Checklist for Small Businesses

As of May 13, 2024, the CRA no longer registers and maintains import and export RM program accounts. These services are now provided by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). However, if you don’t have a business number, get it from the CRA using Business Registration Online before contacting the CBSA. Learn more: CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM).

This checklist is for people like you who are starting a business. Using the links below, you can get information about your fiscal obligations and their implications. You can also get information on interactions between your business and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

For more information after consulting these links, go to Small businesses and self-employed income.

Before you start

For income tax purposes, we define a business as an activity where there is a reasonable expectation of profit and there is evidence to support that intention. For goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) purposes, a business also includes any activity whether or not it is engaged in for profit and any regular or continuous activity that involves supplying property by way of lease, licence or similar arrangement.

If you are starting a new small business, consult Setting up your business to make sure you do everything you need. This page includes information about your business' structure as well as registering your business for the first time.

Small business resources

About My Business Account – Dealing with the CRA from a secure online portal on various business accounts, including GST/HST, payroll, corporation income tax, excise tax, and excise duties.

Bringing assets into a businesss – Information about buying or expanding a business, including how to determine fair market value and the effects on GST/HST, and transferring assets.

Business audits – What you need to know if you've been selected for a business audit.

Business income tax reporting – Reporting your business earnings and paying income tax on those earnings.

Changes to your business and Canada Revenue Agency program accounts – Information on what to do for common types of business changes: how to make updates online, inform the CRA of changes, and other related actions you should take.

Corporation income tax returns – Information on corporation income tax returns and who needs to file them.

Digital services for businesses – Making it faster and easier with our online services to handle your business tax matters. You, your employee, or representative can file your returns, make payments, determine entitlement to credits, register for direct deposit, and do much more.

When to file (GST/HST) – Getting information about filing your GST/HST returns.

How to register for a business number or Canada Revenue Agency program accounts – Explains the different ways to register for a business number or Canada Revenue Agency program account.

Keeping records – Knowing what you need to keep, and for how long.

Liaison Officer service – The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers a free Liaison Officer service to owners of small businesses to help them understand their tax obligations.

Payroll – Getting information and forms associated with amounts you withhold from the remuneration and other income amounts you pay, setting up a new employee, and determining payroll deductions.

Report business income and expenses – Information about Form T2125, Statement of Business or Professional Activities, industry codes, claiming capital cost allowance, eligible capital expenditures, and interest and penalties

When you need a business number or CRA program accounts – Find out when you need a business number or CRA program accounts. More information on different program accounts like: GST/HST (RT), Payroll deductions (RP), Corporation income tax (RC), Information returns (RZ), and others.

For additional information

For more detailed information, including topics not covered in this checklist, go to Small businesses and self-employed income

Forms and publications

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