Keeping records

Records are your accounting and other financial information documents kept in an organized way.

By law, you have to keep records when any of these apply:

  • you are carrying on a business in Canada
  • you are engaged in a commercial activity in Canada
  • you are responsible for collecting tax or other amounts
  • you have to file an income tax return
  • you have to file a Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) return
  • you have made an application for a GST/HST rebate or refund

The information that your records must contain depends on your situation and on factors such as:

  • your business type
  • the format you keep your records in (paper, electronic or a combination of the two)
  • if you have converted any paper records or supporting documents into an electronic version
  • if you are involved in e-commerce (for information about e-commerce, go to Conducting business on the Internet);
  • if you are a GST/HST registrant
  • if you are an employer

Your records have to give enough details to determine your entitlements and tax obligations. They also have to be supported by documents.

Your records could be kept in English, French, or a combination of these two languages.


The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has detailed information for situations where your records, including those of your business, have been affected by a disaster. For more information, including what qualifies as a disaster, go to Disasters and disaster relief.


Guide RC4409, Keeping Records, is no longer being made available by the CRA.

If you need help after reading the below keeping records, call 1-800-959-5525


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