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Record Keeping for Canadians via CRA

We found this document specific to Canadian record keeping for tax time from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and have posted in part below. Please review the entire document at Canada Revenue Agency, which contains information such as:

-methods and requirements of keeping records,

-what to do if you want to destroy records early,

-requirements for electronic record keeping including e-commerce,

-what additional records do corporations have to keep,

-in addition to other specific information.

Main site for CRA:  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca

How long do you need to keep your records?

As a general rule, you must keep all of the records and supporting documents that are required to determine your tax obligations and entitlements for a period of six years from the end of the last tax year to which they relate.

The six-year retention period under the ITA begins at the end of the tax year to which the records relate. The tax year is the fiscal period for corporations and the calendar year for all other taxpayers. The rules are similar for GST/HST under the ETA, as well as for the EIA, the CPP, the EA 2001, and the ATSCA.

Records and supporting documents concerning long-term acquisitions and disposal of property, the share registry, and other historical information that would have an impact upon sale or liquidation or wind-up of the business must be kept indefinitely.

Note: The CRA may specifically require you to keep records for an additional period of time. If this is the case, you will receive details by registered letter or by a demand served personally by CRA officials.

The following are special situations:
■ If you file an income tax return late, keep your records for six years from the date you file the return.
■ Keep all your records necessary for dealing with a notice of objection or appeal until the notice of objection or appeal is disposed of and the time for filing any further appeal has expired, or until the six-year period mentioned above has expired, whichever is later.
■ When a non-incorporated business or other organization ends, the records have to be kept for six years from the end of the tax year in which it ceased to exist.
■ When a corporation is dissolved, the following records have to be kept for two years after the date of dissolution:
– all records and supporting documents to verify the tax obligations and entitlements; and
– all the additional records that corporations have to keep, as listed above.
■ When a corporation amalgamates or merges, business records must be retained as if the new corporation is a continuation of each of the original corporations.
■ The legal representative of a deceased taxpayer or trust can destroy the records after receiving a clearance certificate(s) to distribute any property under his/her control.

Note: To request a clearance certificate, complete Form TX19, Asking for a Clearance Certificate, and send it to your tax services office.

Why should you keep complete and organized records? You are required by law

You are required to keep complete and organized records as stated in the:
■ Income Tax Act (ITA);
■ Excise Tax Act (ETA);
■ Excise Act, 2001 (EA 2001);
■ Canada Pension Plan (CPP);
■ Employment Insurance Act (EIA);
■ Air Travellers Security Charge Act (ATSCA); and
■ Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 (SLPECA).

For further information go to www.cra.gc.ca/bt/fq-eng.html and view CRA videocasts at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/vdcsts/menu-eng.html

There are benefits for you

Complete and organized records will:
■ help you identify the sources of your income;
■ remind you of expenses you can deduct and tax credits you can claim;
■ make it easier for you to determine your taxes owing;
■ provide you with information on the past and present financial positions of your business or other organization;
■ help you make good business decisions;
■ assist you in getting loans from banks and other lenders;
■ help to prevent problems if we audit your returns; and
■ possibly help you in selling your business or bringing in new partners.

Consequences of not keeping adequate records
We may disallow expenses that you are unable to support.

Also, there are penalties if you:
■ do not keep adequate records;
■ do not provide CRA officials with access to your records, when requested; or
■ do not give information to CRA officials, when asked.

See Information Circular IC78-10, Books and Records Retention/Destruction, and GST/HST Memorandum 15.1, General Requirements for Books and Records, for more information on possible penalties and legal action.

Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management can help you get your records in order and then be able to find them when you need them! You can use the Action Date function to remind you when you need to take action on records, including when you need to move them out of the current year’s hanging file folders to an archived location, and then when you can purge them out of your files altogether. You can also note in Paper Tiger’s database how long you need to keep each file even if it is indefinite.

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