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Can I scan and keep electronic copies of my business receipts?

My receipts fade and become unreadable after 6 months! Can I scan and keep electronic copies instead?


Yep! You can keep digital copies if you prefer. You just have to follow these rules (you knew there’d be rules, right?):

Check out Chapter 2: Keeping Electronic Records and specifically:


Requirements for an acceptable imaging program

You must keep the original version of records. You may, however, produce an electronic image of a paper document, which then can be accepted as the original record provided you follow certain procedures. Imaging and microfilm (including microfiche) reproductions of books of original entry and source documents have to be produced, controlled, and maintained according to the latest national standard of Canada. For more information, see Information Circular IC78-10R5, Books and Records Retention/Destruction, and GST/HST Memorandum 15.1, General Requirements for Books and Records. Also, refer to the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) publication, CAN/CGSB 72.11, Microfilm and Electronic Images as Documentary Evidence, and its latest amendment.

Businesses using commercial software for smaller scale electronic scanning of their paper records and supporting documents should ensure that their scanned records meet the rules and guidelines set out in the latest national standard of Canada.

You can destroy paper books of account and supporting documents if they have been imaged in accordance with the above CGSB publication. These images become the permanent records. If you have any doubt, obtain legal advice first.

If businesses cannot meet the Canadian General Standards, they must keep their original records.

The standards are available to view at selected libraries in Canada. The standards are also available for purchase from the CGSB:

By mail:

Sales Centre
Canadian General Standards Board
Gatineau QC K1A 1G6

In person:

Place du Portage
11 Laurier Street
Phase 3, 6B1
Gatineau QC

By Internet: e-Store

By telephone, fax, or email:

National Capital Region: 819-956-0425 Rest of Canada: 1-800-665-2472 Fax: 819-956-5740



May 19, 2013 - Posted by | Random Questions, Running Your Business

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