BR2.What are our charity’s general responsibilities regarding our financial and other books and records?

BR2. What are our charity’s general responsibilities regarding our financial and other books and records?


Short answer

A charity must keep adequate books and records

  • in either English or French
  • at a Canadian address it has on file with CRA

so that CRA can verify official donation receipts issued, as well as income and expenditures.

A charity must also keep information that proves that its activities continue to be charitable. This additional information will vary from charity to charity but could include, for example, copies of minutes of meetings, correspondence, publicity brochures, or advertisements.

Long answer

The charity should retain its books and records as follows

  • duplicates of receipts must be retained for a minimum of two years from the end of the calendar year in which the donations were made
  • books and records, together with the accounts and vouchers, containing the summaries of the year-to-year transactions of the charity, must be held for a minimum of six years from the end of the fiscal period to which they relate. When a charity loses or revokes its registration, the books and records must be retained for a minimum of two years after the date the registration is revoked
  • as long as the charity remains registered and for two years after the registration is revoked:
    • all records of any donations received by a charity that are subject to a direction by the donor that the property given be held by the charity for a period of not less than 10 years
    • minutes of meetings of the executive
    • minutes of meetings of the members
      and
    • all governing documents and by-laws

Books and records may be destroyed at an earlier time than outlined above if the Minister of National Revenue gives written permission for their disposal.

Refer to our Books and Records Length of Retention Chart

More…

See the fact sheet
Application of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to Charitable and Non-Profit Organizations.