You've Incorporated Your Business: Now What? A Guide to Your Accounting and Tax Obligations

June 18, 2024

Understanding Accounting and Tax Obligations for Small Business Entrepreneurs: A Guide for Canadian Incorporated Businesses

Starting a small business is an exciting venture, but along with the thrill of entrepreneurship comes the responsibility of managing finances, following tax regulations, and ensuring compliance with accounting standards. For entrepreneurs who have chosen to incorporate their businesses, navigating these obligations is important for maintaining financial health and legal compliance. Here’s a comprehensive guide to understanding accounting and tax obligations for Canadian small business entrepreneurs who have incorporated.

Maintaining Proper Accounting Records

When you incorporate your business, you create a separate legal entity distinct from yourself. This separation requires diligent record-keeping to track revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities of the business. Key aspects of maintaining proper accounting records include:

  • General Ledger: Recording all financial transactions in a general ledger ensures transparency and accuracy in financial reporting.
  • Accounts Receivable and Payable: Tracking money owed by customers (receivables) and to suppliers (payables) helps manage cash flow effectively.
  • Bank Reconciliations: Regularly reconciling bank statements with accounting records ensures that all transactions are accurately recorded.

Preparing Financial Statements

As an incorporated business, you are required to prepare financial statements annually. These statements typically include:

  • Profit and Loss Statement: Summarizes revenues and expenses over a period, showing the profitability of the business.
  • Balance Sheet: Provides a snapshot of the business's financial position at a specific point in time, listing assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • Cash Flow Statement: Tracks the movement of cash in and out of the business, crucial for managing liquidity.

Complying with Tax Obligations

Incorporated businesses have specific tax obligations that differ from those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Key considerations include:

  • Corporate Income Tax: As a separate legal entity, your business is subject to corporate income tax on its profits. The tax rates and regulations vary by jurisdiction.
  • Payroll Taxes: If you have employees, you must withhold income taxes, CPP (Canada Pension Plan contributions), and EI (Employment Insurance) contributions from their salaries.
  • GST/HST/PST: Depending on your revenue threshold, you may need to register for and collect Goods and Services Tax (GST), Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), and/or Provincial Sales Tax (PST) on behalf of the government.
  • Corporate Tax Returns: Filing an annual corporate tax return (e.g., T2 in Canada) is mandatory, detailing income, deductions, and taxes owed.

Understanding Compliance Requirements

Compliance with regulatory requirements is essential for avoiding penalties and maintaining good standing. Considerations include:

  • Annual Meetings and Resolutions: Holding annual meetings and documenting key decisions through resolutions is required to maintain corporate compliance.
  • Regulatory Filings: Depending on your jurisdiction, there may be additional filings required, such as annual reports or disclosures.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Navigating accounting and tax obligations can be complex. Consider partnering with an accountant or tax advisor who specializes in small business and corporate taxes. They can provide valuable insights, ensure compliance with regulations, and optimize your tax strategy.


As a small business entrepreneur who has incorporated, understanding and meeting your accounting and tax obligations is crucial for sustainable growth and compliance with legal requirements. By maintaining accurate financial records, preparing required financial statements, complying with tax laws, and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can effectively manage your business’ finances and focus on achieving your entrepreneurial goals. Remember, staying informed and proactive in financial matters is key to long-term success in business.

Incorporating your business offers numerous benefits, but it also entails specific responsibilities. By staying organized and informed about your accounting and tax obligations, you can navigate the complexities of running an incorporated small business successfully.

Alicia Fowler