Registering Your Business

As a commercial importer, you must have a Business Number for your import/export account.

The Business Number (BN)

The business number (BN) has 15 digits: nine numbers to identify the business, plus two letters and four numbers to identify the program and each account. The system includes major types of Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Canada Border Services Agency programs that many businesses may be registered for:

For example, your import/export account will look like this: 123456789RM0002

For more details on the BN and how it affects your business, see the Canada Revenue Agency publication called The Business Number and Your Revenue Canada Accounts. If your business is based in Quebec, see the publication called The Business Number and Your Revenue Canada Accounts in Quebec.

How do you get a BN import/export account?

You can register for a business number, or add an import/export account to an existing business number, by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-5525. You may also obtain a business number by registering on-line at or by completing Form RC1, Request for a Business Number (BN). Send the completed form to your nearest tax services office listed under the listings in the government section of your telephone book. We will give you an account free of charge as soon as we receive the form.

When do you use your BN import/export account?

You have to show your import/export account on your customs documents. This applies to most shipments that enter Canada.

You only use your import/export account for importing or exporting. If you do not use it, your account will expire after two years. You can reactivate it by contacting the CRA. If there is any change in your status (e.g., name or address change), you must report these changes to us as soon as possible.

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