TBITS 30: Business Number - Implementation Criteria

Endorses the use of a business number to uniquely identify private and public sector entities (i.e., registrants), government programs, and operating entities.
Date modified: 1996-07-01

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1. Reference

1.1 Name

  • Business Number

1.2 Identifier

  • TBITS -30

1.3 Category

  • Standard

1.4 Effective date

  • June 1996

1.5 Approving authority

  • Treasury Board of Canada

1.6 Maintenance agency

  • Systems and Technology
  • Treasury Board Secretariat in conjunction with Materiel and Risk Management, Bureau of Real Property and Materiel, Treasury Board Secretariat

1.7 Cross index

  • TBITS-11, Codes for the Representation Names of Countries
  • CAN/CSA Z243.177-6:1991 (ISO/IEC 9594-6:1990) Information Technology B Open Systems Interconnection B The Directory: Selected Attribute Types
  • CAN/CSA Z243.177-7:1991 (ISO/IEC 9594-7:1990) Information Technology B Open Systems Interconnection B The Directory: Selected Object Classes

1.8 Related documents

  • RC2(E) Rev. 94 B The Business Number and your Revenue Canada Accounts
  • RC5(E) Rev. 94 B Converting to the Business Number

2. Purpose

2.1 Subject to any statutory limitations, this Treasury Board Information Technology Standard endorses the use of a Business Number (BN) to uniquely identify private and public sector entities (i.e. registrants), government programs, and operating entity(ies).

2.2 To support BN implementation, this standard designates Revenue Canada as the Issuing Organization and describes the procedures and identifying information which is required to support BN assignment and service delivery.

2.3 This standard requires that the BN be used in applicable transactions and provides opportunities to reduce costs while streamlining and expediting government services.

3. Application

3.1 This standard applies to all transactions, between private and public sector entities, as prescribed by policy or regulations issued persuant to applicable legislation, and Government of Canada organizations defined as departments in Schedules 1 & 2 of the Financial Administration Act.

3.2 A BN must be used in all transactions with the Government of Canada that are undertaken to meet the obligations associated with the programs identified in section 5.3 below.

3.3 This standard applies to all the systems which create and transmit transactions related to the programs identified in section 5.3 below.

4. Specification

4.1 The BN includes a nine digit registration number and a six character account identifier as specified in Appendix A. The account identifier uses two letters to uniquely identify a program and four digits to uniquely identify an operating entity(ies) for that program.

4.2 Appendix B defines the registrant identifying information that is needed to support registration and communications between the Government of Canada and the registrant or its operating entity(ies).

4.3 To acquire a BN, all applicants must follow assignment and maintenance procedures established by the Issuing Organization or Issuing Agent.

5. Qualifications

5.1 Further information on applicable private and public sector entities, legal obligations and reporting criteria is given in documents provided by the Issuing Organization or Issuing Agent for each program.

5.2 Information used to identify a registrant must be accurate and current to ensure timely service delivery. All BN registrants must notify the Issuing Organization or applicable Issuing Agent of changes in the registrant's identifying information or program participation. (See Appendix A for BN maintenance and Appendix B for identifying information).

5.3 The initial implementation of this standard is limited to the following programs: Goods and Services Tax (GST); import/export; corporate income tax, and; payroll source deductions. Other programs will be added as requirements evolve and resources permit. Appendix A.1.2.1 identifies candidate programs for addition to this list in accordance with an implementation strategy being developed by the Issuing Organization for the propagation of the BN to other transactions.

6. Implementation

6.1 Commencing January 1995, a phased in implementation will occur. All existing registrants who have an "old style" account number will be invited to convert to the BN. Beginning January 1, 1997, the BN will be mandatory for all transactions covered by the four programs specified in section 5.3.

6.2 All systems under development or modification, as of the date of adoption of this standard, must be capable of providing the BN in transactions with the Government of Canada.

6.3 All information technology plans prepared after the date of adoption of this standard must reflect a suitable BN migration and/or implementation strategy.

6.4 The Issuing Organization has the exclusive responsibility for all facets of BN assignment, promotion, administration, dissemination, extension to new programs and safeguarding the integrity of the BN information, including the registration, promulgation and maintenance of program identifiers that have been assigned.

6.5 The Issuing Organization may designate other organizations as Issuing Agents to assist it in discharging the responsibilities under 6.4

7. Government standards working group

  • Graham Chambers (Chairperson), TBS
  • Des Beckstead, SC
  • Ed Buchinski (secretary), TBS
  • Paul Drolet, NatResources
  • Ronald Fauvel, TBS
  • Robert Graham, EC
  • John Horsley, PWGSC
  • Douglas Kirk, EC
  • Mark Lalonde, RC
  • Audrey Nicholson, RC
  • William Penner, SC
  • Robert Porteous, PWGSC
  • Rod Quiney, RC
  • Pierre Raby, INAC
  • Major Yves Rioux, DND
  • Bruce Shepley, PWGSC
  • Wayne Stanton, HRDC
  • Jo Ellen Welsford, IC

8. Where to obtain copies

Information documents may be obtained from the Issuing Organization and from the applicable Issuing Agents. Initially the information will be be available only from:

Business Number
Revenue Canada
7th Floor, Tower C
Place Vanier
25 McArthur Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario>
K1A 0L5

For service in English, call 1-800-959-5525
For service in French, call 1-800-959-7775

Copies of CAN/CSA Z243.177:1991 (ISO/IEC 9594:1990) may be obtained from:

Canadian Standards Association
178 Rexdale Blvd
Rexdale (Toronto), Ontario
M9W 1R3

Telephone: 1 (416) 747-4000
Facsimile: 1 (416) 747-4149


Appendix A - BN Description, Assignment and Maintenance

This appendix is informative.

A.1 BN Description

The BN is a numbering system that identifies a registrant, a program and one or more operating entities that deal with the Government of Canada on the registrant's behalf. Figure A.1 illustrates the two parts (i.e. registration number and account identifier) which make up the BN and what these parts identify.

Figure A.1 - BN and its components -- Not available

A.1.1 Registration number

A registration number consists of a 9 digit number that uniquely identifies a private sector entity (e.g. sole proprietor, corporation, partnership, trust, etc.) or a public sector entity (e.g. charity, non-profit organization, educational institution, government department, municipality, etc.). Public and private sector entities, which are required to use the BN in program specific dealings with the Government of Canada, are defined by government statutes and regulations which created the applicable government programs.

The same registration number shall be used to identify a registrant for every designated Government of Canada program (i.e. accounts identified by one of the program identifiers given in A.1.2 or as updated by subsequent amendments).

A.1.2 Account Identifier

A.1.2.1 Program Identifier

To facilitate user consultation the BN is displayed as three components, separated by a space, as shown below:

Figure A.2 B Formatted Display of BN -- Not available

A program identifier consists of a 2 character alphabetic code which uniquely identifies a government program. The following two letter codes have been assigned to identify the initial four programs under the BN initiative:

  • RC B corporate income tax
  • RM B import/export duties
  • RP B payroll source deductions
  • RT B goods and services tax

Program identifiers which have been earmarked for near term activation include the following:

  • VS B vendor/supplier of goods and services to government
  • VC B consignee (government destination/accounting point)

A.1.2.2 Reference Number

A reference number is a 4 digit number that uniquely identifies one operating entity, designated by the registrant, to undertake program-specific dealings with the Government on the registrant's behalf. A registrant may choose to designate separate or numerous operating entities for each program. Each such operating entity will be identified by a reference number that is program-specific.

A.2 BN Assignment

A.2.1 Registration Number Assignment

The Issuing Organization is the only agency that may assign a registration number to a registrant.

To ensure that every registrant is provided with one number only, the request for a registration number must include the registrant's name, address and related information (defined in Appendix B) that describes the registrant accurately and sufficiently. The name of a designated officer or contact person may also be included to facilitate communications between the registrant and the Issuing Organization.

Figure A.3 shows the identifying information that is associated with its corresponding registration number. This information is required to support BN assignment and database RM maintenance.

Figure A.3 B Relationship between Registration Number and Registrant Identifying Information -- Not available

A.2.2 Program Identifer Assignment

Public and private sector bodies must not define and extend the program identifier values. Any departmentally devised program identifiers are a separate data type and must remain distinct from any values associated with the BN. Unassigned BN program identifier values are reserved for exclusive administration by the BN Issuing Organization.

A.2.3 Reference Number Assignment

As required by the registrant, one or more operating entities may be the contact point for specific programs. Each operating entity will be identified by a reference number that is associated with a specific program identifier. A business or a mailing address, specified by the registrant, is used to distinguish among operating entities with identical names.

Reference numbers will be assigned sequentially beginning with 0001. The Issuing Organization or Issuing Agent will keep track of the next unassigned number for each program for each registrant. The default value will be 0001.

As illustrated in Figure A.4 below, a reference number has no inherent significance. For example, reference number 0001 for an operating entity in the RT program can not be assumed to represent the same operating entity as reference number 0001 in the RM program.

Figure A.4 B Relationship between Registrant, Program Identifiers, Operating Entities and Reference Numbers -- Not available

Note: This approach was adopted in response to registrant community requests for flexibility and to avoid costly tracking of reference numbers across program identifiers as registrants shift delegated responsibilities to different operating entities to satisfy changing service needs.

A.3 BN Maintenance

The Issuing Organization and Issuing Agent(s) will define procedures to ensure that public and private sector entities which have obtained a BN and their operating entities which have an associated reference number will notify the Issuing Organization or the designated Issuing Agent of address and other identification information changes or termination of operations as soon as such changes occur.

If a private or public sector entity changes its legal status (i.e. becomes a new legal entity), it must obtain a new BN.

A registration number will not be reassigned to another registrant in the event that a current owner terminates its activities or applicable transactions with the federal government. The Issuing Organization or the applicable Issuing Agent must be notified of such terminations or change of status.

Only certain programs qualify for BN registration. Additional program identifiers will be defined by the Issuing Organization through consultation with private and public sector entities taking into consideration: realistic implementation timeframes; legislative requirements; business rules; costs and benefits to registration agencies and registrants alike.

Appendix B - Registrant Identifying Information

This appendix is normative.

B.1 Transaction and registration needs

A BN registrant, its operating entities, and/or their representatives must be precisely and adequately identified so that every transaction may be correctly addressed to its intended recipient. The registrants must also be properly identified to support BN registration.

B.2 Required and Shareable Identifying Information

Table B.1 illustrates the information that is needed to identify a registrant or to address a party in a transaction. Columns 1, 2 and 5 specify the identifying information which will be requested or generated during the registration phase. Columns 3, 4 and 5 represent the kind of information that is required to address a party to a transaction.

Since name and address information is shareable, an electronic directory project is being planned to manage this type of information on a government-wide basis. Columns 3, 4 and 5 provide a representative sample of the identifying information that has been standardized for electronic directory services by ISO 9594 parts 6 and 7 plus associated OSI implementers agreements. Although ISO 9594 was designed specifically to provide directory services, the standards bodies responsible for this specification recognize that this information and associated services could be used by other applications.

Although certain identifying information is shareable and could be shared, TBITS-30 gives no specifications concerning the data, the format, nor the interchange mechanisms for shareable data. Column 4 illustrates the registration data that could be shared if consensus is reached to use ISO 9594 as an exchange and maintenance mechanism. If this data is shared, its contents will comply with conventions defined in column 2 and summarized in Appendix C instead of the corresponding constraints specified in ISO 9594-6 (i.e. columns 4 and 5).

Identifying Information Issuing Organization Attribute Type & Size Equivalent ISO 9594-6 Attribute ISO 9594-6 Attribute Type & Size Description /Explanation of Identifying Information (ISO 9594 related qualifications enclosed in brackets)
Name of registrant (Legal) X(60) organization name X(64) For qualifying information see paragraph C.1.1
Legal status code 9(2)     Identifies type of organization (e.g. sole proprietorship). For applicable codes see paragraph C.2
Operating, trade or partnership name X(60) alias X(64) Variant form of registrant's name
Name of operating entity X(60) organization unit name X(64) Known to BN as an account name based on Business decision
Program Identifier X(2)     For applicable codes see paragraph C.3
Address type 9(2)     Type of address (e.g. physical location of business). For applicable codes see paragraph C.4
Care of Line X(30) organizational person & role occupant X(64) name of individual that is an intermediary for the registrant organization
Address 2 lines of X(30) each street address or

postal address

X(128)

or

6 lines @ X(60)

2 lines of street address. For qualifying information see paragraph C.1.3 [ISO 9594 postal address is typically composed of selected attributes from the MHS Unformatted Postal O/R Address version 1 CCITT Rec. F.401]
    post office box X(40) Included as part of the address but isn't separately tagged
City X(30) locality name X(128) City or country address. For qualifying information see paragraph C.1.4
Province/State X(2) abbreviation state or province name X(128) Canadian province and U.S.A. state abbreviations.
Country code X(2) country X(2) ISO 3166 codes only
Postal/zip code X(10) postal code X(40) Canadian/U.S.A. postal/zip codes and foreign postal codes
Individual's status in organization X(2) role occupant X(64) A code listed in paragraph C. 5 which is used to indicate an individual's role (e.g. sole proprietor, contact, etc.)
First name X(30) given name or initials X(64) Given name of an individual. For qualifying information see paragraph C.1.2
Last name X(30) surname X(64) Family name of an individual with a specific role in the registrant organization. See paragraph C.1.2 for qualifying information
Title X(10) title   Title of an individual
Telephone number Area code 9(3) Phone # 9(7). telephone number 9(32) Telephone # of an individual within the registrant's organization
Fax number Area code 9(3) Phone # 9(7) fax number 9(32) Fax # of an individual within the registrant's organization

Table B.1 B Required and Shareable Identifying Information

Note: The first character in columns 2 and 4 designates the data type for the attribute. An X indicates that the data is encoded as an alpha-numeric string and a 9 means that the data is exclusively numeric. Values enclosed in parenthesis following the X or 9 symbols, in columns 2 and 4, indicate the maximum length or field size that has been allocated for that identifying information by the Issuing Organization and ISO 9594-6, respectively.

Note: The above table includes only the identifying information that is generally required for addressing a message or transaction to its intended recipient. Column one includes identifying information which has been specified by the Issuing Organization for the initial four account types. Other attributes may be added as the BN program matures.

Note: The values given in column 4 are not an integral part of the ISO 9594 standard and therefore are not mandatory for compliant implementations unless adopted or amended by OSI implementers agreements (e.g. TBITS 6.2, Section 3.2.7 B Directory Services and Appendix 6 B Directory Services Conformance Specifications). Furthermore, these upper bounds will not constrain extensions and modifications which may be needed to maintain or improve the directory service in the future.

Appendix C - Attribute Values & Transcription Guidelines

This appendix is informative

Specific transcription guidelines and attribute values have been devised for recording the registrant's identifying information. These rules include coded values and length constraints on textual data which will be enforced by the Issuing Organization as indicated in the following paragraphs.

The transcription guidelines and attribute values may be updated periodically, as necessary. Clarifications and details concerning these guidelines and coded values are available on a need to know basis from the Issuing Organization or applicable Issuing Agent.

C.1 Name Abbreviation or Truncation

C.1.1 Names of public and private sector entities (i.e. name of registrant; operating, trade or partnership name, or; name of operating entity) which exceed 60 characters in length will be abbreviated or truncated.

C.1.2 Names for individuals which exceed 30 characters will be abbreviated or truncated.

C.1.3 The address information will be structured to display within 2 lines of 30 characters each. Since constituent parts of the address such as street name, box number, etc. are not coded as separate attributes, this information will be structured so as to produce the required print image.

C.1.4 The name of a city (which is intended to mean a geographic area including village, county, etc.) will be abbreviated to 30 characters or less, if necessary. Full names may be matched to the Canada Post Corporation standard to generate an abbreviation for a length of 13 characters or abbreviations may be used for parts of the name (e.g. "Rural municipality of ...." could be abbreviated to "R.M. of ....", if necessary.

C.2 Code Values for Legal Status

The following codes are used to designate the legal status of private and public sector entities:

  • 01 sole proprietorship
  • 02 partnership
  • 03 corporation
  • 04 other (description required)

C.3 Code Values for Program Identifiers

The initial set of coded values for programs include:

  • RC corporate income tax
  • RM import/export duties
  • RP payroll source deductions
  • RT goods and services tax

Additional program identifiers will be defined by the Issuing Organization through consultation with private and public sector entities and taking into consideration: realistic implementation timeframes; legislative requirements; business rules; costs and benefits to registration agencies and registrants alike. Additional program identifiers which have been earmarked for near term activation include the following:

  • VS vendor/supplier of goods and services to government
  • VC consignee (government destination/accounting point)

C.4 Code Values for Address Type

  • 01 business
  • 02 mailing

C.5 Code Values for Individual's Status in Organization

  • 01 sole proprietor
  • 02 contact
  • 03 representative
  • 04 confirmation contact
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