First, we need to define what a Record is for a business. We can identify a Record as a document containing accounting or financial information that must be kept in an organized way. Usually they are called “books and records”. Records can include: ledgers, journals, vouchers, financial statements and accounts, and income tax and excise tax records. They help you determine your tax duties. Records are generally validated by Supporting Documents, which provide evidence of the transactions.
As per CRA website, Supporting Documents include (not limited to):
- sales invoices;
- purchase receipts, contracts;
- bank deposit slips, cancelled cheques;
- cash register slips, credit card receipts;
- purchase orders;
- work orders;
- delivery slips; emails; and
- general correspondence in support of the transaction.
You as an entrepreneur are solely responsible for the record keeping and maintenance of all documents, even when you hire a third party to do your filing, admin, bookkeeping and/or accounting work. Keep in mind that you are also responsible to provide those records to CRA at any moment. That is why is important to keep an efficient system where you can find any document at any given moment.
How long do you have to keep your records? Usually, for income tax purposes you need to keep all records and supporting documents for a period of six years from the end of the last tax year to which they relate. It’s important to indicate that the documents that support long-term acquisitions and disposal of capital, share registers, and other documents that will have impact upon sale or liquidation of property must be kept indefinitely. Similar rules apply to GST/HST documents, CPP, EI, ROE.
There are also special situations, some of them are: of you file your taxes late, you need to keep your documents six year from the date you file the return. You must also keep all documents concerning notice of objection and appeals.
All the business records and supporting documents must be maintain in Canada, or made available in Canada at CRA request, always in any of the 2 official languages. The documents can be kept outside of Canada only with a previous authorization from CRA.
Keeping proper records is both an obligation and a useful tool for all business owners. When you maintain archives that support every claim you made you make your business transparent and avoid unnecessary penalties due to loss of supporting documents. Records also helps you identify all sources of income and make better business decisions.
If you still need help or have any question just let us know, we are here to help you and support your business.
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