Registering Your Business with the CRA

Registering Your Business with Revenue Canada to Obtain a Business Number

After you’ve registered or incorporated your business, you may be looking to create accounts with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). There are four main program accounts available to small businesses and incorporations including:

  • Business Number (available for Small Businesses)
  • Corporate Income Tax  (only applicable with an incorporated business)
  • Payroll
  • Import/Export

Obtaining a Business Number (BN) for a Small Business

If you have a Master Business Licence (Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership), registering a BN with Revenue Canada is not required. You would only register a BN if you are looking to register accounts with Revenue Canada, including GST/HST, Payroll and Import/Export.

Before registering any of these accounts, you will first need to have a business number (BN) issued to you. For small business owners, the BN is issued to your personal Social Insurance Number (SIN).

This means that the BN number is connected to you personally, and even if you were to cancel your business and start a totally different one, the BN would remain the same unless you were to contact Revenue Canada directly to cancel it.

Each Business Number is a 9-digit number unique to the individual or corporation it’s linked to.

Ex. Business number: 98765 4321

Obtaining a Corporate Tax Number (RC) for a Corporation

Because corporations are considered separate a separate entity from the individual owners, they are automatically issued a Business Number from Revenue Canada when they are created. For Ontario Incorporations, this number is sent by mail within 1-2 weeks of incorporating, or if you are in a hurry, the BN number can be obtained over the telephone 1 or 2 business days after incorporating by calling Revenue Canada at 1-800-959-5525.

Because a corporation files income taxes separate from any individual on file, it is also issued a Corporation income tax program account, which would consist of the Business Number, followed by RC 0001.

Ex. Corporation income tax program account: 12345 6789 RC 0001

Registering a GST/HST Account (RT)

If your business does not exceed $30,000 in revenue within one calendar year, registering your GST/HST account is optional.. Once your business revenue reaches the $30,000 mark, GST/HST registration becomes mandatory.

When setting up your GST/HST registration, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Reporting Period (Annual, Quarterly or Monthly)
  • Current Canada-wide sales
  • Current Worldwide sales

Your GST/HST registration will contain the same number as your Business Number, and will end in RT 0001.

Ex. GST/HST account: 98765 4321 RT 0001

tax accounts

Registering a Payroll Account (RP)

If you have employees, you have to register for a payroll account and follow the payroll requirements set out by Revenue Canada. In order to create your payroll account, you will need the following information:

  • Date employees will receive first pay
  • Months of operation for the business
  • Employee payment frequency
  • Number of employees (must be at least 1)
  • Expected salaries for all employees for the next 12 months
  • Whether the business is a franchise or foreign-owned

Your Payroll registration will contain the same number as your Business Number, and will end in RP 0001.

Ex. Payroll account: 98765 4321 RP 0001

Register Your Tax Account

Registering an Import/Export Account (RM)

If your business is involved in importing and/or exporting goods into or out of Canada, you will need to register an Import/Export account with Revenue Canada. Any customs documents will be processed using the account number, and you can help avoid delays at the border by opening your Import/Export account before any shipments are made.

With your Import/Export account, you may have certain obligations to meet, including:

  • Reporting any shipments
  • Accounting for your goods shipped/received
  • Paying taxes and duty on shipments

Depending on whether you are just importing, exporting or doing both, you will have to set up your account accordingly. If you are exporting, you will need to provide some additional information to register, including:

  • The type of goods you are exporting
  • The estimated annual value of the goods being exported

Your Import/Export registration will contain the same number as your Business Number, and will end in RM 0001.

Ex. Import/Export account: 98765 4321 RM 0001

Ontario Business Central can assist with setting up any of the accounts you require with Revenue Canada.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and speak to one of our dedicated staff who are always eager to assist new business owners.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our staff for additional information and assistance.
Toll-Free: 1-800-280-1913
Local: 1-416-599-9009
Fax: 1-866-294-4363
Office Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Monday – Friday E.S.T.

Ontario Business Central Inc. is not a law firm and cannot provide a legal opinion or advice. This information is to assist you in understanding the requirements of registration within the chosen jurisdiction. It is always recommended, when you have legal or accounting questions that you speak to a qualified professional.