How to Apply for a Business Number in Canada

Having a business number is very important when starting a business in Canada and it is expected that you have one. Business Number in Canada makes it very easy for your business to talk with the federal or provincial government of Canada.

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If it is your wish to have your own business after immigrating to Canada, it is expected that you will have to register for a Business Number (BN) upon your arrival and the business has been created.

A business number is a special number made up of 9 digits and it is required for all businesses in Canada. BN is given by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and is the unique way through which each business in Canada is known by the government or other legal entities.

If your business is a corporation, a sole proprietorship, or a partnership, you will still have to get a BN which will be given when you register with the CRA.

A business may only have one Business Number at a time. but, it can be required of you to change your BN when you make certain improvements or changes to your business.

This article will show what the business number is and how you can get it.

What is a Business Number?

A Business Number makes sure that you have the exact same identification information even when you register or fill your business information anywhere.

having a BN makes it easier for your business to talk with the federal or provincial government of Canada. You will be in need of it whenever you want to file a federal tax return for your business.

It is expected that you open several accounts with the CRA but the first nine digits that make up your BN will be the same in all these cases.

There are various steps or sections that a business number has and they are:

  • The first section is the 9 digit number that makes up your Business Number
  • The second section is the program identifier. This shows what kind of account or program the number is specific for. an example is (‘RC’ is used for income tax while ‘Rp’ is used for payroll).
  • The third section is known as the reference number.

An HST number for a type of business in Canada is most likely going to look like this: 123456789

We know that the Business Number is very important in Canada, but it is not important for you to have one if your business is not making up to $30,000 per annum as gross profit yet.

Why do you need a Business Number in Canada?

You may need a Canadian Business Number for the following reasons:

  • Incorporation a CRA program account
  • For you to be able to open a CRA Business account
  • To make deals with the federal, territorial, provincial, or municipal governments in Canada

When do You Need a New Business Number in Canada?

It will be expected that you register for a New Business Number in Canada when you want to venture into a certain process like changing the structure of your business or making changes to its legal ownership.

Furthermore, you will be required to register for a new number when you want to make some changes in regard to the administration of your business or expanding business operations.

There are various types of owners that should have a business number and it falls under three different categories and they are:

  • Business Number for Sole Proprietorship
  • Business Number for Company or Corporation
  • Business Number for Partnership
  • Requirements for Applying for a Business Number in Canada

When you want to apply for a BN from the CRA, you can be asked specific questions about your business and you may also be asked to give certain documents. some of these requirements are:

  • Social Insurance Number
  • Documents illustrating the appropriate registration of the business
  • Financial year-end. This involves all your profits and losses that was made by your business within the first 53 weeks of operation.

When you have fulfilled these requirements then you are sure to get your business number in Canada

How to Apply For A Business Number Online

You can apply for a Business Number online, through your mail, fax, or by telephone. Or you can apply online through the CRA website.


If you wish to own a business and interact with the federal government and others then you will need a business number, and this is very important in Canada when you wish to begin a business in Canada.

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