Understanding Business Identification: Differentiating Between Company Key, Business Identification Number (BIN), and Business Number (BN)

In the landscape of business identification and registration, various terms and identifiers are used to distinguish and categorize entities for regulatory, taxation, and administrative purposes. Among these identifiers, the terms “Company Key,” “Business Identification Number (BIN),” and “Business Number (BN)” are frequently encountered. Understanding the distinctions between these identifiers is essential for business owners, stakeholders, and regulatory authorities. In this legal blog, we’ll elucidate the differences between these key identifiers and their respective roles in business identification and compliance.

1. Company Key:

The Company Key is a unique identifier assigned to businesses by specific regulatory or governmental authorities, typically for tracking and administrative purposes. It serves as a reference number or code that facilitates the identification and retrieval of information related to a particular business entity. The Company Key may vary depending on the jurisdiction and regulatory framework governing business registration and administration.

2. Business Identification Number (BIN):

The Business Identification Number (BIN) is a term commonly used to refer to the unique identifier assigned to businesses for identification and tracking purposes. In some jurisdictions, the BIN may serve a similar function as the Company Key, acting as a distinct numerical or alphanumeric code assigned to each registered business entity. The BIN may be used by regulatory agencies, tax authorities, and other governmental bodies to track business activities, compliance, and regulatory obligations.

3. Business Number (BN):

The Business Number (BN) is a unique nine-digit identifier assigned to businesses in Canada by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for taxation and administrative purposes. The BN serves as a primary identifier for businesses registered in Canada and is used for various tax-related activities, including filing tax returns, remitting taxes, and accessing government programs and services. The BN is comprised of a nine-digit numerical sequence, with each digit representing specific information about the business entity and its registration status.

Distinguishing Characteristics:

While the Company Key, Business Identification Number (BIN), and Business Number (BN) serve similar functions as unique identifiers for businesses, there are distinct differences in their scope, usage, and regulatory authority. Here’s a summary of their differentiating characteristics:

  • Company Key: A unique identifier assigned by regulatory or governmental authorities for administrative and tracking purposes.
  • Business Identification Number (BIN): A unique identifier assigned to businesses for identification and tracking, often used interchangeably with terms like Company Key.
  • Business Number (BN): A unique nine-digit identifier assigned by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for taxation and administrative purposes, mandatory for businesses operating in Canada.


Understanding the differences between the Company Key, Business Identification Number (BIN), and Business Number (BN) is essential for ensuring compliance, regulatory transparency, and effective business administration. While these identifiers may vary in name and scope, they collectively play a crucial role in identifying, tracking, and regulating businesses within their respective jurisdictions.

Contact Falcon Law PC for Legal Assistance

For personalized legal assistance and guidance on business registration, compliance, and administrative matters, contact Falcon Law PC at 1-877-892-7778 or via email at info@falconlawyers.ca. Our team of experienced lawyers specializes in business law and can provide comprehensive support to help you navigate the complexities of business identification and regulatory compliance. Don’t hesitate to reach out for expert guidance and assistance—we’re here to help you navigate the intricacies of business administration with confidence.

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