BR3. The Income Tax Act includes a long list of items in its definition of “books and records”. What types of books and records does our charity have to keep?

BR3. The Income Tax Act includes a long list of items in its definition of “books and records”. What types of books and records does our charity have to keep?


Short answer

The usual books and records held and maintained by registered charities include

  • governing documents
  • constitution and by-laws
  • annual reports
  • board and staff meetings minutes
  • ledgers
  • bank statements
  • expense accounts
  • purchase vouchers
  • inventories
  • contracts
  • investment agreements
  • official donation receipts
  • accountant’s working papers
  • payroll records
  • promotional materials
  • fundraising materials
  • financial statements
Long answer

You’re right: it is a long list. Subsection 248(1) of the Income Tax Act defines a record as including an account, an agreement, a book, a chart or table, a diagram, a form, an image, an invoice, a letter, a map, a memorandum, a plan, a return, a statement, a telegram, a voucher, and any other thing containing information, whether in writing or in any other form. Notice that a book is defined as a record.

More…

See FAQ BR1 on the basics of a charity’s books and records.