How long must I keep these documents?

“Those boxes at the back of the garage marked Accounting Records: ABC CC 2005…can I throw them away?”
How long do you need to keep those dust filed, moth eaten records that one has ever or will ever look at?

There are many pieces of legislation governing the retention and preservation of documents. These contain specific retention periods for various types of records. We have prepared a summary of those that are likely to apply to you. It is advisable to review the list of acts at the end of this article for any other acts which may be applicable to you.

Document Retention Period
Accounting records, including supporting schedules, Annual financial statements 15 years
Statutory records (founding statements, registers, minute books, resolutions) indefinite
Records relating to your income tax or VAT return 5 years
Electronic communication (not personal) 1 year after it stopped being used
Employee records 3 years after termination
Employee disciplinary records indefinite

(This list is not all inclusive, and merely contains that legislation which affects a wide variety of entities)

  • Close Corporations Act No. 69 of 1984
  • Companies Act No. 61 of 1973
  • Public Finance Management Act No. 1 of 1999
  • Municipal Finance Management Act No. 56 of 2003
  • Basic Conditions of Employment Act No. 75 of 1997
  • Labour Relations Act No. 66 of 1995
  • Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act No. 130 of 1993
  • Occupational Health and Safety act No. 85 of 1993
  • National Credit Act No. 34 of 2005
  • Auditing Profession Act No. 26 of 2005
  • Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962
  • Value Added Tax Act No. 89 0f 1991
  • Electronic Communication and Transactions Act No. 25 of 2002

For more detailed information on how these acts may affect you or advice, contact Wayne 033 330 7333.