Certain business activities require a business number. You can register for:
- a business number: a unique, 9-digit number – the standard identifier for businesses. It is unique to a business or legal entity.
- CRA program accounts: 2 letters and 4 digits attached to a business number – used for specific business activities that must be reported to the CRA.
When you need a business number:
You need a business number if you incorporate or need a CRA program account.
You might need a business number to interact with other federal, provincial, and municipal governments in Canada.
Getting a business number as part of other registrations:
You will get a business number if you:
- register for any CRA program accounts needed
- incorporate your business federally
- register or incorporate your business with these provinces:
- British Columbia
- Nova Scotia
- New Brunswick
- register using Business Registration Online (BRO)
When you need a new business number
If you already have a business number and you want to change the legal ownership or the structure of your business, you may have to register for a new business number.
When you need CRA program accounts
Each CRA program account has its own rules and requirements about when you need to register.
The most common program accounts a business may need are:
- GST/HST (RT) – if your business collects GST/HST
- Payroll deductions (RP) – if your business pays employees
- Corporation income tax (RC) – if your business is incorporated
- Import-export (RM) – if your business imports goods or sells goods or services abroad
Registering for a CRA program account will get you a business number if you don’t already have one. If you already have a business number, the CRA program account will be added to your business number. Your business will only ever have 1 business number.