Checklist for Small Businesses
This checklist is for people like you who are starting a business. Using the links below, you can get information about your fiscal obligations and their implications. You can also get information on interactions between your business and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
For more information after consulting these links, go to Small business and self-employed income.
Before you start
For income tax purposes, we define a business as an activity where there is a reasonable expectation of profit and there is evidence to support that intention. For goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) purposes, a business also includes any activity whether or not it is engaged in for profit and any regular or continuous activity that involves supplying property by way of lease, licence or similar arrangement.
If you are starting a new small business, consult Setting up your Business to make sure you do everything you need. This page includes information about your business' structure as well as registering your business for the first time.
Small business resources
About My Business Account – Dealing with the CRA from a secure online portal on various business accounts, including GST/HST, payroll, corporation income tax, excise tax, and excise duties.
Buying a business or bringing in assets – Information about buying or expanding a business, including how to determine fair market value and the effects on GST/HST, and transferring assets.
Business Audits – What you need to know if you've been selected for a business audit.
Business income tax reporting – Reporting your business earnings and paying income tax on those earnings.
Changing your business status – Getting information on how to change a business status and the possible effects of making such a change.
Corporation income tax returns – Information on corporation income tax returns and who needs to file them.
E-services for Businesses – Making it faster and easier with our online services to handle your business tax matters. You, your employee, or representative can file your returns, make payments, determine entitlement to credits, register for direct deposit, and do much more.
File a GST/HST return – Getting information about filing your GST/HST returns.
How to register for a business number or Canada Revenue Agency program accounts – Explains the different ways to register for a business number or Canada Revenue Agency program account.
Import and Export – Getting information about importing and exporting goods.
Keeping records – Knowing what you need to keep, and for how long.
Liaison Officer service – The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers a free Liaison Officer service to owners of small businesses to help them understand their tax obligations.
Payroll – Getting information and forms associated with amounts you withhold from the remuneration and other income amounts you pay, setting up a new employee, and determining payroll deductions.
Report business income and expenses – Information about Form T2125, Statement of Business or Professional Activities, industry codes, claiming capital cost allowance, eligible capital expenditures, and interest and penalties
For additional information
For more detailed information, including topics not covered in this checklist, go to Small business and self-employed income.
Forms and publications
- Guide T4002, Self-employed Business, Professional, Commission, Farming, and Fishing Income 2020
- Form T2125, Statement of Business or Professional Activities
- Form T2121, Statement of Fishing Activities
- Form T2042, Statement of Farming Activities
- Guide T4036, Rental Income
- Form T776, Statement of Real Estate Rentals
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