Document retention: Get the details right

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Many accountants find that after the stress of 31 January they need a few weeks doing something different, not least because work is a little slow in the months of February through to April in comparison, explains Jennifer Adams.

It’s the new tax year and thus thoughts turn to the clearing out of old files as we transfer from one year to the next. Proof of this can be found on Any Answers as every year a question is posed asking other members as to their firm’s policy regarding past paperwork - what to keep and what to destroy.

A typical question was asked this year by Beverley Chester

As Beverley so eloquently explains...

Register with AccountingWEB for free to read the rest of the article, which includes:

  • Why have a policy
  • Where to start?
  • Creating a retention/destruction policy
  • ‘Trigger’ dates and minimum retention periods


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About Jennifer Adams

Jennifer Adams is Consulting Editor of AccountingWEB and is a professional business author specialising in corporate governance and taxation. She runs her own accounting and consultancy business with offices based in Surrey and Dorset.


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By derek44
12th Apr 2013 11:04

Money Laundering

An extra complication is money-laundering regulations which require records to be kept for 5 years after the cessation of a business relationship. This means that even if you are storing tax records that are about to reach the six year mark AND the client then leaves for whatever reason, the requirement is to keep those records for a FURTHER five years.

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16th Apr 2013 11:25

A good review

But how about some practical advice.

Under Companies there is a requirement to hold

"Certificate of Incorporation, Articles of Association and Registers of Members and Directors. Some company records must be kept for at least 10 years from the ‘trigger’ date, these are records of resolutions passed otherwise than at general meetings, minutes of general meetings, or decisions made by the sole director/member (s 355 Companies Act 2006). There are financial penalties for non compliance."

Many of these are not in original form (Cert of Incorp sent by Companies House and by email) so does this mean they have to be kept on not?

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30th Sep 2013 16:37

Sorry... link no longer works

The link to the ICSA article no longer works but should you wish to read the article to which it refers - 'Dealing with Documents' by Katie Paxton Doggett - please email me via accountingweb and I'll send you a copy.

Jennifer Adams

Associate Editor

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