To Incorporate or Not

by Gary Gill August 14th, 2023
To Incorporate or Not

Deciding whether to incorporate a business in Canada depends on various factors, including your business goals, size, industry, and personal preferences. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed decision:

Limited Liability:


  • Incorporation provides a legal separation between your personal assets and the company's liabilities. This shields your personal assets from business debts and legal claims.
  • Offers protection in case of bankruptcy or financial difficulties, helping to safeguard your personal financial security.


  • Personal guarantees or liabilities by shareholders might negate some of the limited liability benefits.
  • Directors of a corporation could be held liable for certain liabilities including provincial sales tax and payroll remittances owing to the Receiver General.

Tax Planning:


  • Corporations often benefit from lower corporate tax rates compared to personal income tax rates.
  • Ability to defer personal income tax by keeping profits within the company, which can allow for reinvestment and potential growth.
  • Ability to income split with family members if they are active in the corporation. 


  • Investment income is taxed at much higher rates than business income which negates the benefit of incorporating to invest in passive assets.
  • Tax deferral strategy only works when your corporation is able to earn more than you need personally. 

Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption:


  • Eligible small business owners can claim the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) on the sale of qualified shares, resulting in significant tax savings.
  • The LCGE allows for a portion of the capital gains to be exempt from tax, up to a specific limit ($971,190 in 2023).


  • Meeting the eligibility criteria for the LCGE might require careful planning and adherence to specific rules.

Estate Planning:


  • Incorporated businesses can offer more effective estate planning options, as ownership can be transferred through share transfers.
  • Continuity of the corporation beyond the owner's life can provide stability for family members and business partners.


  • Succession planning within a corporation might involve complexities, especially with multiple shareholders or a diverse range of assets.
  • It's important to have legal documents in order (clear shareholder agreement and will and testament in place to handle potential future scenarios)

Disadvantages of Incorporation:

  • Limited Deductibility of Losses: Losses incurred by a corporation are not deductible against the individual income of the shareholders. Losses of a sole proprietorship and partnership would be deductible against individual income. 
  • Cost and Complexity: The process of incorporating a business involves legal and administrative procedures, which can be complex and time-consuming. There are costs associated with incorporating, including fees for legal services, registration, and ongoing compliance requirements. Additionally, the administrative burden of maintaining corporate records and filing annual reports can be demanding.

Remember that the decision to incorporate is highly dependent on your individual circumstances, business goals, and the nature of your operations. Consultation with legal, financial, and tax professionals is crucial before making a final decision. They can help you navigate the intricacies of Canadian corporate law and taxation to ensure you make an informed choice that aligns with your long-term objectives. Please Contact Us.