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Can two domain names be registered to one corporation?

Expert: Jane MacCarthy

Martin asked:

I currently own a business in Vancouver, BC. I will be offering a few unrelated services, and therefore we want to register multiple domain names (one name for each service).

I assume that I can't receive cheques paid to my domain names, so therefore, I would like to register a couple different company names so they match my domain names.

Is it possible to register two names to one corporation? My two concerns (or reasons for wanting this) are:

  1. I would like to be able to receive payments addresses to a name at least similar to the domain name.
  2. I want to ensure that I have legal rights to the domain name. If ever anyone ever accuses me of using a certain name, I at least have a company registered to those names.

Jane MacCarthy answered:

In regard to your first concern, the answer is yes. According to an agent with BC Registry Services (1-800-663-6102) that we contacted, if you don't want to create separate corporations, as it could get expensive, you could take the default numbered company name issued by the government. Then you would go to the following website to register as many business names as you want:

However, to save money rather than registering them as a corporation, register each of the names as a proprietorship/partnership business owned by the numbered corporation. It will cost less than $100 per name.

If you need to maintain separate sets of books for each operation, then it will be simpler in the long run to establish separate corporations.

In regard to your second concern, domain name registration is not the same as corporate name registration. To register your domain name, check out any one of the numerous domain registration service business online.

Registering a business name does protect your name from other businesses in BC, or other jurisdictions where you have registered it, who may want to use the name but who haven't registered the name.

For further protection of your names in Canada, you could trademark it. For further information, check out the following Canadian government service:

Once you have determined the naming structure for your business, you can set up the banking arrangements. Most bank accounts will need to be set up in the name of the incorporated entity. This will mean that cheques to be deposited into that account will need to be in the name of that entity.

That leaves you needing to incorporate all company names, or only receive cheques payable to the corporation. Alternatively, your financial institution may offer the ability to set up a main account, with multiple sub accounts. This would allow you to have a main account in the name of the corporation and sub accounts for each of the company names.

This response is offered from a banker's point of view; we cannot emphasize enough that you should seek some sort of legal and/or professional accounting advice regarding these matters.

About the author

Jane MacCarthy is in the Public Affairs & Corporate Communications department at Vancity.

Phone: 604-877-4539 / 778-837-0394

183 Terminal Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V6A 4G2
Fax: 604-877-5404

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