For the new year, and beyond!

This article was originally published on Law Scout’s (now Founded) blog in 2016. While some regulations for business in Alberta may have changed since then, these five resolutions are still fresh.

As an entrepreneur, it’s always important to start the year with clear goals, an action plan, and a moment to reflect on what you’ve learned in the past year. With all that’s on your plate, the legal side of things is often pushed to the side. This short checklist will help you quickly review some critical legal compliance issues, so you can get back to focusing on your success in 2016!

1. Review Important Contracts

First things first—identify your “big” contracts. This may include important license agreements, supply contracts, consulting agreements, and business leases. Comb through these documents and make sure you know when they expire and the conditions to renew.

Renewal clauses often have requirements that need to be met before the contract expires. For example, business leases typically require that you provide up to six months’ notice of renewal before the term expires. If you miss the deadline for notice, you could lose your renewal rights and be forced to leave at the end of the term.

Once you’ve identified the terms of renewal and the expiration date, mark them in your calendar to ensure that you have plenty of time to renew (or cancel) the contracts in compliance with the terms of the agreement.

2. Consider Incorporating

Many small businesses start out as sole proprietorships. But as your business grows, there are added incentives for you to incorporate. As Founded has discussed before, for Ontario businesses here and Alberta businesses here, the primary reasons to incorporate will be to limit personal liability and take advantage of business tax rates. Generally, it’s never too early to incorporate and it’s a fairly simple and inexpensive process. So consider whether 2016 is the year that you take the incorporation plunge.

3. Check Your Corporate Records

Keeping your corporate records up-to-date is one of the ongoing requirements of ensuring your corporation is legally compliant. This includes filing annual returns and preparing annual resolutions.

If the registered office for your business is also your everyday business address, then you will receive the annual return form directly at your place of business. Make sure you spend the time to review, properly complete, and file with the appropriate regulatory body.

Annual resolutions are resolutions that are completed at the same time you file your annual return. They include confirmation of the filing of your annual return, as well as other items, including the waiving of the requirement of an audit if applicable.

If you’re not sure where to start with getting your corporate records organized, you can always contact Founded. We respond to requests within one business day (often much sooner) and we’re always happy to connect entrepreneurs to Law Scout’s network of highly-qualified small business lawyers.

4. GST/HST Number

If you haven’t registered for a GST/HST Number for your business, then you should consider registering. Although registration is only mandatory if your business’s taxable income is over $30,000.00, registering early may prove to be beneficial as you can claim input tax credits on GST/HST paid on business expenses.

5. Other Corporate Filings

Have you moved business offices? Then make sure to file a change of address form with the appropriate regulatory body.

Do you want to change the name of your business or the share structure of your corporation? Then you will need to file Articles of Amendment. When filing Articles of Amendments, you should make sure that your amendments comply with your corporation’s bylaws and any shareholders agreements.

Bottom Line

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, which is why it’s important to start each year off right by taking a moment to reflect and ensure that your business is set up for success. If you have questions along the way or are considering hiring a lawyer but don’t know where to start, send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to set you on the right path.

In the end—keep on hustling and make this your best year yet!

This article was originally published on Law Scout’s blog.