When you need a business number or Canada Revenue Agency program accounts

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).

Certain business activities require a business number. You can register for:

When you need a BN

You need a BN if you incorporate or need a CRA program account.

You might need a BN to interact with other federal, provincial, and municipal governments in Canada. For more information, go to Canada Revenue Agency registration and provincial or other federal programs.

Getting a BN as part of other registrations

You will get a BN if you:

When you need a new BN

A business or legal entity can only have one BN. If you already have a BN and you want to change the legal ownership or the structure of your business, you may have to register for a new BN. For more information, go to Changes to your business and Canada Revenue Agency program accounts.

There is an exception in the case of a sole proprietor in bankruptcy. For more information, go to Bankruptcy – Business structures.

When you need CRA program accounts

Each CRA program account has its own rules and requirements about when you need to register.

Registering for a CRA program account will get you a BN if you don't already have one. If you already have a BN, the program account will be added to your BN. Your business will only ever have one BN.

The most common CRA program accounts a business may need are:

You can register online to get a BN and the most common CRA program accounts:


When you register for a BN using BRO, you will receive a new nine-digit BN. You must keep this new BN for your own records and future interactions with the CRA.

Other CRA program accounts are described below.

CRA program account numbers

Business number, 123456789. Program identifier, RP. Reference number, 0002.

A CRA program account number has three parts:

  1. the nine-digit BN to identify the business
  2. a two-letter program identifier code to identify the program account
  3. a four-digit reference number to identify an individual program account (since businesses can have more than one of the same kind)


You start a sole proprietorship. You need a GST/HST program account if you need to charge GST/HST. If you have one or more employees, you will also need a payroll deductions program account.

Once registered, your business will receive a:


  • 123456789

GST/HST program account number:

  • 123456789 RT 0001

Payroll deductions program account number:

  • 123456789 RP 0001

If your business does not receive the information, you will need to check that the program accounts were registered properly. If your business needs to confirm their account number(s), you will need to contact the CRA.

If the business later incorporates, you will need to register for a new BN. This will generate an RC program account for corporation income tax and you will need to add other CRA program accounts that you require (RP, RT). You will then close the sole proprietor BN accounts if you do not need them for any other businesses that you operate. For more information, go to Corporation income tax program account.

Other CRA program accounts

Very few businesses need other CRA program accounts such as:

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