Format et copies

BR7. Can books and records be kept in electronic format?

BR7. Can books and records be kept in electronic format?


Short answer

Yes, but remember

  • Electronic records are subject to the same rules and retention periods as hard copy or paper books and records
  • Books and records that are created and maintained in electronic format must be kept in an electronically readable format, even if the charity has paper printouts of the electronic records. An electronically readable format means information supported by a system capable of producing an accessible and useable copy that would allow auditors to process and analyze the electronic records on the CRA’s equipment.
  • If any source documents are initially created, transmitted, or received electronically, they must be kept in an electronically readable format.
  • Scanned images of paper documents, records, or books of account that are maintained in electronic format are acceptable if proper imaging practices are followed and documented.
More…

Books and records maintained outside Canada but accessible electronically in Canada do not meet the requirement of being kept in Canada. See paragraph 9 of the Electronic Record Keeping Information Circular for additional information.

BR8. I’m a church treasurer and the offering counters are asking if they need to save the offering envelopes. Are church offering envelopes considered a record?

BR8. I’m a church treasurer and the offering counters are asking if they need to save the offering envelopes. Are church offering envelopes considered a record?


Short answer

Yes. When the offering envelopes help verify donations, they are considered a record and must be kept for six years following the end of the fiscal period for which they were issued.

Long answer

On the other hand, if the individual donations are recorded from the envelopes directly into a ledger of some type, you do not need to keep the envelopes.

BR9. Does a charity need to keep more than one copy of its books and records?

BR9. Does a charity need to keep more than one copy of its books and records?


Short answer

No, but it may be smart to do so. In the event of a fire or other disaster that destroys the charity’s books and records, a second set would be very useful. The Canada Revenue Agency may be able to help a charity re-establish itself after such a disaster by giving them copies of documents they hold on file. This can only partly replace what may have been lost.

Long answer

It may, therefore, be prudent to keep duplicates of key documents at a separate location. Storing data electronically can also increase the chances of retrieving information, as long as a regular back-up system is in place and the back-ups are kept in a safe place (see FAQ BR7 and FAQ BR14 - Books and Records Location and Retention)