A business registration number (BRN) is a distinct 8-digit number used to identify businesses in Hong Kong for official and regulatory reasons. Acquiring a BRN is simple; you can apply online or in person. The Inland Revenue Department is responsible for issuing a BRN, and businesses are required to have it before they conduct any business in Hong Kong.
Are you planning to start a business in Hong Kong? If you are, you must know that Hong Kong businesses must register and obtain a Business Registration Number (BRN) issued by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD).
Do not confuse it with the Company Registration Number (CRN) as it differs from the BRN. The BRN is used to track businesses and collect taxes.
This guide will walk you through the definition, importance, and how to obtain your BRN in Hong Kong.
What Is a Business Registration Number, And Why Do You Need One in Hong Kong?
The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) assigns a distinct 8-digit number known as the Business Registration Number (BRN) to enterprises operating in Hong Kong. This BRN serves to identify businesses within the region for official and regulatory reasons. Ensuring the inclusion of this number on Business Registration forms and tax returns is obligatory for all Hong Kong businesses.
Acquiring a business registration number in Hong Kong is simple via the Hong Kong government portal. Entrepreneurs also have the option to verify the status of their BRN online to confirm its accurate issuance.
Which Businesses Require a Business Registration Number (BRN)?
"Businesses" encompass all forms of trade, commerce, craftsmanship, professions, callings, or any other endeavors pursued for profit, and this category extends to include clubs as well. Furthermore, entities established or registered under the Hong Kong Companies Ordinance are recognized as entities engaging in business activities. They are consequently mandated to undergo registration according to the provisions of the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310).
These "Businesses" are required to obtain a Business Registration Number (BRN).
What's the Difference Between a CRN and a BRN?
What is a Company Registration Number (CRN)?
The Companies Registry assigns a seven-digit identifier known as the CRN, functioning as a type of social security number for your company. This CRN is significant in identifying your business within Hong Kong and is typically displayed in the upper left corner of your Certificate of Incorporation.
We highlight the differences between the two in the table below:
|Business Registration Number (BRN)||Company Registration Number (CRN)|
|8-digit number issued by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD)||7-digit number issued by the Company Registry|
|Acts as the tax identification number of a business||Acts as the social security number of a company that is used as a form of identification|
|Found on the bottom of the Business Registration Certificate||Located on the top-left corner of the Certificate of Incorporation|
|Required for all businesses except for representative office or employment that is not conducting business.||Only for companies incorporated in Hong Kong, such as LLC or a foreign company.
Businesses that are sole proprietorships or general partnerships do not need a CRN.
|Does expire and requires renewal. Depending on which you choose to register - either 1 year or 3 years.||Expires and will need to be renewed|
How to Obtain a Business Registration Number (BRN) in Hong Kong?
The Companies Registry and the Inland Revenue Department of Hong Kong have worked together to provide a service to allow business registration to be accompanied by a Business Registration Number by submitting just one application. This can be done through two methods: applying online or through an in-person application process.
For online submissions, businesses are required to pay fees and submit their applications electronically via the e-Registry Portal.
For in-person applications, businesses are required to pay fees and submit their applications in person to the Business Registration Office of the Inland Revenue Department. You can find the address here:
📍 Business Registration Office, 4/F Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Take note that the process of business registration should be carried out simultaneously when registering either a Hong Kong or a non-Hong Kong company with the Companies Registry.
Upon submission of the application, it will undergo evaluation, a procedure that will take several working days. Subsequently, the Registry will send an email notification upon issuance of your business registration number.
Required Documents to Obtain Business Registration Number (BRN)
Required Documents for Local Companies:
- Incorporation Form (NNC1 or NNC1G)
- Notice to Business Registration Office (IRBR1)
- Articles of Association (if applicable)
- Mandatory fee payment
Required Documents for non-Hong Kong Companies:
- Application Form (Form NN1) and additional documents (if any)
- Notice to Business Registration Office (IRBR2)
- Mandatory fee payment
How to Check For My Business Registration Number (BRN)?
You can visit the eTax portal to enquire about the Business Registration Number of a business.
In order to conduct business in Hong Kong, it is essential for businesses to possess a Business Registration Number (BRN). A business will be able to attain the Business Registration Number (BRN) via an online application or an in-person application. Do not mix up between a BRN and a Company Registration Number (CRN). A BRN is used as a Tax Identification Number for entities in Hong Kong, whereas a CRN mainly acts as a social security number for your business.
What is a Business Registration Number?
What is a Company Registration Number?
Do I need a Business Registration Number?
Do I need a Company Registration Number?
How to obtain a Business Registration Number?