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GDPR and data retention

How long do you keep records for

We are trying to prepare for GDPR. Traditionally we have kept working paper files/tax returns etc for as long as the client is with us and then a period thereafter.

I was wondering what other practices do with regard to this data retention and how that will comply with GDPR/AML regulations.

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14th Nov 2017 13:51

If I remember right, it's 5 years but you can keep it longer if you can demonstrate a need. A continuing client makes sense to me but - hey - we're dealing with the Government here.

I have to say that I've done the same as you, apart from a few files the mice ate but I'm obviously going to need to review this. The up side is I'll need less storage space.

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By djn24
16th Nov 2017 10:04

I'm waiting until Feb/March time until more info is given before I start worrying about this.

By the sounds of things it could be a nightmare but I don't see the point in wasting time until ACCA etc give me some guidance.

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16th Nov 2017 11:13

Now in the paperless era I wonder how this is going to change in the future. I went paperless about 10 years ago and I have, for some clients, 20 years worth of files and information about them. Data storage is cheap, so why get rid of files if there is no need?

That is the question that I put to a recent CIOT seminar and was told to wait for the CIOT guidance - so I don't think they really have grasped this one fully.

I can see that GDPR is going to be an interesting topic going forward as, even if I delete files from my server, I may still have them backed up, so do I need to delete the back up and if I do, how far back do I need to go? My incemental back-ups go back 5 years at least on this server alone.

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By djn24
to ccaspell
16th Nov 2017 11:36

That's a good point and we are in same position too with lots of data saved on the server and on paperless system.
That's why I will wait until the institutes issue guidance.

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to djn24
16th Nov 2017 12:45

It's the paperless against whom this legislation is aimed.

Data floating around the cloud, not obvious what's on a hard drive until you examine it with a computer ....

It won't be long before we're all back with paper files.

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By djn24
to lionofludesch
16th Nov 2017 13:35

Back to the old days :-)

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to djn24
16th Nov 2017 13:43

Sure. Daft as it sounds, it'll be easier to manage.

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16th Nov 2017 18:12

And what happens when an ex client has a HMRC inquiry going back a number of years and you have to explain that you no longer have the working papers to explain where you got your figures from?

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to PatriciaRr
16th Nov 2017 18:21

That's why I think you'll be grand keeping them for existing clients.

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17th Nov 2017 14:56

As long as the client is with you is it not permanent file and so should be kept!

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to North East Accountant
17th Nov 2017 15:04

I wouldn't call an accounts working papers a "permanent file".

I would, however, treat a record of the purchase of an asset potentially liable to CGT as something to go on the permanent file.

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to lionofludesch
18th Nov 2017 15:20

I was being somewhat tongue in cheek, albeit not very well!

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20th Nov 2017 10:58

I'm trying to get my head around GDPR too. It’s going to be a bit of mind field. I attended a webinar last week which was a great help. It gave me a good overview of what I need to do.
Here’s the recording - https://youtu.be/K-RvO0Vr1zU

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