Change of owners, partners or directors
Depending on your business, a change of owners, partners or directors may require different actions, such as changing legal names or registering a new business number and new program accounts.
This page covers general situations. You will find information on the following:
Update your information
It is very important to keep your business information complete, accurate and up to date with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Otherwise, you might not get important reminders or information. In some cases you might not get your refunds, rebates, or other disbursements. For more information on how to update your information, go to Changes to your business and Canada Revenue Agency program accounts.
A sole proprietorship is legally and directly tied to one specific individual. If you sell or stop operating your business, you must close your business number (BN) and all your CRA program accounts by calling us at 1-800-959-5525.
A new owner can't continue using the old BN. They will have to get a new BN and new program accounts for the business. For more information, go to Business number.
If you are a sole proprietor who is a non-resident of Canada or you have a social insurance number beginning with a 9 or a 0, go to Non-resident GST/HST Enquiries.
If the structure of your partnership changes and a partner leaves or one is added, call us at 1-800-959-5525.
For non-resident partnership changes, go to Non-resident GST/HST Enquiries.
A change of partners will have a different impact on your business depending on your partnership agreement. The legal name of the business may need to change depending on how it was registered:
- If the business uses a provincially registered operating name, it may not need to change
- If it was registered using the legal names of each partner, it may need to change
In some cases, if the partners change, the business is considered a new legal entity and requires a new business number as well as new CRA program accounts.
Before you call the CRA, any structure or owner changes for a corporation must be updated and validated with the federal or provincial incorporating authorities. The CRA can't control how long it takes for an incorporating authority to update their registry.
Once the changes to your corporation are visible on the corporate registry, call us at 1-800-959-5525.
If your business is incorporated or formed outside of Canada, go to Non-resident GST/HST Enquiries.
It is important to make sure that the incorporating authority's registry and the CRA have the correct directors' names on file. In certain circumstances, there may be legal implications for outgoing and incoming directors. We recommend that you get familiar with the corporate laws in the jurisdiction in which you are incorporated. For more information on a shareholder's limited liability, go to Assessing your responsibility for corporation's debts.
For more information on director's liability, see Information Circular IC89-2, Directors' Liability.
Your social insurance number; your security
Regardless of the business structure, operation type or program, we ask to have the name and social insurance number (SIN) of one or more owners, directors or partners on file. Ideally, any individual in control of the business and who has certifying authority should provide their SIN. This is because we can only give information to the specific individuals listed for a business number. We can't accept changes to the information related to a business number without the consent of these individuals. We also can't add representatives without the individuals' authority and consent.
A SIN provides greater security than a name alone because it identifies specific individuals with certainty and accuracy. It ensures we only talk to the rightful owners, partners or directors of a business. It also ensures that only the right individuals can create delegated authorities or authorize representatives. In fact, the SIN is necessary to access My Business Account.
Using both SIN and name prevents confusion when exchanging information with individuals with the same or similar names. The SIN is also used in the prevention and detection of identity theft and wrongful disclosure. Providing your SIN allows both you and the CRA to take more immediate actions if an unauthorized activity is detected. Having your SIN listed for the business number also improves your ability to exercise your rights as stated in the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.
For more information, go to Representative authorization.
In addition to the situations already covered, some changes may need further actions, have tax implications or have program specific requirements. We recommend that you review the rules for your business number's program accounts. For example, your payroll deductions accounts may need special attention when your business is undergoing changes. For more information, go to Changes to your business entity in Guide T4001, Employers' Guide – Payroll Deductions and Remittances.
For more information on other situations, go to Changes to your business and Canada Revenue Agency program accounts.
Forms and publications
- Amalgamation (Canadian corporations)
- Assessing your responsibility for corporation's debts
- Business and industry
- Change a business operating name
- Checklist for Small Businesses
- Closing CRA program accounts
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
- Non-resident GST/HST Enquiries
- Related provincial and territorial government sites
- Selling a business
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