Keeping good records helps the church operate more efficiently. An initial process is to review all records, decide how long to keep each type of record, decide the appropriate storage medium, ensure storage area is clean and dry, label records and create an index.
As a general rule, all records should be kept for seven (7) years after the fiscal yearend. Duplicates of charitable tax receipts may be destroyed two (2) years after the fiscal yearend.
If it is necessary to destroy records before 7 years have passed, complete form T137 from CRA available at:
Consideration must be given to the confidential nature of certain records such has payroll/human resource records, donation envelopes and tax receipts and appropriate measures taken to restrict access to such records.
It is important that all necessary records and files be properly maintained using a safe storage system. Records need to be properly labeled for easy retrieval for purposes of internal review and audit and in the case of any external audit by CRA, etc. A summary of records and the required retention length is in the resource section below.