Obtaining a Business Number

A business number (“BN”) is a unique government numbering system that identifies your business and the various accounts you maintain. You will need to obtain a BN when you open your new law office. Various federal and provincial government programs use your BN for identification in providing services. The first program that you register with will provide you with a BN.

In Saskatchewan, the participating programs that most law offices will register with are:

  • – Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) for:
    • – payroll account for employee deductions (for income tax, CPP and EI);
    • – Goods and Service tax (or GST); and
    • – corporate income tax account (only if you practise through a law corporation).
  • – WCB
  • – PST

In this module, we’ll be focussing on income tax and employee deductions. We’ll cover GST and PST separately in subsequent modules.


Want more information?

The CRA website contains useful information on many income tax, GST, CPP and EI topics, as well as details on who must register and how to register. You can contact CRA either by calling 1-800-959-5525 or through the website.

The WCB website has useful information on the workers’ compensation program and how to register. You can contact WCB either by calling 1-800-667-7590 or through the website.

You can access information about PST registration on the Government of Saskatchewan website.


The BN consists of:

  • – a nine-digit registration number that identifies your business. This number will stay the same for all the programs with which you register;
  • – two letters for the type of account. For example, the letters RP will be used when you register for the CRA payroll accounts, and RT when you register with GST; and
  • – four numbers for the specific account reference. For example, if you have two payroll accounts, the BNs will end with 0001 and 0002.

For example, a BN for a firm that is registered once with GST would look like:
123456789 RT 0001.

The same firm that is registered twice for Federal payroll deductions would have two accounts:
123456789 RP 0001 and 123456789 RP 0002.

This module will not address any of the tax issues related to the individual lawyer’s personal income or law corporation income. However, for information on incorporation of your legal practice to ensure it is recognized for tax purposes, see the article “Incorporation of Lawyers on the Law Society website.