corporations & business numbers

step by step
September 7, 2021


***Please note that this article is based on Canadian Federal System***

Your Corporation is assigned two different numbers: the Corporation Number and the Business Number. Both numbers are used by different branches of the government to identify your business.

The Corporation Number is assigned by Corporations Canada or a Provincial Government at the time the company is incorporated. It is used for filing legal documents with Corporations Canada (such as any changes in the Corporation's structure, or to file the Annual Return). The number is usually 7-digits.

The benefits to registering your Corporation federally vs provincially are heightened name protection, right to carry business across Canada, global recognition, and online account management. It will cost you 200$ to file it online.

Provincial incorporation will be cheaper but it will only entitle you to operate your business in that jurisdiction and have no name protection outside that province.

You can incorporate your business at the federal level with Corporations Canada here.

Business numbers have a variety of endings/identifiers depending on the account. In each instance, the 9-digit number remains the same, with the program identifier changing. For example:

Income Tax 123456789 RC 0001

Payroll 123456789 RP 0001

HST 123456789 RT 0001

You can find a corporation’s BN by accessing Corporations Canada’s online database of federal corporations or by contacting Corporations Canada or CRA directly.

Before incorporating your business, you may want to get a NUANS report done. You don’t need it unless you want to get a corporate name pre-approved. But, it is still worth doing, as it will give you assurance your proposed company name is not taken and you’re eligible to incorporate it. NUANS name provides you with a list of existing corporate names, business names, and trademarks that are similar to the one you’re proposing. It is valid for 90 days only, it will cost you $13.50 and you can get it here.

Written By Dana M