Congratulations. You’ve decided to start a business! In what has no doubt been an unsettling last few years of employment high and lows, more Canadians than ever are deciding to venture out on their own and forge their own paths through small business. There’s one thing that’s essential when it comes to getting your venture off the ground…your business number.
What’s a business number? Good question. According to the CRA:
The Business Number (BN) is a numbering system that simplifies and streamlines the way businesses deal with the federal government. It is based on the idea of one business, one number. Each business requires one BN for its legal entity. A legal entity is defined as a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, trust or other organization.
It’s a 15 character identifier of your business. It has two parts; a nine digit number that identifies your legal entity, and a 6 character portion composed of letters and numbers that identifies the particular tax account. The nine digit number part of the Business Number never changes; the second part of the Business Number will change depending on which tax account the number refers to.
This number is the single key in dealing with the federal government on payroll, tax remittance, import/export activities, and a variety of other items. Your business number is what’s required to be referenced with the CRA when it comes to discussing the details about anything related to remittance, tax, or business activity subject to tax.
You need to register your business and get a business number. A good resource for this is the Canada Revenue Agency’s website. You can find the link here:
You can also register your business online here: