
What is the deadline for filing my Annual Corporate Return?
Generally, the deadline for filing an Annual Return is within one month following the corporation’s anniversary month (AB, MB, NB, SK, YK, NU, NWT) or 60 days following a corporation's anniversary date (CAN, BC, PEI). The anniversary date is the date your corporation was formed under a Canadian corporate law statute. You do not have to file an Annual Corporate Return for the year the corporation was formed.
Ontario corporations that have issued shares are required to file an Annual Return within six months of their fiscal/tax year-end. Ontario corporations that have not issued shares are required to file Annual Returns within 60 days of their anniversary date of formation.
The anniversary date can be found on your corporation's Certificate of Incorporation, or Amalgamation or Continuance. Federal corporations can also find their anniversary date on the Corporations Canada website. If your corporation is provincially registered, book a free Legal Concierge™ service to determine your anniversary date, or use one of many paid search services available online or through your local registry.
What if I have multiple extra provincial registrations and/or corporations?
This service will only cover the Corporate Return filing for one provincial corporation in AB, BC, or ON, or a federal incorporation with its primary extra-provincial registration in AB, BC, or ON. Any corporations with multiple extra-provincial registrations or any registration outside of AB , BC, and ON is subject to additional government filing fees.
If I am not currently operating my corporation, do I still have to file?
Yes. Actively conducting business or not, every corporation is legally obligated to file.
If you are no longer operating the corporation and want to dissolve your corporation (that is legally terminate its existence), book a free Legal Concierge™ service to get started on a custom service quote.
If my corporation is small, do I still have to file every year?
Yes. Big or small, every corporation is legally obligated to file. A company's Annual Returns must be filed in consecutive order.
What if we did not hold an annual meeting of shareholders?
Each Canadian corporate law statute requires that all corporations, big and small, hold at least one annual meeting of shareholders every year. At this meeting, the shareholders are required to:
- Receive the financial statements
- Appoint or waive the appointment of an Auditor
- Receive the Auditor's report, if any
- Elect Directors
For corporations with only one or a few shareholders, it is generally more practical to prepare a written resolution rather than to hold a formal meeting. Based on inputs provided by you, Goodlawyer will prepare an annual written resolution that satisfies your annual shareholder meeting requirements under corporate law.
What if I am late filing my annual return?
If you do not file your Annual Return on time, the status of your corporation's annual filings in the online database of your governing Corporate Regulatory Agency will be displayed as "overdue", and your corporation will not be in good standing under your governing corporate law statute. In addition your corporation may be subject to late penalty fees or charges.
Ontario corporations that file Annual Returns after the prescribed filing date will be fined a late filing fee and are subject to cancellation by the Ontario Ministry. PEI corporations that fail to comply with their annual return requirements are deemed to have committed an offence under PEI law, with a maximum penalty of $5,000.
Yikes! Best to just leave it with Goodlawyer and know it’s getting filed on time.
If you are late, Goodlawyer will charge an additional $100 + tax per year, plus any outstanding late fees and government filing fees.
What if I don't file?
Your corporation may be dissolved if it fails to file its Annual Return. You have an obligation to make sure that corporate information is up to date. If your corporation is not filing its Annual Returns, your governing Corporate Regulatory Agency will assume that it is not operating and will take steps to dissolve it (that is legally end its existence).
Dissolution can have serious repercussions, including not having the legal capacity to conduct business. If your corporation is in danger of being dissolved, your governing Corporate Regulatory Agency will usually send a notice warning of the pending dissolution and providing a final opportunity to file your required Annual Returns. This final notice will be sent by post to all valid addresses on file with your governing Corporate Regulatory Agency.
Can I file early (before my anniversary date)?
No. The information on the Annual Return must reflect your corporation's situation on its anniversary date of each year of filing. If you attempt to file the annual return before the anniversary date, it will not be accepted.
How will I know when it is time to file?
Goodlawyer will send a personalized reminder email when your Annual Return is due to be filed. If you do not respond to Goodlawyer’s requests for signatures, we will send you a default notice by email approximately 90 days after your anniversary date.
If you fail to provide us with all required information to complete your Annual Return in advance of your corporate anniversary date, Goodlawyer shall not be liable for any actions taken by your governing Corporate Regulatory Agency in respect of your company, including for any penalties, fees or dissolution.
Why should I switch to Goodlawyer for my Annual Corporate Return?
With Goodlawyer’s Annual Corporate Return plans, you’ll never have to worry about this tedious legal requirement again. Fill out the intake form one time and we’ll handle the rest, every year, until you tell us otherwise. It’s faster than doing it yourself, it’s more affordable than paying an accountant or lawyer to file it for you, and if you ever have questions, we have an entire customer experience team here ready and happy to help you.
Note for Ontario corporations: in previous years, the Ontario Corporate Registry collected your corporation's Tax Return and Corporate Return simultaneously. However, the processes have officially been decoupled in 2021 so business owners in Ontario will have to be conscious of getting their Corporate Return filed.
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