Do I really have to keep all these receipts for 7 years?

“I am trying to cut down on stored paper (and ideally to have none) but would like to have all my business receipts on file for next tax season. I’m wondering – is it acceptable to store the receipts in digital format? For example could I just take a photo of each receipt? And what about the tax return papers that are supposed to be stored for 7 years? Are digital photos good enough in the case of an audit or must I keep all this paper clutter?” – Jesse, Musician

Unfortunately, no, digital files are not currently accepted by the Canada Revenue Agency in the case of audit. The chap I spoke to at CRA insisted that you must keep all your receipts. When you are self employed, it can turn into a pile of paperwork, but a small accordion file for each year is often a good solution. There are bookkeeping apps that photograph your receipts, which you may find helpful when out and about, but you will want to keep the paper originals as a back-up.

And regarding what to save for tax returns: basically your Notice of Assessment, your return and any supporting documents for this year and the preceeding 6 years.

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