Does a Sole Proprietorship Require a CRA Business Number?

Are you wondering if your sole proprietorship needs a CRA business number? You’re not alone. Many new business owners grapple with this question, and we get how confusing it can be.

The answer is that not all sole proprietorships need one, but there are specific conditions where it’s necessary. We’ll clarify when you might need a CRA business number and guide you through the registration process.

Keep reading to learn more!

Key Takeaways

  • Sole proprietors need a CRA Business Number if they plan to hire employees, engage in taxable activities, or import/export goods.
  • Register for GST/HST when making taxable sales, leases, or supplies in Canada to ensure compliance and avoid penalties.
  • To obtain a CRA Business Number, visit the Government of Canada’s online portal and fill out the registration form with details about your business.
  • Keep records of your registration confirmation and any communication with CRA for future reference.

What is a CRA Business Number?

A CRA Business Number is a unique nine-digit identifier assigned by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This number acts as a personal identification code for your business, streamlining interactions with the CRA.

Whether you run a sole proprietorship or partnership, this business identifier helps manage tax-related accounts such as GST/HST.

You typically obtain your business numbers when registering for these essential tax accounts. Having this number ensures that all transactions and communications between your business and the CRA are accurately tracked.

Sole proprietors often need to register for the goods and services tax (GST) or harmonized sales tax (HST), depending on their activities.

Conditions Under Which a Sole Proprietor Requires a CRA Business Number

If you plan to hire employees, you need a CRA Business Number for payroll purposes. Engaging in any taxable activities or services also requires obtaining this number from the Canada Revenue Agency.

Engaging in taxable activities requiring GST/HST registration

Sole proprietors must register for GST/HST if they provide taxable goods or services. They should register on the day they make taxable sales, leases, or supplies in Canada. This includes selling products or offering services that are not exempt from GST/HST.

It’s important to correctly determine the effective date of registration. By doing this, sole proprietors can stay compliant and avoid potential penalties. Accurate bookkeeping and timely registration help manage tax responsibilities effectively.

Registration Process for Obtaining a CRA Business Number

Obtaining a CRA Business Number is an essential step for sole proprietors and partnerships engaged in taxable activities. Here are the steps to guide you through the registration process:

  1. Determine Eligibility:
    Confirm if your business needs a CRA Business Number. Sole proprietors need it for GST/HST registration, payroll, or importing and exporting goods.
  2. Gather Necessary Information:
    Prepare personal information such as your Social Insurance Number (SIN), business name, and address. Have details about your business activities ready.
  3. Access the Online Portal:
    Visit the Business Registration Online portal on the Government of Canada website to start your application.
  4. Complete Registration Form:
    Fill out the registration form with accurate details about your business operations, including expected revenue and type of business structure.
  5. Submit Your Application:
    After completing the form, submit it online through the portal. Ensure all provided information is correct before submission.
  6. Receive Your Business Number:
    Once processed, you will receive your CRA Business Number through mail or email confirmation.
  7. Register for CRA Program Accounts:
    If applicable, register for additional program accounts such as GST/HST, Payroll Deductions, or Import/Export programs using your new Business Number.
  8. Seek Assistance If Needed:
    Contact the Business enquiries line at 1-800-959-5525 for help with any issues regarding the registration process or understanding which accounts you may need.
  9. Keep Documentation Handy:
    Maintain records of your registration confirmation and any correspondence with CRA for future reference.


Some sole proprietors do not need a CRA business number right away. If you provide taxable goods or services, registering for GST/HST becomes necessary. Interactions with federal and provincial governments might also require you to have a business number.

For partnerships, obtaining program accounts from the CRA is important. It helps ensure compliance with tax regulations and smooth operation of our business.

At Hadri law we can assist you in dealing with CRA and obtaining a business number.

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