What is a professional corporation?
A corporation is a separate legal entity. It can earn income, enter into contracts, purchase real estate, investments and other property, and pay taxes.
There are two main types of companies in Canada. A public company generally has its shares listed on a stock exchange and anyone can invest in it. A private company is not publicly traded. Public and private companies have different income tax and accounting rules.
A professional corporation is a type of private corporation governed by provincial legislation and the rules and regulations of each profession’s governing body. These rules often include restrictions on who can own shares in the company, what the company can own and do, and even on what the company can be named. A common provision is that a professional is not protected from legal liability for malpractice and negligence even though practicing through a corporation.
Not every profession in BC is permitted to practice through a corporation.
Business professionals (excluding health professionals) that can incorporate include (but are not restricted to):
- Accountants (Chartered Accountants, Chartered Management Accountants, Certified General Accountants)
- Mortgage Brokers
There are 25 regulated health professions in BC governed under the Health Professions Act. Health professionals permitted to practice through a corporation in BC include:
- Dental Hygienists
- Massage Therapists
- Pharmacists (with respect to owning/operating a pharmacy)
- Physical Therapists
Each profession has its own rules relating to the use of professional corporations. Future posts on professional incorporation may not apply to your situation. Please contact me, your advisors, or your professional body for additional information.
Next: Why Incorporate?