In Hong Kong, businesses are required to register and obtain a Business Registration Number (BRN). The BRN is different from the Company Registration Number (CRN) and is issued by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). The BRN is important, as it allows the IRD to track businesses and collect taxes.
The article will walk you through the definition, the importance, and ways to obtain BRN in Hong Kong.
1. What is Business Registration Number (BRN)?
The Business Registration Number (BRN) is a unique 8-digit number issued to businesses in Hong Kong by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). The BRN is used for business identification in Hong Kong for legal and administrative purposes. It is mandatory for your Hong Kong business to have the number on Business Registration forms and tax returns.
Any trade, commerce, craftsmanship, professions, callings, or any other activity your business engages in for-profit gain is considered “businesses”. The term also encompasses a club.
Companies incorporated, or registered under Hong Kong Companies Ordinance are also viewed as persons conducting businesses, therefore are required to register under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310).
You’ll find out more in this article: 5 Questions To Ask About Hong Kong Business Registration Certificate
Format of a Hong Kong business registration number: 12345678-XXX-XX-XX-X
The process of obtaining a Hong Kong business registration number is simple and can be done online. Business owners can also check their BRN status online to ensure that it has been issued correctly.
2. What are differences between Business Registration Number (BRN) and Company Registration Number (CRN) in Hong Kong?
There are some differences between Business Registration Number (BRN) and Company Registration Number (CRN) in Hong Kong.
What is it for?
CRN is a seven-digit number issued by the Companies Registry, serving as your company’s social security number, and an important signal of identification for your business in Hong Kong. CRN is often shown in the top left corner of your Certificate of Incorporation.
Who needs it?
BRN is required for almost all types of businesses, except for those only holding an office or employment that is not deemed to be conducting any business.
If you are a limited company or foreign company incorporated as a branch in Hong Kong, you will also be advised to go for a CRN.
How long is it valid?
The business registration number doesn’t expire, but the company registration number does.
3. Why is it important to have a Business Registration Number in Hong Kong?
There are a few reasons why it is important to have a Business Registration Number in Hong Kong.
Firstly, the number is used to identify your business and distinguish it from others. This is especially helpful if you are doing business in Hong Kong, as it will help other businesses and organizations to easily find your company information.
Secondly, it is required for company registration in Hong Kong. Without a BRN, you cannot complete the company registration process. The number can be used as a reference number for other official documents related to your business. This makes it easier for you to track and manage your company’s information.
Finally, you need the number to face different government agencies – i.e, filing annual returns or tax payments in Hong Kong.
4. How to obtain and check the Business Registration Number (BRN) in Hong Kong?
There are two common ways to obtain a business registration number in Hong Kong. Businesses can either apply online or go through an in-person application.
For online applications, businesses will need to pay fees and send applications online via the eTAX portal. Note that this application method is only applicable to the business registration of certain kinds of businesses:
- Sole proprietorship
- Registration of branch
The second way is to apply in person with the Business Registration Office of the Inland Revenue Department.
Business Registration Office
4/F Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
You’ll need to prepare below basic documents to complete the registration:
|For local companies||For non-Hong Kong companies|
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Be advised that Hong Kong/non-Hong Kong company registration service with the Companies Registry is typically attached to business registration at the same time.
After submitting the application, it will take several working days to process. The Registry will send an email notification once your business registration number is issued.
For online checking, businesses can refer to the following steps:
- Have a valid email address and access to the internet
- Visit Business Registration Number Enquiry of GovHK site
- Input your business name in full English or Chinese
To conduct business in Hong Kong, enterprises must have a Business Registration Number. You can apply online to the IRD to obtain this number and check it via the e-tax service of the Hong Kong government. BRN is like a tax number identification for Hong Kong entities, meanwhile, the Company Registration Number acts like your Hong Kong company’s social security number.
There might be more things you’ll need to know before incorporating your Hong Kong company. Talk to us if you need our help!