BR5. Our charity does all its work in a language other than French or English. Do we still need to keep our records in English or French?
Yes. Records must be in English or French.
Say your charity addresses concerns of a Spanish-speaking community. You may have kept your books and records in Spanish. In this case, you should talk to CRA about your circumstances. If you do not talk to them, you will still be required to have your books and records in English or French.
The CRA does recognize that for some very small charities translating from the original may become a significant burden. So the CRA is willing to consider such situations on a case-by-case basis.
Charities should be aware that under subsection 286(1) of the Excise Tax Act, persons, including charities, who carry on a business or are engaged in a commercial activity in Canada, who are required to file a GST/HST return, or persons who make an application for a rebate or refund, must keep adequate books and records in English or French in Canada.