BN and RM Numbers | What Do They Have To Do With Importing Into Canada?
What is Step 1 when importing commercially into Canada? Well, the answer is obtaining a Business Number (BN). In this blog we will explore what it is, why importers need one and how it’s different from an Import/Export (RM) number.
What Is A BN?
A Business Number (BN) is a unique 9-digit number assigned by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to businesses and/or self-employed individuals.
The CRA uses the BN as a standard identifier for your business, or simply put, CRA assigns a BN as a tax identification number. Each BN is unique to each business or legal entity. You need a BN to interact with the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments.
What Is A Program Account?
The BN is used for major government revenue programs such as Goods and Services Tax (GST), payroll deductions, corporate income tax and import/export. CRA refers to these revenue programs as program accounts. When CRA assigns you a BN you can then register for a program account. You can have more than one program account. There are six major program accounts with the following 2 letter program identifier code:
- RT - Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax
- RP - Payroll Deductions
- RM - Import/Export
- RC - Corporate Income Tax
- RR - Registered Charity
- RZ - Information Returns
What Do The BN And RM Numbers Mean?
A CRA program account has three parts;
- 9-digit business number to identify the business
- 2-letter program identifier code to identify the CRA program account
- 4-digit reference number to identify an individual CRA program account
An example of a BN with an Import/Export program account is:
123456789 RM 0001
CBSA uses the BN with the Import/Export program account (RM) for identification of the business at time of import to process customs documents and for compliance purposes.
Do I need a BN And RM Account To Import?
If your business imports goods or sells goods or services abroad you will need a valid BN and an Import/Export program account (RM) prior to importing goods into Canada.
Registering for a CRA program account will get you a business number if you do not already have one. If you have a business number the CRA program account will be added to your BN.
How Do I Register For A BN Or RM?
If you are new to importing and need a BN or RM, a Customs Broker can obtain one for you quickly.
Alternatively, registering for a BN and program account is free of charge and can usually be obtained within a few business days.
With the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management project (CARM) Release 2 scheduled for 2023, you will be able to apply for a BN and RM number directly through the CARM client portal.
Should you have any questions regarding the necessity of a BN and RM number, contact us directly.