Ontario corporations are legally required to file an annual return. The annual return is not the same thing as filing an income tax return and it is important to know that this requirement extends both to corporations who generate income and those who don’t.
The purpose of the annual return is to provide the Ontario government with current and accurate information about all corporations operating in its jurisdiction. The annual return includes information like the corporation’s legal name, mailing address, taxation year end date, date of incorporation/amalgamation, corporation number, jurisdiction incorporated and contact information for the current directors and officers of the corporation.
For most Ontario corporations, the annual return must be filed within six months of their tax year-end. Corporations that file annual returns after the prescribed deadline may be fined a late filing fee and may be subject to cancellation by the Ontario Ministry.
Prior to May 15, 2021, these annual returns were required to be filed with the CRA as a schedule that formed part of the annual corporate income tax return. As of May 15, 2021, the CRA stopped accepting these information returns, and the Ontario government announced that it would be launching a new online Ontario Business Registry to allow filing of the annual returns through this online Registry. The requirement to file these returns with the CRA was suspended pending the launch of the Registry on October 19, 2021.
Businesses that have an Ontario annual return due on or after October 19, 2021 must now file their annual return directly online through the new Ontario Business Registry.
Information on how to file the annual information return and other corporate records directly through the new Ontario Business Registry can be found on Service Ontario’s website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/ontario-business-registry
And just a quick reminder that the annual return is only one part of the reporting, filing and record keeping requirements that Ontario corporations are subject to. Complying with these requirements is essential to maintaining the benefits of incorporating in the first place.
If you would like assistance in filing your annual information return, or in reviewing your corporate records to see if anything is missing, please get in touch.