Business records

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You are required by law to keep records of all your transactions to be able to support your income and expense claims. A record is defined to include an account, an agreement, a book, a chart or table, a diagram, a form, an image, an invoice, a letter, a map, a memorandum, a plan, a return, a statement, a telegram, a voucher, and any other proof containing information, whether in writing or in any other form.

Keep a record of your daily income and expenses. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does not issue record books nor suggest any type of book or set of books. There are many record books and bookkeeping systems available. You can use a book that has columns and separate pages for income and expenses.

Keep your duplicate deposit slips, bank statements and cancelled cheques. Keep separate records for each business you run. If you want to keep computerized records, make sure they are clear and easy to read.


Do not send your records with your income tax return. However, do keep them in case the CRA asks to see them at a later date.

Income records

Keep track of the gross income your business earns. Gross income is your total income before you deduct any expenses, including those related to the goods sold. Your income records must include the date, amount, and source of the income.

Record the income whether you received cash, property, or services. Support all income entries with original documents.

Original documents include:

Note for farmers

Original documents for farming also include cash purchase tickets from the sale of grain, and cheque stubs from marketing boards.

Note for fishers

Original documents for fishing include sales slips for each landing, trip settlement sheets, and slips or records of sale to the public, retailers, and restaurants.

For an example of how to record your income, go to Example – Sales Journal – Month of July.

Expense records

Always get receipts or other vouchers when you buy something for your business.

The receipts have to show the following:

Make sure the seller or supplier describes the goods or services on the receipt. However, sometimes that is not possible, as with a cash register tape. In such a case, you should write a description of the goods or services on the receipt or other voucher, or in your expense journal.

It is also possible that a seller or supplier may not provide you with a receipt. In such a case, write the name and address of the seller or supplier, the amount paid for the goods or services, the date you made the payment and the details of the transaction in your expense journal.

Keep a record of the properties you bought and sold. This record should show who sold you the property, the cost, and the date you bought it. This information will help you calculate your capital cost allowance and other amounts.

If you sell or trade a property, show the date you sold or traded it and the amount of the payment or credit from the sale or trade-in.

For an example of how to record your expenses, go to Example – Expense Journal – Month of July.

Property records

If you sell or trade a property, show the date you sold or traded it and the amount of the payment or credit from the sale or trade-in.

Forms and publications

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