All charities must keep their books and records in either English or French. A charity is responsible for maintaining, retaining, and safeguarding these records. Books and records can be kept on paper, by storing paper copies on microfilm or similar format, or by creating and storing them in a computerized system.
These books and records must be available to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) if it wants to examine them. Books and records must also be detailed enough to allow:
- calculation of GST/HST/QST payable and receivable;
- verification of revenues, including all donations received;
- verification of all issued charitable tax (donation) receipts;
- verification that the charity’s resources are spent on charitable programs; and
- verification that the charity’s purposes and activities continue to be charitable and, generally, that the charity continues to qualify for registration.
Failing to maintain adequate books and records can result in fines, penalties or revocation of your charitable status.
- address on file with CRA
- back-up copies
- activities outside Canada
- requirements for each type of record
- CRA demand to retain for a longer period
- retaining during assessments, audits or investigations
- CRA access to electronic copies
- scanning of documents
- details of audit trails
- responsibility when using a service provider
- selecting a service provider
- protecting personal information