BR4. The Income Tax Act has a long list of books and records (see FAQ BR3) for a charity to keep. Does our organization have to keep all of the records noted in section 248(1)?

BR4. The Income Tax Act has a long list of books and records (see FAQ BR3) for a charity to keep. Does our organization have to keep all of the records noted in section 248(1)?


Short answer

No, Section 230 of the Act says that a charity must keep three kinds of books and records. These include information to enable determination of whether there are grounds for revocation of its status under the Act (i.e., its compliance with the Act); duplicates of donation receipts; and such other information to allow verification of donations for which a deduction or tax credit is available. Within these three categoiries, it is up to you to decide which books and records to keep. As a general rule, it is better to keep more records than fewer.

Long answer

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. See FAQ BR3 for a list of books and records typically kept by a charity.

More…

See the Records to be kept section of the Canada Revenue Agency’s Information Circular.