Operating business online, does it require business number and license? no physical address is used.

Hello, I want to start selling online (currently am through social media). I am working on my own website to launch soon. I was wondering am I suppose to register for business number and business license even if I operate at home, through the Internet? If yes, do I apply for Business number or Business license for?Thank You

Asked over 2 years ago in Toronto, Ontario
Categories: Internet  Business Law  Privacy Law  Legal Aid  Patents, Trademarks, Copyright

Answer Now

Meena Tewari Jham

Answer by Meena Tewari Jham

Not VerifiedOntario lawyer

Congratulations...it seems like your business is doing well and is expanding. I will try to answer your question briefly. Even if you have an online business, you will have to abide by the same laws and regulations as other business set-ups. You will have to pay taxes, follow the anti-spam guidelines, e-commerce rules, and consumer protection regulations. There are different ways in which you can register your business. You can register your business name as a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation. I will not elaborate on partnership since you are planning to do the business yourself.
A sole proprietor is an individual who wishes to undertake a business venture in his/her name. A sole proprietor does not need to register the business name, so long as the business name is same as the sole proprietor’s actual name. If the sole proprietor wants to use a name other than his/her own name, he/she must register that name under Business Names Act. However, there are liability issues for a sole proprietor. If someone wants to sue the sole proprietor, the personal assets of the sole proprietor will be at risk.
Registering a corporation is another option and in your case, it seems ideal. A corporation has its own identity, so if someone wants to sue a corporation, the personal assets of the shareholders (owners of the corporation) will not be at risk. If you decide to get investors in your business, you can issue shares in return for their investments. You can add more shareholders if your business does well and other people want to join in. There are several benefits of incorporating your business.
I am a little unclear about what you mean by business number or business license but depending on what option you want to go for (sole proprietor or corporation), you will either have to register the name under the Business Names Act or apply for business incorporation.
In conclusion, I would advise you to incorporate your business and undertake the online venture under that company's name.
Hope that answers your question. If not, please let me know and I will try to elaborate further.

Posted over 2 years ago

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be provided by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion. For formal legal advice, hire a lawyer (many give a free first consultation). Contact Meena Tewari Jham, or search the Lawyer Directory.

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