Books and records

Individual taxpayers should keep their tax records for at least four years—approximately the period during which the CRA can reassess a return—and preferably longer.

If you operate a business, you must keep your business records for a minimum of six years from the end of the last tax year to which they relate. For non-incorporated businesses, permanent books and records must be kept for six years after the last day of the taxation year in which the business ceased. For corporations, permanent records must be kept for two years after dissolution. Permanent books and records include the general ledger and special contracts and agreements, as well as all incorporation documentation. If a return is filed late, the books and records must be kept for six years from the day the return is filed.

Note that the minimum retention period is generally determined by the last tax year for which a record may be required for purposes of the Income Tax Act, not the year in which the transaction occurred and the record was created. For example, records supporting the acquisition and capital cost of investments and other capital property should be maintained until the day that is six years from the end of the last tax year in which such an acquisition could enter into any calculation for income tax purposes.

Books and records can only be destroyed at an earlier time if you obtain written permission from the CRA.