Ontario Pharmacy owners and relief pharmacists that have an incorporated business should be aware of changes in filing annual returns.
Per the Corporations Information Act, an Ontario annual information return needs to be completed each year, to disclose and confirm the corporation’s name, business address, as well as the directors and officers.
Corporations used to be able to file an annual return as part of your corporate tax return with the Canada Revenue Agency, but as of May 15, 2021, the process changed.
What Has Changed?
As of May 15, 2021, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) stopped accepting annual returns for Ontario corporations on behalf of the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery.
This means that the annual return is no longer included as part of your corporate tax return and needs to be filed separately, either by you or your accountant.
Ontario corporations who were due to file an annual return from May 15, 2021 through October 18, 2021, were exempt and did not have to file an annual return for 2021.
Now you need to file your Ontario annual return directly through the Ontario Business Registry.
What Is the Ontario Business Registry?
The Ontario Business Registry enables businesses and not-for-profit corporations to conduct more than 90 transactions easily online. This includes registering, incorporating, updating information, and filing an annual return.
What Are My Options to File Annual Returns?
You have a couple of options for filing an Ontario annual return. You can file it yourself, or have your accountant do it for you.
You can file your annual return yourself via the free Ontario Business Registry’s service.
Because the system is new, the Ontario Ministry has not yet enforced any annual filings or imposed any penalties. However, owners of Ontario corporations should register and file as soon as possible to avoid penalties.
Tips To File Annual Returns Correctly
Get a Company Key
You need a company key to file annual returns. This is a code that lets you access the Ontario Business Ministry site to file.
Ontario corporations that incorporated before October 19, 2021 will have to request a company key from the Ontario ministry.
If you incorporated after this date, you should have received this company key with your incorporation documents. You can find your company key on the Ontario Business Registry website here. If you can’t find or access it, you can always request another one via the same link.
Your company key would have been emailed to the email address you had on file at the Ontario Business Registry. If you don’t have an email address on file, the company key would have been physically mailed to your business address. If this physical business address has changed from what you had listed, you’ll have to answer security questions before a company key can be emailed to you.
With your company key, you can sign in with a ONe-key ID. You’ll need to create a Service Ontario account and sign up for your ONe-key ID.
Your ONe-key ID is a unique electronic credential for secure access to government services. You can access several provincial services – one of which is the Ontario Business Registry, which you now need to access to file annual returns.
If you forget your password and recovery questions, and the email address on file isn’t correct, you’ll need to create a new ONe-key ID.
Keep Business Address and Other Information Current
You’re responsible for keeping your corporation information accurate and up-to-date. Be sure to update your information here
Have Your Accountant File Your Annual Return
Many corporations prefer to have their accountants or lawyers, or other qualified, trusted entities, file their annual returns. Your accountant can do this for you, too.
If you hire a legal or accounting firm to be your intermediary, you need to authorize this intermediary to transact on your behalf. You can do this through the Ontario Business Registry’s Partner Portal. This enables them to make transactions on your behalf.
If you prefer this option, you still need to obtain your company key on your own and provide it to your accountant or lawyer.
Firms are charging separately for filing this additional return. Please contact your accountant or lawyer to see how much they charge and weigh that compared to filing yourself for free.
Where Can I Find More Information?
You can find out more information from the Ontario government website.
The pharmacy accounting specialists at Pharma Tax can also answer any questions you may have. We can file your Ontario annual return. While we’re at it, we can help you with tax planning strategies to help you reduce the amount of taxes you pay each year.