Registering an International Business (IB)

To access the IBA tax incentive, a company must register with British Columbia’s Ministry of Finance and become a member of AdvantageBC.

There are two parts to registering an international business (IB):

  1. A company must register in the International Business Activity (IBA) Program with the BC Ministry of Finance.
  2. A company must become a Core Member of AdvantageBC International Business Centre within 90 days after the Notice of Registration.

Registering with the Ministry of Finance of the Province of British Columbia

The Ministry of Finance administers the IBA program and determines all registration and compliance requirements. View their website for all details on the IBA program.

Applications for registering an IB should include:

  1. A business plan describing how your corporation will conduct its international business. It may include financial statements, organization charts, or other information.
  2. Recent financial statements.
  3. Related or affiliated corporations.
  4. A list of the planned international financial activities.

Requirements

In general, a corporation will qualify for registration under the IBA program if it meets certain criteria, including:

  • Incorporation in Canada. Schedule III banks, or branches of foreign banks operating in Canada, have become eligible to register in the IBA program.
  • A permanent establishment in British Columbia.
  • Status as not exempt from income tax under the Income Tax Act (Canada).
  • Payment of application and registration fee of $5,000.
  • Establish and carry on a qualifying business within 90 days of registration. An international business is defined in section 1 of the International Business Activity Act and detailed on the website of B.C.’s Ministry of Finance as one of the following types of businesses:
    • International financial business
    • International film distribution business
    • International patent business
  • Membership in AdvantageBC International Business Centre · Vancouver Society within 90 days of registration. Read about joining AdvantageBC.
  • The legislative framework for the IBA program is provided by the International Business Activity Act (IBAA). View the legislation here.

Rulings and Technical Interpretations

A company can request a ruling or technical interpretation on matters of uncertainty regarding the International Business Activity (IBA) program.

If you require clarification of complex issues, it may be appropriate to request that the BC Ministry of Finance provide an advance ruling or a technical interpretation. The Ministry will issue, at no cost, written advance rulings and technical interpretations to explain technical matters relating to the International Business Activity Act (IBAA).

For information purposes, the Ministry has made past rulings and technical interpretations available through their website.

Advance Rulings

  • An advance ruling is a written statement the Ministry provides on proposed transactions that sets out the position of the B.C. Ministry of Finance on how the relevant provisions of the legislation apply to a clearly defined fact situation of the claimant.
  • Receiving an advance ruling enables claimants to decide on a particular course of action by providing certainty with respect to the implications of the IBAA to proposed business transactions.  Accordingly, advance rulings are only given on proposed transactions which are seriously contemplated and are not of a hypothetical nature.
  • Advance rulings cannot be provided on issues already under review or audit.
  • Advance rulings are based on a review of the relevant facts and proposed transactions disclosed to the Ministry. The rulings given are provided on the basis that the facts are correct and complete and that the proposed transactions are carried out in the manner disclosed. The advance ruling is no longer valid if the legislation on which the ruling is based is subsequently amended or a court decision changes the interpretation of the law upon which the ruling was based.

Technical Interpretations

  • A technical interpretation provides the Ministry’s view of how the legislation would apply to a generic fact situation. Technical interpretations generally apply to hypothetical fact situations and the interpretations are not binding.
  • Technical interpretations are for general guidance only and do not imply any assurance over the treatment of the specific transactions involved.
  • All written requests for an advance ruling or technical interpretation will receive a prompt acknowledgement.

If you require clarification of complex issues, you can obtain an advance ruling or a technical interpretation. The Ministry of Finance issues, at no cost, written advance rulings and technical interpretations to explain technical matters relating to the IBAA. An advance ruling enables claimants to decide on a particular course of action by providing certainty with respect to the implications of the IBAA to a proposed business transaction. A technical interpretation is the Ministry’s view of how the legislation would apply to a generic fact situation. Learn more about rulings and technical interpretations.

Did you know?

  • BC has a lower tax rate than Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • Vancouver is among the top-10 wealth management centres in the world.
  • All five of Canada’s largest banks have significant operations in BC.
  • You may be eligible for a refund of BC corporate tax on income from international business activities.
  • British Columbia is one of the top two designated financial centres in Canada.