Filing Process for Ontario Corporation Annual Information Returns
Author: Lidia Imbrogno, BA, JD
In an effort to streamline interactions with the government for businesses and not-for-profit corporations, the government of Ontario launched a new Ontario Business Registry (the “OBR”) on October 19, 2021. Thus far, many Ontario corporations have remained unaffected by this change. However, business owners should be aware that annual return filings (the “Annual Return”) which were previously completed through the Canada Revenue Agency are now filed through the OBR.
What Is an Annual Return?
An Annual Return is not the same as an income tax return. The Annual Return is comprised of confirmation of the corporation’s legal name, tax year end date, date of incorporation or amalgamation, mailing address, corporation number, the jurisdiction of incorporation and information about the directors and officers of the corporation. Failure to file the Annual Return could result in monetary penalties or in some cases the involuntary dissolution of the corporation.
All Ontario corporations are required to file an Annual Return with the government of Ontario within six months after the end of each tax year. This includes corporations incorporated, amalgamated or continued in Ontario, including foreign corporations with a license to carry on business in Ontario (“Ontario Corporations”).
How Were Annual Returns Filed Previously?
Prior to May 2021 Annual Returns were filed with the Canada Revenue Agency, as a part of the corporation’s income tax return – often by the corporation’s accountant. The option to file the Annual Return as part of the T2 Corporation Income Tax Return no longer exists.
When is My Annual Return Due?
For Annual Returns due between the period of May 15th until the launch of the OBR on October 18th, 2021, Ontario Corporations were temporarily exempt from filing the Annual Return. As the exemption has now ended all Ontario Corporations must file their Annual Return through the OBR, this includes Annual Returns which were delayed due to the blackout period.
Access to the OBR will require retrieval of the Ontario Company Key. Obtaining the Ontario Company Key and filing the Annual Return can be completed by you or any other authorized person such as your lawyer or accountant.
If you require assistance with maintaining corporate filings, updating your minute book, or any other business law matter, do not hesitate to contact a lawyer at Lexcor Business Lawyers LLP.