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Old signed accounts

Can I shred?

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Hi,

Just going through an old filing cabinet and found signed accounts for all the group companies going back twenty years! Is there any need to keep all of them except the last seven years worth? Companies House has all of these to download these days.

Thanks in advance,

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By David Ex
06th Sep 2021 12:09

Fine by me.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
06th Sep 2021 12:17

I vote no.

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By thevaliant
06th Sep 2021 12:37

I would say you could shred them, but its likely they may have detail that Companies House copies won't.

Surely just scan and put on a harddrive somewhere?

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By AndyC555
06th Sep 2021 12:43

I find that you never need decades old papers until the week after you throw them out.

As suggested else where, scan them first.

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By MDK45
06th Sep 2021 12:52

Thanks everybody. I'll crosscheck them all with companies house and scan the ones that have additional info before shredding. But I agree that the moment I shred them then one of the old directors will have a new need to look back, always the way!

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Replying to MDK45:
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By Cloudcounter
06th Sep 2021 15:35

I can't help thinking that it would be quicker to scan the lot rather than spend time cross checking. Especially if you can delegate the actual scanning!

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
06th Sep 2021 13:10

Lot depends upon the sorts of assets the company holds, I have a room full of invoices, bank statements, cash books, printouts, working papers and accounts going back to 1981 when we incorporated (some records actually cover our partnership that started in 75/76, but that is because we carry investment properties from back then and actually earlier as we took over some companies in the 80s to acquire their properties and said companies go back to the 60s.

For us it all depends upon available space, catch for us is we are moving office (first time since early 90s) and I am going to have to cull the records as doubt we will have as much space in our new office (Still waiting to see which tenant gives up an office we own with parking that we can then move to)

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RLI
By lionofludesch
06th Sep 2021 13:15

I never binned anything whilst the client was still a client.

Apart from the files the mice got at.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
06th Sep 2021 14:02

Take the staples out first!

Although,
HMRC may well go back further than 7 years if there's ever any whiff of fraud or serious carelessness / negligence. I vote you photocopy the lot first.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By MDK45
06th Sep 2021 14:12

I'll definitely copy the accounts which has info over and above the companies house version.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
RLI
By lionofludesch
06th Sep 2021 14:17

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

Take the staples out first!

Although,
HMRC may well go back further than 7 years if there's ever any whiff of fraud or serious carelessness / negligence. I vote you photocopy the lot first.

[chuckle]

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Mr_awol
06th Sep 2021 15:51

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

I vote you photocopy the lot first.

Single Sided, preferably.

And then put them in a nice plastic binder to stop them getting all tattered

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By richard thomas
06th Sep 2021 15:49

I do not know what the relevant Companies Act provisions are (are there any?), but for CT the law on keeping and preserving records is in paragraph 21 Schedule 18 FA 1998. “Records” is the relevant word, not accounts, whether or not signed.

“Records” is defined in sub-paragraph (5):

The records required to be kept and preserved under this paragraph include records of—

(a) all receipts and expenses in the course of the company’s activities, and the matters in respect of which the receipts and expenses arise, and

(b) in the case of a trade involving dealing in goods, all sales and purchases made in the course of the trade.

Note that this says “include” not “means”, though nowhere does paragraph 21 tell you what else might be included. Sub-paragraph (6) though allows HMRC to prescribe by regulation what else must be kept and preserved by way of records. That sub-paragraph also allows HMRC to prescribe by regulation that “records” should include “supporting documents”.

Sub-paragraph (6) tells us what they are:

“Supporting documents” includes accounts, books, deeds, contracts, vouchers and receipts.

Since by this “accounts” are supporting documents, not records, they need not be kept, or rather preserved, unless there are such regulations as I have mentioned. There are none so far as I can see.

Further support for the view that “supporting documents” are not records and need not be preserved is in the original text of sub-paragraph (6) which said:

The duty to preserve records under this paragraph includes a duty to preserve all supporting documents relating to the items mentioned in sub-paragraph (5)(a) and (b) [see above]

But supposing they were “records”, the obligation for CT is to preserve them until the end of the “relevant day”.

That day falls on the 6th anniversary of the end of the period for which a company may be required to deliver a company return. (It’s not stated expressly but it must mean make a return for a period to which the records in question are relevant). That formulation, I assume, takes account of the fact that returns are required by reference to accounting periods, not periods of account; but in normal cases where there is twelve months trading it would be 6 years from the accounting date.

But that is qualified. If a notice to file a return is given before the end of the relevant day (ie the overwhelmingly normal case) records must be preserved until any enquiry is complete or HMRC has no power to enquire into the return, if either of those dates falls after the relevant day.

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By MDK45
09th Sep 2021 07:40

Just an update. So I started checking some of them yesterday and the only difference between the hard copies and the companies house version is the detailed P&L right at the back which wasn't filed. The hard copies I have aren't even the signed ones. How annoying is that? So I either scan one page and save down in sharepoint or just scan the entire thing which makes more sense.

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Replying to MDK45:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
09th Sep 2021 09:25

MDK45 wrote:

The hard copies I have aren't even the signed ones. How annoying is that?

As annoying as botty rash!

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Replying to MDK45:
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By Hugo Fair
09th Sep 2021 12:59

Smug comments from me aren't going to help you after the event, but I never understood why the number of pages 'requiring a signature' are so limited.
I was brought up to believe that if you were signing a document, you should sign (or at least initial) every page ... so not just Balance Sheets but everything (inc. P&L).

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