Resources & Insights

The Magical Business Number

You have incorporated an Ontario Corporation, you have seen to the set up of officers, directors and shareholders but now realize that you can’t in fact get into business without a ‘Business Number’ and an HST registration.

 Can your lawyer or accountant help you, or can you deal with this problem yourself? Your answer is maybe and maybe. Your lawyer and accountant will find that they won’t get anywhere with CRA because of privacy laws, without submitting a ‘Business Consent Form’ signed by the incorporator.

Then, if you or your advisor should decide to go it alone you should do the following:

  1. Make a note of the proper name of your Company, the date of incorporation and the Ontario Corporation number.
  2. Obtain the social insurance numbers, full names and addresses of all Directors.
  3. Call Canada Revenue Agency 1-800-959-5525 and advise that you are looking for your Business Number so that you can register for HST. (Hours of service 8:15 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.)
  4. Canada Revenue Agency will look up your Company, provide you with the Business Number and then ask you a series of questions so that you can register for HST.
  5. CRA website provides a Business registration Online (BRO) Service but unfortunately this is currently NOT available for Federal or Ontario incorporations.

The present practice of the Ministry of Government Services (Ontario) on incorporation is to assign you an Ontario  Corporation Number and automatically provide that number to Canada Revenue Agency with particulars of your Incorporation. CRA will produce the BN (Business Number) which is the base number for the federal numbering system for HST. It does take a few days to produce this number following an incorporation.

By: John Cockburn