Hong Kong Business Registration Number vs. Company Registration Number

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It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when first forming a business regardless of the location. There are a few steps to follow and paperwork to process to set up a Hong Kong business.

Overall, establishing a company in Hong Kong is a pretty hassle-free experience. Comparatively speaking, Hong Kong has liberal policies when forming a company, with minimal bureaucratic restrictions.

Take, for instance, the setup of a Hong Kong local limited liability company. First, you will need to register your company with the Companies Registry to attain the status as a limited liability company.

As of October 2021, there were 1,374,749 total companies incorporated in HK. Then you’ll need to register your business with the Business Registration Office so you can conduct business in Hong Kong. 

Sounds simple, right? The process is pretty simple, but now you have all of this paperwork that you will need to sort through and make sense of. Two things you will notice in this paperwork are two significant numbers.

Both of these numbers are essential to business owners. The two numbers include the Hong Kong business registration number and the number for the company registration.

These numbers will become more apparent when doing such things as renting an office and opening a bank account.

Business owners need to know the difference between them because it is easy to mix them up. However, each number serves a different purpose from the other.

This article will determine what these numbers represent and outline the differences between the two.

Table of Contents

Registering a Hong Kong Business

Before starting a business in Hong Kong, it needs to be registered with the government. This registration process occurs at the Hong Kong business registration office.

When a person incorporates a local limited company, you have essentially also applied for the number business registration as well. Both of these will be issued together by the Companies Registry.

After the Certificate of Incorporation is issued, local limited companies must contact the registration office within one month of the business’s startup and provide the name of the business, description of business, type of business, the start date of business, and the address of the company.

All businesses in Hong Kong need a business registration number.

What is a Business Registration Number (BRN)?

When setting up a Hong Kong business, you need to apply for a BRN. The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) issues this unique number. Companies are registered with the Business Registration Office at the IRD.

This includes companies carried out by anyone such as a limited liability company, an individual, a non-Hong Kong company, or a partnership. Regardless of the type of entity, the number for the business registration is required in order to operate and run the business.

Where to Find the Business Registration Number

The business number follows an eight-digit number and appears in the middle of the Business Registration Certificate.

You can always look the number up at GovHK Business Registration Number Enquiry. A registration number for businesses is a unique number or code assigned to companies that are newly incorporated.

A business registration number is your tax identification number in Hong Kong.

Why Do You Need a BRN or Business Registration Number?

A BRN is a crucial number issued by the Inland Revenue Department and Recognized by Hong Kong’s government.

This number is your business’s tax identification number (TIN). This number is essential for legal company operations, filing tax returns, and paying taxes.

A company registration number is like a company's social security number in Hong Kong.

What is the Hong Kong Company Registration Number?

The registration number of the company is another number used to identify a company. Individuals have social security numbers, and businesses have company registration numbers.

The company registration number can be found in the upper left-hand corner on the Certificate of Incorporation. The company registration number is essentially proof that the business has been registered with the Companies Registry.

Can You Change the Company Registration Number Format?

The Companies Registry automatically assigns this particular number and can not be changed. Even if you change your company name, business activity, offer structure, or business structure, or business address, the company registration number format remains the same. This number distinguishes the business from any other business.

Company registration numbers are also required in Hong Kong.

When is a H Kong Business Registration Number Needed?

There are many instances when a company registration number will be required. Some of these include the following:

  • When an organization is being terminated.
  • When share certificates are issued
  • Filing the annual return NAR1
  • Eliminating or designating a company director
  • Issuing dividend vouchers
  • Changing residential address details of the director of the company
  • Allocating shares/share capital

Hong Kong Businessman with laptop

Summary of Differences

The main difference between a BRN and a CRN is their primary functions. A registration number for a business is a tax id number, while a registration number for a company is comparable to a company’s social security number.

The registration number for a business identifies a business when fulfilling tax obligations. The company number for registration identifies a company in legal documents when interacting with the government or business partners.

A BRN is the first 11 digits of the business registration certificate number. A company registration number is a 7 digit number. This number appears in the upper left corner of the Certificate of Incorporation.

The registration number business will be used to file the annual tax return or audit, and the registration number for the company will be used for identification purposes only in government records.

The one similarity of these numbers is that both the BR number and CR number can be looked up online if you have forgotten or don’t have access to either of these numbers.

FAQ

Who issues the Hong Kong business registration numbers?

The Inland Revenue Department issues the business number for registration.

What is a Hong Kong business registration certificate?

A business registration certificate is a proof to the state that a business is a separate legal entity.

What is the Hong Kong Companies Registry?

Every business must be registered with the Companies Registry. The Companies Registry is a governmental department.

Are Company Registration and Business Registration regulated by the same laws and government departments?

Different laws and different government departments regulate the different registration processes.

Is the CRN the same as the registration number for the business?

A CR number is a unique number combination that verifies that it is a play Hong Kong entity and that has been registered. It is essentially a tax number.

Where can I find the BRN?

The Hong Kong registration number for the business can be found on the Business Registration Certificate.

How many digits are in a company registration number?

In register there are eight numerals in a CRN.

What is the Business Registration Ordinance?

Every person operating a Hong Kong business must register their business with the BRO of the IRD or Inland Revenue Department within one month of starting a business.

Can the business number and the company registration number be looked up online?

Yes, both numbers can be found via an online search.

How many Hong Kong incorporated companies are there?

As of October 2021, there were 1,374,749 companies incorporated in the area.

Are Hong Kong company registration numbers and BRNs required?

Yes, both of these numbers are required.

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