Register Business Number with CRA
Registering Your Business Number with CRA
Your business number is a nine-digit number the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) assigns your business or nonprofit as a tax ID. It is unique to your organization, and it is used with the federal government as well as provincial governments.
Why Do I Need A CRA Business Number?
Your business is given a business number by the CRA if you:
- Incorporate it federally
- Register for any CRA program accounts, such as paying the GST (the 5% federal Goods and Services Tax) or HST (harmonized sales tax, which is a combination federal-provincial sales tax paid in the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island)
- Register or incorporate it with any of these provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan
- Register it using Business Registration Online
This business number allows for the easy identification of your business at all levels of government, and it prevents confusion of other businesses that have the same or similar names.
Acronym : BN
The province of Quebec has a different system for identifying businesses. Registraire des entreprises Québec assigns 10-digit Québec enterprise numbers. And Revenu Québec handles payment of the GST and HST.3
How Does A CRA Business Number Work?
The BN is included in 15-digit CRA program account numbers that businesses and nonprofits use when reporting on certain activities to the CRA. The first nine digits are the business number following a two-letter program identifier. Finally, there is a four-digit reference number that identifies the specific account. The reference number enables a company to set up more than one account for a type of business activity.
The program identifier for GST/HST is RT. The other major program accounts, their identifiers, and their purposes are given in the following chart.
- An example of a payroll account number might be:
- 112233445 RP 0001
- An example of a GST/HST account number might be:
- 112233445 RT 0001
- An example of a corporation income tax account number might be:
- 112233445 RC 0001
Does My Business Need A BN?
Your small business does not require a BN if it does not need to participate in any of the CRA programs mentioned above or to be registered or incorporated federally or with any of the eight provinces mentioned above.
A chart on the CRA's website helps you determine whether your business or nonprofit is required to charge GST/HST. For example, if your revenue or sales do not exceed certain pre-determined thresholds, you are considered to be a small supplier and thus exempt from charging GST or HST taxes. Additionally, you are also exempt if your business offers exempt supplies, such as tutors.
Changing Your BN
If you buy and existing business, or include new partners, or directors, you may be required to obtain a new BN, depending on how your business is structured.
Additionally, if you sell or close your business, you should contact the CRA about giving up your BN and closing your CRA program accounts.7
- A business number (BN) is a nine-digit number the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) assigns to a business or nonprofit as a tax ID.
- A BN is unique to a single organization and is used when dealing with the federal government and certain provincial governments.
- One purpose of the BN is to enable governments to easily distinguish between like-named or similarly named entities.
- A BN is also used as part of 15-digit CRA program account numbers that businesses and nonprofits use when reporting on certain activities to the CRA, including paying taxes and making deductions from employees' paychecks.
- Six provinces have adopted the use of CRA BNs and enable companies to identify themselves with their BN when reporting information to those provinces.
Registering your new business is one of the first steps to successfully setting up your new venture, and it has to be done right. Our Blue Ocean team has years of experience helping start up businesses just like yours, so what it is time to register your business with the CRA, contact us, and we will do everything for you.