Do You Need to Register for a CRA Business Number?

Thinking of starting your own business and not sure about whether you need to register your business?


One of the first steps is determining whether your business will require a Business Number (BN). Depending on your requirements this may be mandatory, so it is important that you review the information for each type of account before registering. You only need a federal Business Number if you require any one of the following business accounts:




You must register for GST/HST in the following cases:


  • if you provide taxable, including zero-rated goods or services in Canada in the course of carrying on business in Canada and your revenues exceed $30,000 ($50,000 for public service bodies) in a single calendar quarter or in four consecutive calendar quarters
  • you make taxable sales of admissions in Canada for a place of amusement, a seminar, an activity, or an event held in Canada, even if your sales do not exceed $30,000
  • you host a convention in Canada, and more than 25% of the delegates are residents of Canada
  • you solicit orders for publications to be delivered to customers by mail or courier in Canada
  • You do not have to register if you are a non-resident who sells taxable real property located in Canada other than in the normal course of business.

2. Payroll


Most employers, trustees, and administrators need a payroll account.You are an employer if you:


  • pay a salary, wages, advances, bonuses, vacation pay, or tips to your employees
  • provide a benefit such as board and lodging, to your employees
  • hire a non-resident person, partnership, or corporation to perform services in Canada, see Non-resident workers

If you are not sure whether someone is your employee or is self-employed, see Employee or Self-employed.


3. Corporate Income Tax


If you want to incorporate your business, depending on whether you want to incorporate provincially, territorially, or federally, you should contact your provincial incorporationg authority or Industry Canada-Strategis. When you incorporate with the province, territory, or Industry Canada, your business will automatically be registered for a Business Number (BN) and a corporate income tax account.


4. Import/Export


If you import goods into Canada or export goods to other countries, you should register. The government will use your import-export account number to process customs documents. To avoid delays in releasing your goods at the border, the CRA recommends that you open your account before you import or export goods.


5. Other Accounts


There are other types of accounts you can register for: Registered Charity, Excise duty, Excise tax, Insurance Premium tax, and Air travellers security charge. Contact the CRA for more information

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