Most businesses that operate in Quebec will need a Quebec enterprise number (NEQ). Fortunately, the process to apply for one is simple and doesn’t require additional paperwork beyond what you already need to prepare to register your business. Read on for Ownr’s complete guide on everything you need to obtain an NEQ number in Quebec.
What is an NEQ number?
An NEQ number is a unique ten-digit numerical identifier that a business is assigned when registering with the Registraire des enterprises in Quebec. An NEQ number is a business number that is specific to enterprises that operate in Quebec. It makes identification of a business simple when dealing with the general public or public bodies within the province, and it is used for most government communications and transactions, as well as when filing business income taxes for the enterprise.
What is the Quebec enterprise number for?
The Quebec enterprise number simplifies dealings between the provincial government and businesses. Some examples of government agencies and departments a business may interact with include:
- Services Québec
- Revenu Québec
- Commission des relations du travail
- Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail
- Office québécois de la langue française
- Commission de la construction du Québec
- Commission des transports du Québec
- Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation
- Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec
When dealing with enterprises, the above agencies will identify each business by its NEQ number. The NEQ numbers also make it easy to identify the business structure of an enterprise (for example, all sole proprietorships begin with the number 22, followed by 8 unique digits.)
What are the benefits of having an NEQ number?
In addition to simplifying interactions with government bodies and agencies, by registering your business you’ll make your enterprise public and obtain an NEQ number while doing so. Businesses must submit essential information to the Registraire des enterprises in Quebec when they register. Once registration is complete, basic information about the enterprise becomes public record and can be searched in the database by anyone using the business’s name or NEQ number. The search results will include information such as:
- The NEQ number for the business
- The Corporation’s name
- The business size and activities
- The headquarter address
- The status of the business’s registration and date of last change
- The initial date of registration
- Other names used in Quebec
- Persons related to the business (i.e. directors, shareholders, partners)
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Who needs an NEQ in Quebec?
Most businesses in Quebec must submit a declaration of registration with the Registraire des enterprises at which time they will automatically receive their NEQ number. This applies to the following types of enterprises:
- Sole proprietorships that operate under a unique business name other than the exact first and last name of the owner
- Businesses who carry an activity in Quebec (including federal corporations)
- Tobacco retailer and tanning salon enterprises
- General and limited partnership enterprises
Businesses incorporated under Quebec provincial laws also require an NEQ number, though the process to acquire one is slightly different. A corporation constituted under the Quebec Business Corporations Act will be registered automatically in the enterprise registry upon constitution and does not need to submit a declaration of registration. At the time of constitution, an NEQ number will be automatically assigned.
Note: To complete the corporation’s registration, an additional document called the Initial Declaration must be filed. This is free to file within the first 60 days of constitution, but fees will apply after that deadline.
There are certain exceptions where an NEQ number is not automatically assigned or required for, though one can be voluntarily applied for in order to make public a business’ existence and other information pertaining to it. These include:
- Sole proprietorships that operate under the owner’s exact first and last name (with the exception of those that operate a tobacco retail business or offer tanning services)
- Undeclared partnerships (joint ventures)
- Associations and other groups
How to get an NEQ number in Quebec
Applying for an NEQ number is simple. It does not involve additional paperwork beyond what is already required to register an enterprise.
To receive an NEQ number for a partnership or sole proprietorship, you must file a declaration of registration for your enterprise with the Registraire des enterprises. In doing so, the business will automatically be assigned an NEQ number. This process will be nearly instantaneous if not declaring a business name and typically takes around one business day if there are no issues with the unique business name.
For corporations, it depends whether you incorporate under the Quebec Business Corporations Act or whether you have an extra-provincial corporation. If you have an extra-provincial corporation, you simply have to file a declaration of registration with the Registraire des entreprises like you would do for a sole proprietorship. If you have a Quebec corporation, you will automatically receive an NEQ once incorporated. However, do not forget to file the initial declaration within 60 days of the incorporation, otherwise you might end up having to pay additional fees.
If you’re ready to level up your entrepreneurial game, learn more about incorporating your small business in Quebec with Ownr’s guide to everything you need to know about Quebec corporations.
When to apply for an NEQ number
Applying for an NEQ number is done instantaneously with the business registration since it is assigned automatically at the time of incorporation or the submission of the declaration of registration. For corporations, once incorporated, the NEQ and articles of incorporation are delivered by email and an access code (called ClicSEQUR) will be delivered by mail. The corporation’s initial declaration needs to be filed through the online portal of the Registraire des entreprises called MyOffice within the first 60 days. To access the portal, the NEQ and the access code are needed.
What is the application process for an NEQ number?
To apply for an NEQ number, submit your declaration of registration online with the Démarrer une entreprise service. It will include:
- The name of business owner(s)
- The business name (must be in French) and any other names (for example, a translation into an alternate language) used for dealings in Quebec, if applicable
- The home address of the business owner(s) and the enterprise headquarter address in Quebec
- The enterprise’s main activities (sectors of operation)
- The contact details of the business owner(s)
- Name, address, and signature of an authorized representative, if applicable
Note that this form is only available in French. It can also be submitted in person at one of the registry offices located in Quebec City and Montreal or by mail to the Registraire des entreprises.
Fees and payments
The fees for a declaration of registration are as follows:
- $37 for a sole proprietorship, cooperative, association or other groups of persons
- $56 for a partnership
The fees for incorporation are:
- $356 for incorporation under the Quebec Business Corporations Act
If the initial declaration is filed within the first 60 days of incorporation, there are no additional fees.
How long does it take to get an NEQ number?
An NEQ will be assigned nearly instantaneously with the submission of the declaration of registration if a unique business name is not selected. If one is, processing times are typically around one business day as long as there are no issues with the business name. For corporations, the NEQ number is assigned at the time of their constitution (received with the articles of incorporation via email).
How to get an NEQ number in Quebec FAQs
1. How do I register a sole proprietorship in Quebec?
Registering as a sole proprietorship in Quebec is fairly simple and affordable. You will need to conduct a name search, pay the appropriate registration fees, and file the declaration of registration form. Complete the process in just minutes with Ownr for a one-time fee of $49, which includes unlimited name searches. Find out more now.
2. Do I need an NEQ to be self-employed?
In most cases, yes, self-employed individuals need a Quebec enterprise number. However, if a self-employed worker is operating their business as a sole proprietorship under their exact first and last name, registration is not mandatory unless they are operating a tobacco retail or tanning business. In this case, it is still possible to register as a sole proprietorship on a voluntary basis if the business owner wishes to obtain an NEQ number and make their business a matter of public record.
3. Is NEQ the same as GST?
No, an NEQ number is not equivalent to a Goods and Services Tax (GST) number. GST numbers are assigned by the CRA or, in Quebec, by Revenu Quebec. Learn more about the GST and HST basics you need to know for your business.
This article offers general information only, is current as of the date of publication, and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.