Registering your business - Segment 3


Host: Welcome to the segment called Registering your business, part of the Starting Your Business video

This segment mentions webpages where you can get more information. You can find links to these webpages in the Related links for this video.

I'm Kathleen Sinclair, your host for this segment.

With me is Frank Stewart. Welcome Frank.

Subject matter expert: Thank you Kathleen.

Host: For tax purposes, what does it mean to register your business?


Subject matter expert: When you register your business with the CRA, you get a business number, often referred to as a BN.

Host: Why would a business need a BN?

Subject matter expert: Having a BN simplifies and streamlines the way businesses deal with the federal, provincial, and municipal governments in Canada.

A BN is unique to each business and is the base number for all CRA program account.

Host: What are CRA program accounts?

Subject matter expert: Well, these are different types of accounts you may have to register for, depending on your business activities. The most common accounts are for payroll deductions, GST/HST, corporation income tax, and import/export.

Host: Does this mean that all businesses have to get a BN?

Subject matter expert: No, not all businesses need a BN. However, if a business needs a CRA program account, it has to get a BN. The BN and programs accounts are connected.

To find out if your business needs a BN or a CRA program account, go to the CRA webpage about determining if you need a BN and a program account.

Host: What do you need to do to register?

Subject matter expert: To register you will need to fill out Form RC1, Request for a Business Number. Some of the information you may need to complete the form includes the type of business or organization - for example: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, registered charity; the name and social insurance number of all owners; and the legal business name.

To get complete details on what type of information you need before you register, go to the CRA webpage about registering for a BN.

Also be prepared to answer all of the business structure questions in Part A of Form RC1, called Request for a Business Number.

Host: Are the registration requirements the same for all businesses in all provinces and territories?

Subject matter expert: Yes, they are, except for Quebec. If you operate your business in Quebec, unless you are a selected listed financial institution, you will have to register your GST/HST program accounts with Revenu Québec. Keep in mind that you must still contact the CRA to register your payroll deductions, import/export, and corporation income tax program accounts

For GST/HST information for businesses operating in Quebec, visit or call 1-800-567-4692.

Host: What do I need to do if I'm changing my business structure? For example, what happens if I start out as a sole proprietor and then my brother decides to join me in the business and we form a partnership? Does anything change?

Subject matter expert: That's a good question. If you were originally registered as a sole proprietorship and then your brother became your business partner, you've changed the structure of your business. When this happens, you have to let the CRA know by calling the business enquiries line at 1-800-959-5525.

In most cases, you will have to close your existing BN and CRA program accounts and register for new ones.

Host: Thank you Frank.

This concludes the segment on Registering your business, part of the CRA's Starting Your Business video.

Thank you for watching.

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