Sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, and trusts in Ontario require a Business Number (BN). Continue reading to learn what a BN is, easy instructions for obtaining a Business Number, how to find your BN if you lose it, plus the differences between a BN, BIN, and Corporate Number.
What Is a Business Number in Ontario?
A Business Number (BN) in Ontario, Canada, is a 9-digit identification code that’s issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It allows municipal, provincial, and federal government agencies to definitively identify your business entity, ensure proper taxation, and streamline mutual communications.
BN vs BIN vs Corporate Number
Ontario Business Numbers allow the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services to identify all registered business accounts quickly and accurately within the province. It may be attached to a Master Business License or to any type of corporation.
You’ll need your BN if you want to communicate with the CRA about programs you participate in or would like to register for, including:
The Business Number with a Master Business License is only valid if you establish an HST or payroll account with the Canada Revenue Agency. The BN of each incorporated entity is automatically assigned to track corporate filings and taxation.
You will also need a BN if you register as a legal entity via Business Registration Online (BRO), register a business federally, or register a business in provinces besides Ontario – including Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Saskatchewan.
Note that each registered business in Ontario can only have a single BN, not multiple. If you presently have a business number and you need to reshape the legal structure of your business, or change ownership, then you might have to apply for a new BN.
If you need more information on this, please visit the Canada Revenue Agency here.
BIN vs BN
The Business Identification Number (BIN) is a different 9-digit number issued to all business owners who register a Master Business License in Ontario.
Corporate Number vs BN
An Ontario Corporate Number is a 7-digit number assigned to you when you incorporate, amalgamate, or continue a legal corporation into the province of Ontario.
Now, let’s look at an Ontario BN example so that you better understand the format of this digital ID..
Ontario Business Number Example
Your Business Number has 9 digits. It is combined with a 2-letter program identification code, plus a 4-digit reference number to identify each separate account a single business might have. The three elements come together to form your 15-character Account Number.
Here’s an example.
Assume that “Business T” wants to obtain a Business Number from the CRA, as well as to register a single Import/Export account, plus two payroll accounts. It follows that Business T will receive a:
While it’s possible to register more than one program account simultaneously, each different type of account requires unique information and must be enrolled in individually.
If you need more clarification about Ontario Business Numbers, here’s an excellent example.
Easiest Way to Get a Business Number in Ontario
The simplest and fastest way that you can obtain an Ontario Business Number, or register for various CRA program accounts, is by visiting Business Registration Online (BRO).
Business Registration Online (BRO)
Business owners, 3rd-party requesters, RepID agents, and those who employ caregivers or other domestic workers can apply for a BN Ontario via the BRO app.
Along with your personal information, you’ll need a valid social insurance number (SIN) that DOES NOT begin with “9”, and a copy of your recent income tax return filed with CRA.
CRA will check the postal code they have on file for you, not the one they have filed for your business. So, if you have recently relocated, it’s good to check to ensure that CRA has your proper postal code on file. You can check by Contacting CRA Here.
And if you run into any issues along the way, you can call the BRO e-Services Helpdesk at 800.959.5525. CRA states that you should be ready to answer the questions listed in Form RC1 Part A.
How Do I Find My Ontario Business Number?
If you need to find your Ontario Business Number online, you can do so by logging into CRA My Business Account. Once there, you can sign in using your unique User ID and Password, or you can access your information via one of CRA’s Sign-In Partners, including:
Other CRA Sign-In Partners include National Bank, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank, Servus Credit Union, Simplii Financial, Tangerine, TD Canada Trust EasyWeb, UNI FINANCIAL COOPERATION, and Vancity. Note that older browsers may not be able to access CRA’s online services.
What Do I Do If I Lost My Ontario Business Number?
If you have lost and can’t remember your Ontario BN, or you have recently moved or received a letter from CRA, you should contact the agency.
Individuals can call 800.959.8281, and businesses may call 800.959.5525.
If you believe that your information or account has been compromised in any way, you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 888.495.8501.