Why do you need a business number?

In Canada, a business number (BN) is something you’ll need for GST/HST, payroll, corporate income tax, import/export or other business accounts with Canada Revenue Agency (like registered charity, excise tax, excise duty, insurance premium tax, or air travellers security charge).

You’ll be assigned a BN when you register your small business. This business number will have 15 digits, consisting of two parts: the registration number and the account identifier. Your account identifier may be either RT (GST/HST), RP (Payroll Deductions), RC (Corporate Income Tax), or RM (Import/Export) and will be followed by a 4-digit account reference number. You’ll need your business number when making payments or enquiries related to your account.

While the whole thing might sound complicated now, registering for your business number is easy – it can be done by phone, internet, fax or mail.

Keep in mind, not all small businesses need a BN. If you’re unincorporated and operate your business under your own name, you don’t register with the government, and therefore you don’t need a BN!

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