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Do I Need a Business Number?

A common question asked when a someone starts a business is if they need a business number.

What is a Business Number (BN)?

A business number is a 9 digit account number that identifies your business to the government and is designed to set up program accounts. Program accounts are accounts that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has on record and will use when you file your taxes.

Do I Need a BN?

There are 4 conditions where sole-proprietors need a business number, including the following:

  1. You just hired your first employee. When you have an employee on staff there are additional requirements on top of their salary including items like Employment Insurance and Workers Compensation premiums. In order to pay those into the government, you need to have an account associated with your business.
  2. You Import/Export. If you’re importing or exporting products as part of your business activities you’ll need to register for a BN. Each product that is imported or exported has certain regulations around it and potentially certain taxes and duties associated with it.
  3. You made $30,000 from the business this year. You’ll notice some businesses don’t charge HST on their products or services, in many cases this is because they make less than $30,000/year in sales from their business. Once businesses hit the $30,000 revenue mark, they are required (within 29 days) to start charging HST and therefore have to get a BN to do that.
  4. You charge HST from the start. From time to time business owners opt-in to charge HST from the day they start. When you register for a BN and start charging HST, there are administrative responsibilities that come along with it versus not charging HST but there can be pros and cons to both situations depending on your specific business.

If you decide to incorporate your business, you’ll also require a business number but that’s a whole different topic.

For most small businesses that get started with Youth Ventures, getting a business number is not necessary. If  and when you get to the point where you meet one of the above criteria, registering for a BN is an extremely easy and quick process.

More information about the BN can be found here: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bn/

If you have any other questions about how to get your business started, let us know in the comments below or send us an email at provincial (at) youthventuresnl.com

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