Where to keep your records, for how long and how to request the permission to destroy them early

On this page, you will find information on the following:

Where to keep your records

You must keep records at your place of business or your residence in Canada, unless the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) gives you written permission to keep them elsewhere.


Records kept outside of Canada and accessed electronically from Canada are not considered to be records kept in Canada.

The CRA will not give permission to keep records outside of Canada to:

For permission to keep records elsewhere, write to your tax services office. After reviewing your situation, the CRA will provide to you written permission. The CRA's written permission will specify any terms and conditions.

If the CRA gives you permission to keep your records outside of Canada, you must make them available upon request in Canada for review by the CRA.

The CRA may give permission for you to keep your electronic records outside of Canada. If so, the CRA may accept copies if:

If you keep your records on servers located outside Canada, you must access the servers or arrange for your staff to access the servers and provide the electronic system records required by CRA officials.

For more information on electronic record keeping, see Information Circular IC05-1, Electronic Record Keeping, and GST/HST Memorandum 15.2, Computerized Records.

How long to keep your records

Generally, you must keep all required records and supporting documents for a period of six years from the end of the last tax year they relate to.

The tax year:

The rules for the record retention period are similar under the following legislations:

In some situations, you must retain your records for a different period of time. Below is a list of these situations, as well as the retention periods that apply to each of them:


To ask for a clearance certificate, fill out Form TX19, Asking for a Clearance Certificate, and send it to your tax services office.

To ask for a clearance certificate for GST/HST registrants, fill out Form GST352, Application for Clearance Certificate (under section 270 of the Excise Tax Act), and send it to your tax services office.

How to request the permission to destroy your records before the end of their retention period

If you want to destroy your books of account and records earlier than the retention period specified in How long to keep your records, you first must get written permission from the CRA.

To get this permission, you or your authorized representatives can do either of the following:

If you destroy paper or electronic records without the CRA's permission, you may be prosecuted.

The CRA's permission only applies to records you have to keep under legislation it administers. The CRA is not authorized to approve the destruction of records you have to keep under other federal, provincial, territorial or municipal laws.


If your records were destroyed by a disaster, go to Disasters and disaster relief.

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