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Disposing of client documents after disengagement?

Disposing of client documents after disengagement

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A client left our firm without taking his company's documents (sales invoices, purchase invoices etc). 

What are the rules surrounding these documents? The client is legally responsible for holding accounting records for 6 years but are we? We do not want to put them into storage for eternity. 

These are not working papers. These are purely the company's documents. 

I want to give the client a deadline to retreive the documents, which if not met means we will dispose of them. Does this breach any laws? In my opinion, it doesn't but I haven't been able to find any conclusive information related to such a scenario.

Any references to legislation sitings would be very much appreciated

Replies (7)

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By Moonbeam
22nd Nov 2019 15:40

This comes from the LOE T &C standard wording produced by ATT: "We reserve the right following termination for any reason to destroy any of your documents that we have not been able to return to you after a period of six months unless other laws or regulations require otherwise" I realise that doesn't properly answer your question. Maybe you could have a gander at T & C produced by offsite storage companies to see how they handle this.

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By SXGuy
22nd Nov 2019 15:43

Perfectly fine for you to set a deadline and say docs will be destroyed if deadline not met. If they chose to ignore it. Be it on their head. Its their requirement to keep the docs not yours as you've disengaged.

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By PennyPincher
22nd Nov 2019 16:04

forward on to the new accountants? or send recorded delivery to their registered office?

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Replying to PennyPincher:
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By bernard michael
23rd Nov 2019 10:27

PennyPincher wrote:

forward on to the new accountants? or send recorded delivery to their registered office?


OR
The directors home address if you have it
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Replying to bernard michael:
By djn24
03rd Dec 2019 10:58

bernard michael wrote:

PennyPincher wrote:

forward on to the new accountants? or send recorded delivery to their registered office?

OR

The directors home address if you have it


I would do this too. Saves the hassle of you having to send reminders and having the stress of it all.
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By [email protected]
03rd Dec 2019 11:39

Charge them for storage?

Pick a suitable rate, write a letter giving, say, 30 days to collect, after which storage charges will be incurred

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By hakfort
04th Dec 2019 07:54

I recommend a disengagement letter for any client who leaves. The letter will set out the timescales for destroying documents that haven't been collected in line with Moonbeam's suggestion above for letters of engagement.

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