One Business One Number

What is the Business Number (BN)?

The Business Number (BN) is a nine digit business identifier. Each program registration is assigned an account number which is the BN plus six characters. The BN is assigned by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to Manitoba, federal and certain other province’s program accounts.

What is the structure of the BN?

The structure of the BN is a 9-digit unique root, followed by the account number which is made up of a 2-character program identifier (identifying the program for which the business is registered), and a 4-digit account sequence number (an incremental number assigned to each account the business has within each program).  This structure enables the identification of the business via the root, while keeping track of the programs for which it is registered separately, via the various suffixes.

The Business Number is currently used to identify the CRA accounts such as GST/HST, payroll deductions, corporate income tax and importing/exporting tax and Manitoba accounts such as: Incorporations, Registered Business Names, Retail Sales Tax, Corporate Capital Tax and Health and Education Tax.

  9-digit root Program Identifier Sequence Number
GST/HST (CRA) 945127589 RT 0001
Manitoba Corporation 945127589 MC 0001
Manitoba Retail Sales Tax 945127589 MT 0001
Manitoba Retail Sales Tax 945127589 MT 0002

Why did Manitoba adopt the BN?

The use of the BN was recommended by Manitoba businesses, and was being adopted in other provincial jurisdictions. It is currently used federally and in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

The use of the BN simplifies business’ dealings with government by replacing the multiple numbers currently used to identify the same business.  The adoption of the BN supports the concept of  "One Business, One Number".

How does a business get a BN?

  • A BN plus the 6 characters which identify the program, will be assigned the first time a business registers with a participating program (e.g. Companies Office, Manitoba Finance- Taxation or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)).
  • For subsequent registrations, the original BN (the 9 digit root number) will be attached to a different 6 character suffix.

If I change the way my business is organized, does the business keep the same BN?

  • A BN is assigned to a business based on its form of ownership structure. For example, if you operate your business:
    • as a sole proprietor you are assigned a BN for legal structure-sole proprietorship;
    • in partnership, you are assigned a BN for legal structure-partnership;
    • as an incorporated company, you are assigned a BN for legal structure-corporation.
  • If the ownership structure changes (i.e. from a sole proprietorship to a partnership or a corporation), the business requires a new BN.

What are some future benefits of adopting the BN?

  • The adoption of the BN paves the way for integrated registration and business self-service using the Internet;
  • The BN will reduce duplicate information requests made of businesses;
  • The same BN will allow business to identify itself to both the provincial and federal government programs;
  • It will be progressively easier to do business in Manitoba as other government departments and agencies choose to participate in the BN system;
  • Service to business will improve with one number.

What Manitoba departments are participating at the present time?

  • Manitoba Finance, Companies Office
    - Business Name Registration (BNR)
    - Corporations (Corp)
  • Manitoba Finance, Taxation Division
    - Corporation Capital Tax (CCT)
    - Retail Sales Tax (RST)
    - Health and Post Secondary Education or Payroll Tax (HET)
Has Manitoba consulted with the business community? If so, with whom?
  • Yes, the Province of Manitoba held focus groups about the use of a single business identifier with over 100 businesses in various locations as early as 1997. Specific consultation about the implementation of the BN initiative began in the summer of 2002. Manitoba has continued to consult with the following groups:

    - The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce
    - The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce
    - The Law Society of Manitoba
    - The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Manitoba
    - The Certified General Accountants Association of Manitoba
    - The Society of Management Accountants of Manitoba
    - Canadian Federation of Independent Business
  • These groups are very positive about the adoption of the BN and have offered support with various educational activities.

What legislation allows the adoption of the BN in Manitoba?