All About Estates

Record retention – what form and how long?

As an executor you may be tasked with organizing the deceased’s records and may wonder in what form and how long should those records be kept. The Canada Revenue Agency recently weighed in on the issue in a technical interpretation.

In their view, every person carrying on business and every person who is required to pay Canadian taxes shall keep records and books of account at the person’s place of business or residence in Canada in such form and containing such information as will enable the taxes payable to be determined. Where a person keeps records electronically, the records must be kept in an electronically readable format for 6 years from the end of the last taxation year to which the records relate. There is no requirement to keep books and records in paper format. Taxpayers may choose to maintain their books and records electronically, in paper format, or in a combination of the two formats.

It remains a taxpayer’s responsibility to select suitable electronic imaging requirements. All taxpayers, including those who maintain their records in electronic format, have an obligation to ensure that they take appropriate and sufficient steps to protect and maintain their records. Where records are maintained electronically, these steps should include keeping appropriate backup copies.

Record retention does not have to be a burden – thanks for reading.

About Derek de Gannes
Derek A. de Gannes: Senior Director, Private Client Services of RSM Canada. RSM Canada is committed to the highest level of integrity, quality and professionalism and provides clients with solutions in the area of Audit, Tax and Transaction Services. Email: