The Business Number – Which One Do You Need?

Q.  I’ve got work as a subcontractor and the business I’ll be working for has asked me for my business number.   What do I need to do to get a business number?

A.  A business number is requested by the payer to indicate that they have hired a subcontractor rather than an employee.  It is important to understand the criteria for claiming oneself as self employed.  (see our blog Employee or Independent Contractor)

There are two “Business Numbers” that the payer may be asking for.  They may require one or both of the following.

  1. BN (Business Number) from Revenue Canada

The Business Number (BN) is a 9-digit business identifier used in Canada to which businesses can register program accounts with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

  • HST  (RT)
  • Import/Export account  (RM)
  • Corporate Income Tax  (CM)
  • Employee Source Deductions  (RP)

An example of a BN is:

123456789 RT 0004
Business number (BN) Program identifier Reference number

Further information is available on the CRA Website

  1. BIN (Business Identification Number) from the Province of Ontario

A Business Identification Number is obtained when registering a business name with the Province of Ontario.  When a business name is registered with the Province of Ontario the business will receive a Master Business License to confirm the registration.  This document is required by all banks in order to open a business bank account.  Further information on the BIN can be found at

Tip:  This number should not appear on your receipts.

For further information on registering a business name see our blogs:

Registering your business name – Please, take your time!

Researching a Business Name (Part II)

Ask the payer to be clear about which number they are requesting.

For clarification or assistance in registering either of these numbers, contact Halton’s Small Business Centre at 1-866-4HALTON (42-5866),, or visit us at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville.  We also offer seminars on a variety of Small Business topics.  Check out the schedule.

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